2019 WNBA Award Predictions

Aneela and Eric got together to predict who's going to win the 2019 WNBA awards.

Aneela and Eric got together to predict who's going to win the 2019 WNBA awards.

Here's what they came up with.

Most Valuable Player

Eric: Elena Delle Donne

Delle Donne hasn’t just been the best player on the league’s best team; she’s been the best player, period. It’s almost fallen by the wayside with how dominant Washington has been -- EDD is playing fewer than 30 minutes per game simply because of all the blowouts they’ve been a part of -- but putting up the first 50/40/90 shooting splits in WNBA history (she’s at 50.8/42.9/97.3 heading into the Mystics’ final game) should be more than enough to net her a second career MVP award.

Aneela: Elena Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne has looked every bit of the best player on the best team. But what separates Elena Delle Donne from the rest of the MVP candidates is her efficiency. The Washington Mystics have the best offense this year because of Elena. Her ability to be the best has driven Washington to greater heights and a possible title run through the playoffs because she raised her game to another level.

Most Improved Player

Eric: Erica Wheeler

There are a lot of different ways to approach this award, but if we’re looking strictly at year-by-year improvement, I think Wheeler stands out the most. Not only has her scoring efficiency taken a huge jump (53.4 TS%), but she’s assisting on 36.2% of her teammates’ baskets, which is a career-high. Shouldering the increased workload of being both Indiana’s primary scorer and playmaker while becoming a more efficient player in the process is a good enough definition of improvement to me. Wheeler has earned this honor.

Aneela: Leilani Mitchell

Leilani Mitchell is my pick for this year's Most Improved Player. When Diana Taurasi was out with injury, she raised her game alongside Dewanna Bonner. She became an efficient point guard and really helped the Mercury in the month of August. She shot the ball well and although she already won this award back in 2010, she raised her game to another notch this year.

6th Woman of the Year

Eric: Dearica Hamby

Hamby had a good case for winning this award last season (it ended up going to Jonquel Jones), and in 2019 it’s been even stronger. Per 40 minutes, she’s averaging 17.7 points and 12.2 rebounds, and her presence on the Aces bench has been crucial in the team surviving minutes without star frontcourt players Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson. In fact, the Aces’ starters with Hamby swapped for Wilson have actually played even better. This is an easy call for me.

Aneela: Dearica Hamby

When the Las Vegas Aces lost A'ja Wilson for a while because of injuries, Dearica Hamby stepped up and did not miss a beat. She improved her game and was an important part of the Aces offense. There were also games in which Liz Cambage did not play in and Hamby also stepped up. She's played in pivotal fourth quarters with the stars and is usually the first one off the bench. Starting or not starting, Dearica Hamby proved herself to be invaluable this season.

Coach of the Year

Eric: James Wade

The Sky were a combined 25-43 over the past two seasons. In Wade’s first year as head coach, the team is 20-13. There have been a lot of great coaching performances this season, but I think the quick turnaround and obvious buy-in from Chicago’s talented roster is enough to earn Wade Coach of the Year honors.

Aneela: Mike Thibault

This is a tough one. There are three coaches that can possibly win this award. James Wade of the Chicago Sky, Dan Hughes of the Seattle Storm or my pick, Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics. Mike Thibault is my pick because of what he was able to do with the Mystics offense. He was able to put his players in the best positions to score and made two strong starting and bench lineups. He was able to get the most out of his players this year while making sure they were all playing unselfishly. He molded the Mystics into the top team and that is he deserves to win the award.

Rookie of the Year

Eric: Napheesa Collier

This is the one everyone’s been talking about, and for good reason! I think I’d give the slight edge to Collier based on her consistency and all-around play. She’s come in and made an immediate impact for the Lynx, leading the league in total minutes played while making valuable contributions as a scorer, rebounder, and defender. Given how thin the Lynx are at small forward without Maya Moore, it’s remarkable that they’ve been able to plug-and-play a rookie and get veteran-like production out of her right away.

Aneela: Napheesa Collier

This award is by far the most heated and debated award this year. Half will probably vote for Collier and half for Ogunbowale. Some will look at scoring, others will look at defense. The reason why I picked Napheesa Collier is that from her first game, Collier looked pro-ready. She looked determined and came to play. Her all-around game has been stellar and is one of the reasons why the Lynx are in the playoffs. She's been really good and that is why she is my pick for ROY.

Defensive Player of the Year

Eric: Natasha Howard

There isn’t another player in the WNBA with the defensive skillset of Howard, whose length and athleticism allow her to do things most cannot. With reigning MVP Breanna Stewart out for the season, Howard has upped her game even further, ranking in the league’s top four in both steals (2.2) and blocked shots (1.8). That’s an incredible feat on its own, and when you factor in how important Howard has been to the Storm’s defense -- the team is allowing 10.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with her on the floor than with her on the bench -- she has a very strong case for Defensive Player of the Year.

Aneela: Elizabeth Williams

My pick is a bit different. She might not win, but she deserves serious consideration. The team record will go against the player and her stats are a bit down, but I have seen Elizabeth Williams shut down opposing post players and she is one of the best at doing it. Atlanta's problems were scoring this year and not being able to manufacture points fast enough, but there were no problems with their defense. Williams was a key reason why teams struggled in the post.

Finals match-up prediction

Eric: Washington vs Los Angeles

Aneela: Washington vs Las Vegas

#WNBATwitter Award (best player to follow on Twitter)

Eric: Imani McGee-Stafford (@imanitrishawn_)

Come for the inspirational quotes, stay for the laugh-out-loud tweets. Imani may be responsible for my terrible nickname, but I forgive her for that. She’s the realest there is.

Aneela: Imani McGee-Stafford (@imanitrishawn_)

She's funny, she's relatable and most importantly, she replies to fans and reporters/bloggers.

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