September 11, 2020 

Curt Miller: Alyssa Thomas should be voted the Defensive Player of the Year

Miller and DeWanna Bonner weigh in on the importance of Thomas

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Connecticut Sun v Dallas Wings PALMETTO, FL – AUGUST 6: Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun handles the ball against the Dallas Wings on August 6, 2020, at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)

According to the Connecticut Sun, Alyssa Thomas should win the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. That’s it. That’s the tweet. Or well, story, so a few more words are necessary. 

Thomas can guard every position on the court an incredibly unique facet of her game. 

“I hope she’s given consideration because she’s certainly an integral part of what we do. But if there’s a better defender, Thomas, who? And again, she’s gonna be high in steals in the league. She’s a great defensive rebounder,” said head coach Curt Miller.

“We asked everything of her, switch on to great guards, guard, great post players. She just doesn’t have blocked shots that the centers have a lot of times have won the Defensive Player of the Year award because of blocked shots, but if there’s a better defender in the league and Alyssa Thomas, I don’t see it, I don’t see it. And I really hope that she gets the credit that she deserves,” Miller continued. 

As of the morning of Sept. 10, Thomas led the league in steals (2.1 per game) and is second in rebounds (9.1), despite being just 6-foot-2. Very few players at her height can guard centers, but Thomas does it and does it well. 

Thomas, who remains cool-tempered at all times, says the secret to her defense is simple, she watches. 

“I watch a lot of games. I watch people’s tendencies. One of the things I think about is, you can study plays, but when it comes down to shot clocks, it comes down to what players like to do what they’re comfortable with. So, for me, I like to focus on those things and take it away, but I want to win. I want to disrupt. I want to cause chaos and I’m gonna do anything and everything to do that,” Thomas said. 

Her desire to create chaos is evident by the effort she puts into her defensive plays, including this block. Though she does not block shots often, when she does it’s as emphatic as everything else she does.

Alyssa Thomas has proven why she earned the nickname “The Engine”, but DeWanna Bonner didn’t fully comprehend this until she played with her.  

“Alyssa, everybody calls her ‘The Engine.’ At first, I didn’t understand it, because I’m new here, but playing with her, she’s definitely the engine. She’s definitely the one that gets us going,” Bonner said.  

Bonner jumped on the “The Engine” train quickly and hasn’t looked back. 

“I don’t even know, I don’t even have words for it for Alyssa. There’s no one I would rather go to war with. There is no one I really step on that court with. There’s no doubt in my mind that every single game that she’s gonna play 110% so that makes me want to play harder even though,” she said. 

“Some games I’m like, ‘I don’t have it tonight Engine I don’t have it.’ But she always has it, she’s always there. Her defense is just incredible. I played against it. And it’s not fun, but I really can’t say anything, I’m just happy to be next to her every single night. I never have to second guess what I’m getting with her,” Bonner added. 

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been covering women’s basketball since February 2019 and currently covers both the Atlantic 10 and the WNBA.

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