With the second half of the season upon us, it is time to consider who is in line for the Most Improved Award.
After watching the season with interest, and seeing some good surprises as to how teams are playing, it is time to look at my top three candidates for the most improved award.
3. Krystal Thomas
Washington are a much improved team this year. There are the obvious reasons like the insertion of Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Tolliver into the line-up. There is a third reason however. When Krystal Thomas was bought in from the Seattle Storm, I am not sure what was expected of her.
Delle Donne started the year at center for the Mystics but it did not take long for Thomas to replace her there. Thomas has improved her performance across the board. Her points average has gone from 1.4 to 6.3 points per game. Her assists (0.1 to 0.9) steals (0.2 to 0.5) and blocks (0.6 to 1.1) have all improved slightly.
However, it is her rebounding which has her in serious contention for the award. Last year she averaged 2.3 rebounds per game compared to 9.0 rebounds per game this year.
Thomas has done this before when she went up similar numbers from her rookie season. Her season numbers this year are also up on her career numbers.
2. Isabelle Harrison
The San Antonio Stars are meant to develop on the back of three superstar smaller player in Kayla McBride, Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum. Word to the wise, don’t tell this little “fact” to Isabelle Harrison.
Harrison is as big a part in the late season SA Stars surge as anyone, averaging tremendous numbers. Last year the Stars center averaged 3.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.4 steals in her 7.5 minutes per game. She only had one block and two assists for the entire year.
This season, Harrison is averaging 26.3 minutes, 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. In anyone’s book, this is a massive improvement.
It is not just the numerical improvement for Harrison which is impressive however, she is also looking much more assured. She has really come out as a player since her two player game with Kelsey Plum has blossomed.
1. Jonquel Jones
Unfortunately for both Thomas and Harrison, the years they are having also coincide with the amazing growth of Jonquel Jones. The rise of the Connecticut Sun this season has coincided with the growth of Jones.
Jones played all 34 games in her rookie season, averaging 14.1 minutes, 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
Fast forward to this year and Jones has become an All-Star on the back of averaging 28.3 minutes, 15.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. She has become a complete player. She is even hitting 46 percent of the 39 three point attempts she has taken this season.
Part of the growth is as a result of losing Chiney Ogwumike for the season and not having Kelsey Bone for a full season after her trade mi way through last year.
If I am Curt Miller, I would be so happy with the payoff this season and to go along with the Coach of the Year award he will probably get, he will have the WNBA most improved player playing for him.