Elena Delle Donne and A'ja Wilson will captain the two WNBA All-Star teams in Vegas on July 27. Who will join them in the starting lineup and who barely missed out?
It’s always hard to evaluate All-Star Game votes because the process seems a bit confusing. It only becomes more difficult when you break down who gets to vote and how much that vote counts for.
For the WNBA, 25% of the vote is given to writers and broadcasters covering the league—of which I am a part—while another 25% to players and the remaining 50% is given to the fans.
This isn’t going to turn into an analysis of the voting system and the potential problems of having only 25% of the votes be from a presumably non-biased pool. If you would like that, however, LaChina Robinson over at ESPN’s Around the Rim podcast did an excellent job of breaking it all down on her recent podcast.
Instead, let’s take the 10 players selected and see if the voters got it right in regards to who will be starting in Las Vegas on July 27.
The biggest surprise of the selections has to be Kia Nurse being picked to start in Vegas, though there’s plenty of evidence that’s she’s more than deserving. For the sake of transparency, I left Nurse off my ballot, opting to pick Diamond DeShields of the Chicago Sky instead.
But Nurse deserves the nod at starter, as she’s been nothing short of incredible for the Liberty this season. She’s absolutely scorching the league, shooting threes at a 35.8% clip and not being shy about hoisting them up either. She’s nearly doubled her points per game from last season and has—alongside Tina Charles—made New York quite an interesting team. Few could have seen this after Nurse went No. 10 last year, but seeing her thrive among nine of the best players in the W in the starting lineup should be a good time.
The rest of the selections seem to pick themselves. You can’t have an All-Star Game without Elena Delle Donne, and the voters proved that by making her the leading vote-getter and one of the team captains alongside A’ja Wilson.
And Wilson won’t be alone among the starters who are welcoming the other All-Stars to their arena, as the Aces’ Liz Cambage and Kayla McBride also earned starting spots. McBride is one of the hottest shooters in the league, currently leading it in three-point percentage at a 2K-esque 48.2%. And if you don’t know about Cambage by now, you better ask somebody.
Brittney Griner, Jonquel Jones and Natasha Howard round out the frontcourt, all of whom are having MVP-caliber seasons for their respective teams. The remaining backcourt, whose selection pool is missing some huge names this year due to injury, consists of Chelsea Gray and Jewell Loyd, who are hardly surprise inclusions despite some uneven play and reoccurring injuries, respectively.
The biggest players missing out on the initial 10 spots are Napheesa Collier, who is having a massive rookie season on a depleted Lynx team, as well as much of the Sparks' frontcourt, who have either missed too many games due to injury (Candace Parker) or haven’t quite found their footing (Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike) to find a spot with the starters.
DeWanna Bonner, who was leading the league in points and keeping the Mercury afloat during the beginning of the season, could feel disappointed after cooling down a bit and Odyssey Sims missing out on a starting spot doesn’t seem quite fair after she’s fit in seamlessly into Minnesota’s system. And despite missing out on a starting spot, if you think this is going to be the first year that Charles misses the All-Star Game, you're dreaming. But we’ll see who the coaches choose with the remaining 12 spots.
So whether you like the voting system or think it needs work, it seems like the vote got it mostly right and we should be set for a fun weekend in Vegas. The 12 reserves selected by the coaches will be announced on July 15 and we will have to wait until a later date to figure out when the actual All-Star Draft is. Until then, feel free to imagine the possibilities.
A super shooting lineup of EDD, McBride, Nurse and Cambage with Gray dishing out wild assists? Sign me up. Think A’ja won’t let Delle Donne snatch up her teammates? Cool, then we could get Wilson, Cambage, McBride, Nurse and Loyd. July 27th can’t get here soon enough.