Though there are many worthy candidates, I consider Candace Parker to be the best player in the WNBA. She has the varied skill set and the athletic ability to create a comfortable distance between herself and the competition.
But the growing talent in the WNBA today begs the question: Which player will be the one to take CP3’s spot as best player?
Angel McCoughtry? Maybe.
Maya Moore? Possibly.
You can never count out the proud veterans like Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings when it comes to a debate over the best player in their profession.
Brittany Griner and Liz Cambage certainly have the potential to be a force in the league.
Tina Charles? You never know.
With that being said, the player who I think will eventually dethrone Candace Parker is the least heralded of the “3 to see”–Elena Della Donne.
At this point in the season, she’s not only being considered as the consensus Rookie of the Year in the WNBA, but her name is also being mentioned among MVP candidates.
Delle Donne has already cemented her spot as one of the best scorers in the WNBA, as she averages the 4th most points in the league (18.7 per game) with a league-leading 3-point percentage of 47.7%.
She also has the highest free throw percentage (92.4%) in the WNBA, and gets to the charity stripe 6 times a game, ranking only behind Diana Taurasi.
In her first six games, the former UDel star scored 15 points or more, quickly showing national audiences why she was one of the most prolific scorers in college. She played 15 games before any WNBA team could hold her to a single-digit scoring output.
In just her third game back from a concussion she suffered before the All-Star break, Delle Donne lead the Chicago Sky to an overtime victory over the Minnesota Lynx (best team in the WNBA) behind a 32 point, 6 rebound, 4 blocks outing.
While her scoring ability may be her best attribute, Elena Delle Donne is no slouch on the defensive end. She has no problem moving her feet to cut off a guard or using her physicality to guard a big down low. Her 2 blocks a game average is a testament to her length.
In my own crazy estimation, I’ll say that it’ll take around 3 years for Della Donne to get to Candace Parker’s level. At that time Delle Donne’s experience would have caught up to her personal talent level, and Candace Parker will 30 going onto 31.
Nonetheless, I refuse to be a prisoner of the moment.
Candace Parker is still the best of the best, and deserves to be considered one of the greatest players no matter what factors lie ahead–age, decline, etc.
If I need any reminder of how great a player Parker is, I should take a look at her first year stats compared to Delle Donne’s:
Parker not only had a more profound impact on the game, but she was also named MVP that season.
The mind-boggling part is how close Parker’s current production comes to her rookie numbers despite having such great talent on her team– Lindsey Harding, Kristi Tolliver, Jantel Lavender, Nneka Ogwumike, and Alana Beard.
Parker averages 17.7 ppg, 8.9 rbg, 1.2 spg, 2.1 bpg, 3.3 apg, and still manages to shoot 47% from the field.
But greatness part 2 is coming, and soon.