September 7, 2023
Locked On Women’s Basketball: 2023 WNBA MVP Week — The case for Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas
'The Sun are asking a lot of AT this season'
It’s Day 2 of the WNBA MVP series over at the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. On Wednesday’s episode, host Howard Megdal sits down with Connecticut Sun beat reporter Jacqueline LeBlanc to discuss the case of Alyssa Thomas, the triple-double machine who is doing just about everything for the Sun.
Our series will conclude on Day 3, when Howard will have Matthew Walter on to discuss Las Vegas Aces center and reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and her quest for back-to-back trophies.
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On Wednesday, Howard and Jacqueline discussed Thomas, who is averaging 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game as she’s led the Sun into holding a top-three seed even after losing her two biggest co-stars — Jonquel Jones (in an offseason trade to New York) and Brionna Jones (to a season-ending Achilles injury in mid-June).
“[Head coach] Steph White basically summed up Alyssa Thomas‘s performance [from Tuesday night], which was another triple double on the season, by saying that nobody does what she does. End of discussion,” LeBlanc said. “The Sun are asking a lot of AT this season and they definitely have had some hardships along the way — they’ve already had a new staff, a new team, a new makeup. The whole identity was new heading into the season [before they] dealt with losing Briana Jones, who was a huge piece to the blueprint, so AT kind of had to adjust again.”
Thomas has adjusted and then some. She started to carry more of the scoring load later in the season, bumping her nightly average from around 14.5 points per game in May/June/July up to 18.5 points a night in August.
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Thomas has also continued her reign as the WNBA’s triple-double queen, tallying six so far this season — including most recently on Tuesday night against the Sparks, when she had 27 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.
As Howard also pointed out, Thomas is also playing nearly the entire game on a nightly basis, with her current 36.8 minutes per game average putting her in the top 10 all time in WNBA history.
“It’s an absolutely unfathomable load that she’s being asked to do simply by being in the game,” Megdal said. “But she’s not just in the game. She is in the game as not only a five, but she’s a five with an assist percentage of 37.8%.”
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