On Wednesday, WNBA.com published the results of its annual GM survey, in which the league’s decision makers are asked to share their predictions and recognize the league’s best in a variety of categories. According to the GMs, the Storm enters 2011 as the favorites to repeat as WNBA champions. Seven out of 12 GMs picked the Storm, with the New York Liberty (two) the only other team to receive multiple votes. Of course, that’s no guarantee: Last year, the Storm did not receive a single vote from GMs.
Besides the championship prediction, the Storm was honored in multiple other categories. Home Court Advantage was recognized by 11 of the 12 GMs, who said that KeyArena is the toughest place to play.
- Sue Bird was an overwhelming choice as the league’s best point guard, getting 11 votes. Gonzaga product Courtney Vandersloot was the only other PG to get a vote. Vandersloot is mighty talented, but it will probably be a few years before she’s ready to challenge Bird for superiority at the point. In addition, Bird was also selected as the league’s best passer, the best leader, player with the best basketball IQ and the player who most makes her teammates better. Sounds like an ideal point guard, right? The mystery is that Bird did not win player you’d most like taking a shot with the game on the line. She got two votes, while Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi got three apiece. Need we remind GMs that Bird hit two game-winning shots in last year’s postseason alone?
- Voters were split on where to put Lauren Jackson, which meant she won as both best power forward (with five votes) and center (with six). With 10 votes, Jackson was picked the league’s best international player, and she was named the player with the best post moves.
- Tanisha Wright was the runner up for best on-the-ball defender, getting three votes, and also got mentioned as the best perimeter defender.
- A quarter of league GMs believe Katie Smith will make more of a difference than any other player acquisition over the offseason.
- Head Coach Brian Agler was named the best overall head coach, the best motivator of people and the best in the last two minutes of a close game while tying with Mike Thibault for the best in-game adjustments. Jenny Boucek and Nancy Darsch each got a vote as the league’s best assistant coach.