With another month of the WNBA season completed it is time to take a look at the top five rookies
Last month, it was clear who the top rookie was. With another month gone in the 2017 WNBA season, the standings are a lot closer at the top.
5. Stephanie Talbot
Last Months Ranking – 5
In a tight decision between Sami Whitcomb and Stephanie Talbot, Talbot gets the nod for the number five slot. While she is only averaging 3.5 points per game for the month of July, her other numbers are just good enough. In just under 18 minutes per game, Talbot is also averaging 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
Talbot even improved on her free throw shooting for the month. Coming into July, Talbot was shooting at 59 percent from the stripe. For the month of July, she shot a slightly better 67 percent.
There has been increased pressure on the rookie with the loss of Brittney Griner for part of the month. Talbot has not stepped up to replace the star center but is still doing her part in a team which is still surprising well placed.
4. Kaela Davis
Last Months Ranking – 3
Slipping one place in this months rankings, Kaela Davis has still put on a strong showing for a rookie. The seventh pick of the draft is averaging just under 16 minutes, 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
While her assists numbers are slightly down (from 1.6) her points per game average has increased from 6.6 to 8.4 which is showing good growth. The better indicator for Davis’s growth is her slash line, shooting 42/46/75 which are all higher than last month.
3. Kelsey Plum
Last Months Ranking – Not Ranked
Such is the growth in the confidence and play in the number one overall pick she has moved directly into third in this months rankings after not being ranked last month. After Plum tweeted “The basketball Gods hate me right now.” Moriah Jefferson was out for a period with concussion and then Kayle McBride was out with an ankle injury.
This extended playing time allowed Plum to get comfortable with the pace of the pro game and improve her numbers. This and the further she gets away from the ankle injury at the start of the season, the more we will see the real Plum game.
For the month Plum averaged 25 minutes, 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists. She helped the Stars to a couple of good wins as well. Her shooting improved, for the month of June her percentages from the field and beyond the arc were in the mid 20’s. The slash line for Plum in July was 38/32/87. Not where she would like but much better.
2. Allisha Gray
Last Months Ranking – 1
In the surprise of the month, Gray lost her spot at the top of the rookie power rankings. The fourth pick of the draft averaged 29 minutes, 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. These are still very impressive numbers.
Gray points production has improved from 12.1 per game and her steals went up as well from 1.3 per game. He rebounding numbers have dropped from 4.6 per game, probably thanks to the return of starting center Courtney Paris.
Unfortunately, Gray’s points production is up but is another rookie suffering from a lower field goal percentage. Her slash line is 33/28/81 which is showing a slightly better free throw percent (79%) but lower field goal (43%) and three point (29%) percentage from last month.
1. Brittney Sykes
Last Months Ranking – 2
I did say in last months power rankings it would take a superb second half of the season by someone to usurp Gray from rookie of the year. Who should produce this but last months second ranked rookie in Brittney Sykes.
Sykes has been amazing, averaging 30 minutes, 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Her shot selection has been nothing short of phenominal either with her slash line reading 40/38/93.
These numbers are all up from her June marks with her points being more than double her 8.0 per game from June. Sykes did not score less than 13 points in a game for the month of July, also having three games over 20 points including a 27 point game agains the Mystics and a 20 point 13 rebound double double against the Mercury. All this from a 5-foot-9 guard.
Thanks to the incredible month by Sykes, the Rookie of the Year race is now wide open again.