I started worrying about MVP voting in the WNBA a few weeks ago, so I’ve already had plenty of time to overanalyze it. And there’s still just over a week left to keep fretting.
David Woods of the Indianapolis Star covers the Indiana Fever, and we chatted by phone Thursday about the MVP race – how difficult it is to try to pick from all the deserving candidates. Even if you looked at just the top team in each conference, you’ve got four people high on the MVP list: Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, and Indiana’s Katie Douglas and Tamika Catchings.
Lisa Leslie, with help from 2008 MVP and rookie of the year Candace Parker, has led Los Angeles’ resurgence since she returned from injury. Seattle’s Lauren Jackson is currently out with a stress fracture in her back, but her stats are MVP-strong again. And her absence is again proving the value of Sue Bird. What about San Antonio’s Sophia Young and Becky Hammon?
Atlanta is too balanced to really have that “one” person stand out in the MVP race. But the Dream has strong candidates for coach of the year (Marynell Meadors), most improved player (Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza) and top rookie (Angel McCoughtry).
How do you pick an MVP this season? Let’s say you lean toward Phoenix … aren’t Taurasi and Pondexter both about equally lethal on this team? And couldn’t you say the same thing about Catchings and Douglas in Indy?
A few readers have asked me if Taurasi’s DUI incident – her court hearing has been delayed until Sept. 17 – would have any impact on voting. I can’t say what it might have for others, but it won’t have any bearing on my vote.
Back in July, I wrote that I thought it would be best for Taurasi to sit out the All-Star Game as it came soon after the incident. I still feel that would have been the right gesture by her and the league – the All-Star Game is an honorary contest that’s more a feel-good display of the league, not a serious competition. I thought it would have been a good time for her to reflect on how serious the incident was – and how much worse it could have been.
However, the DUI incident has not seemed to have any bearing on her on-court leadership and production. She’s expressed her contrition, and she still has to face the legal system. Considering her performance and contribution to her team does not seem to have been impacted, I’m not sure how you could “factor” in the DUI when considering MVP. Except in some subjective “moral” way that some may choose to do, but that at this point I wouldn’t be comfortable with.
So … I really haven’t made up my mind yet on who I will vote for in the MVP race. I may not until the very last minute. What do you think?