September 7, 2023 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: 2023 WNBA MVP Week — The case for Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson

'She is trying to make a dynasty'

As MVP Week on Locked On Women’s Basketball comes to a close, it’s time to talk about reigning MVP A’ja Wilson. Host Howard Megdal is joined by Las Vegas Aces beat reporter Matthew Walter to talk through the case for A’ja Wilson, whose consistent dominance has pushed the Aces to higher heights all season long.

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Wilson’s efficiency and reliability quickly became the first topic of discussion. The 27-year-old currently averages 22.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, the highest she’s ever averaged in each category. Even more impressively, Wilson is playing fewer minutes per game than anyone else scoring at her level.

“To do all that she does, to be third in scoring, second in rebounding, lead the league in free throws attempted, and be the most efficient player, all while only playing 30.8 minutes a game just shows that she’s really trying to establish [herself],” Walter said.

Howard points out how, even as she plays next to other WNBA superstars in Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson remains “number one on the scouting report.” With a true shooting percentage of 61.8%, Wilson is finding new places to get shots up, and is hitting pay dirt at a remarkable rate.

“She loves that little pull-up jumpshot — that one dribble, shoot it in the paint, not around the rim, jumper,” Walter explained. “Those are not super efficient shots, right? She’s obviously getting to the basket because she’s a super efficient player, but she doesn’t take threes. When you talk about efficient offense, it’s [usually] in the key and it’s threes. She started taking some mid-range jumpers, she’s taking this little pull-up in the paint. It’s not super efficient, but she’s made it efficient.”

Beyond statistics, it was Wilson’s leadership that impressed Megdal and Walter: “Aj’a is the easiest superstar, she’s just perfect, is what [Becky Hammon] said about her. And it makes sense, right? She’s super team oriented. She wants everybody to succeed,” Walter said. “She’s just someone that everybody likes to be around.”

Considering the rest of her basketball career so far, Howard noted how this moment is only cementing Wilson’s legacy in the WNBA history books. “A’ja is on a track where we’re going to be talking about her among the very best in the history of the league,” Megdal said. “This is somebody who will resonate through the generations.”

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Check out the rest of MVP Week on Locked On Women’s Basketball, covering the three frontrunners for this year’s WNBA MVP award. On episode one, Howard spoke to Jackie Powell about the case for New York Liberty superstar Breanna Stewart. On episode two, Howard and Jacqueline LeBlanc make a pitch for Connecticut Sun triple-double machine Alyssa Thomas.

Make sure to subscribe to the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

Written by The Next

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