The MVP case between Aces’ A’ja Wilson and Storm’s Breanna Stewart

Another autumn of fallen leaves, another season of Brianna Stewart Aja Wilson drew a large number of ballots for the best player. But there was no show in the past close like this show of two leaders The league’s next generation of talented stars.

All of them already have an MVP on their shelves and are squared off in a semi-final match beyond the hype. Game 4 between the No.4 seed Seattle Storm Stewart and No. 1 Wilson at the Las Vegas Ice on Tuesday in Seattle at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The WNBA is scheduled to announce the results of the MVP vote, which concluded in pre-season, on Wednesday. Game 5, if needed, is scheduled for Thursday night in Las Vegas.

Stewart, a powerful 6-foot-4 striker, led the Storm to a tie for the third-best record in the league during her sixth season. Known to all as “Stewie,” the New York native of Syracuse won her first MVP award in 2018 before missing the following season entirely due to a torn hock. She is a four-time NCAA champion and two-time WNBA champion who turned 28 in late August.

Wilson, the powerful 6-4 striker who moved to the center of the Coach of the Year award-winning Becky Hammon squad, swept the tie-breaker for the record-breaking top seed and in her fifth year. Columbia, South Carolina, the star who stayed home to win the Dawn Staley and Gamecocks titles It will soon appear in your local chip aisle. She won her first Player of the Year award in 2020 and turned 26 at the beginning of August.

The race is close in numbers and will largely depend on what each voter considers to be the definition of an MVP. The most important thing to know is how each is measured, what the polling process looks like and what history tells us or doesn’t tell us what it takes to win.

Briana Stewart and Aja Wilson

Breanna Stewart and A’ja Wilson once again become lead MVP nominees. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Aja Wilson, comparison to Breanna Stewart MVP

Wilson and Stewart led the All-Season Player of the Year conversation and Subtract incredibly comparable numbers in the regular season. Many voters were open about how to do this difficult decision It was the choice of one of the two and the statistical comparison confirms this.

All numbers are from Her Hoop Stats (more stats here Stewart player page And the Wilson player page). The numbers in parentheses are the league-level ranking in that category and the top 5 ranking in bold. The higher ranked stats between the two (no matter how close they are) are in italics. Stewart was listed first for alphabetical and seniority reasons.

Brianna Stewart

Aja Wilson

1 minute per match

30.9 (14)

30.0 (19)

Usage rate

28.9% (3)

27.3% (7)

points per game

21.8 (1)

19.5 (5)

Points per game

1.10 (3)

1.06 (12)


51.8% (35)

52.5% (30)


37.9% (22)
67 of 177

37.3% (23)
31 of 83


53.4% ​​(31)

53.1 (34)

Rebound in the match

7.6 (7)

9.4 (2)

assists in every match

2.9 (31)

2.1 (55)

Spinning assistance

2.26 (18)

1.23 (70)

steals for every game

1.6 (5)

1.4 (12)

blocks for each game

0.9 (15)

1.9 (1)

earn stock

8.1 (1)

7.0 (2)

attack rating

118.5 (4)

114.6 (8)

Defensive classification

93.8 (7)

95.1 (12)

Stewart led the league in scoring, but Wilson narrowly led the league – which is a big reason for her He was named Defensive Player of the Year. Both are both heavily used and highly efficient.

They finished 1-2 in win stakes, which is roughly the number of wins a player has for their team based on their attack, defense and playing time. They also finished 1-2 (Stuart, Wilson) in ESPN’s Wins Above Replacement Metric by Kevin Pelton.

How is the best WNBA player determined?

A 56-member panel of national media and the WNBA market was selected by the league to vote on all 2022 awards except for CEO of the Year, a vote for basketball executives from each team. Voting for each award looks a little different.

The MVP vote is the only one that requires voters to list their top five candidates on the ballot. For each ballot paper, 10 points are awarded to the player listed in No. 1. Seven points are awarded for second place, five points for third place, three points for fourth place, and one point for fifth place. Players are then listed by their total points from all 56 ballots with the player with the most points winning the MVP.

Theoretically, a player who is listed in half the number of votes in first place can fall into the final list due to being below or absent from the other ballot papers. This is similar to what happened with Skylar Diggins-Smith In the all-star start vote. It’s also the Alyssa Thomas way You can rank highly in the best defensive player of the year, but slipping into the second team in the defensive team’s vote (which is an entirely different ballot). The MVP isn’t the one who came first on the ballot.

MVP votes are based on regular seasonal play and are submitted by members of the media prior to the start of the playoffs. However, Stewart and Wilson showed why they were the front-runners in a back-and-forth fight during it. Game 2 of the semi-final series. Wilson scored 33 points on 12 of 18 with 13 rebounds, three blocks, and one assist. Stewart scored 32 on 12 of 23 with seven rebounds, three blocks, and three assists.

Arguments for the best player in any race

Voting for awards is very personal and different people are chosen based on different criteria. This will remain true regardless of who votes or if it turns into a player, coach or executive vote.

Some may choose awards based on success. By that metric, Wilson would get nod to help lead the Aces to the top-seeded playoffs after a tie for the best record in the league. They had a fantastic offensive year in Hammon’s first season and Wilson was a key defender for a team that sometimes lacked this category collectively. She may not have led the team in scoring, but she played a pivotal role in everything they did on the field and it showed when she didn’t get a lot of touches or looks in Game 1 vs. Storm.

Others might vote for who was the most valuable to her team to win matches. By this scale, the nod might go to Stewart. Arguably she didn’t have the offensive support around her as Wilson did in almost every situation on Earth. Stewart scored 26.4% of her team’s average production while Wilson was responsible for 21.6%. In Stewart’s 34 games (missing two on HSP), she led the Storm in points 23 times (68% of matches), rebounds 18 times (53%) and made twice. Wilson led the Aces in points 16 times (44%) and rebounds 21 times (58%).

One of Wilson’s teammates, goalkeeper Kelsey Plum, will likely win the MVP votes, begging if the team can get two MVP nominees, is he really the best player? (That’s up to you, the reader, to decide for yourself. Again, my subject.) If two players are equal in the voter’s mind, is it about which team you’d prefer to play on the field pick-up game or WNBA2K? And if this is the 2022 gauge, then the nod surely goes to the Aces.

Then there is the aspect of expanding and improving the game. How important is that when talking with an MVP? Wilson worked off the season on her 3-point shot and it showed this year. Its efficiency is on par with Stewart and took more than 3 seconds ever. Meanwhile, Stewart has continued to maintain the high level of playing that she has shown throughout her career.

WNBA MVP Record by Numbers

The MVP race has recently diversified on an annual basis since the league’s first decade when there was a repeat winner every few years. She also tends to be a player on the best team, but that wasn’t always the case.

Other players have won the award in the past six seasons: Jonquil Jones (21), Wilson (20), Elena Delle Donne (19), Stewart (18), Sylvia Fowles (17) and Nika Ogomec (’17) 16. Everyone led their teams to the best record in the league except for Ogwumike, who Sparks finished second. Her win capped a six-year run in which the best player on a team finished second in the standings, or in the case of the 2015 Dele Donne, finished third.

In all, 11 of the 25 players were on the team with the best regular season record. Eight led their teams to second best and two to third best. There were three winners whose teams had the fifth best record, below Stewart and Storm in 2022. They trailed Aces and Sky by four games in the standings.

Sparks finished fifth in the league overall standings (and four games behind the Western leader) when Candice Parker won it in 2008. Sheryl Swoops won her third and final award in 2005 when the Houston Comets were fifth with a score of 19-15. Lauren Jackson took her first win in 2003 when the storm was just over 0.500 (18-16) and took the fifth best record. It was six games back from the leaders Sparks in the West.

Jackson won again in 2007 when the Storm was at 0.500 (17-17) and worse than six other teams. She is the only MVP to win without leading her team to a record. Jackson led the league in scoring (23.8 points per gallon), rebounding (9.7 RPG), effective field goal ratio (.568), EPF (9.5), and offensive rating (127.7); It ranks second in blocks (2 bpg) and usage (28%).

Stewart and Wilson are preparing to break the league record of three players in the league shared by Swoops, Jackson and Lisa Leslie. It’s just a question of who will be the first to win second place when the award is announced this week.

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