The thrilling sport of basketball will not be complete without somebody who runs the point. That person is tasked with the responsibility of facilitating the offense and being a coach’s extension on the floor. That’s the point guard for you –the person who dishes out mind-blowing assists and carries the scoring load whenever needed.
In the NBA, who are the first few identities that come to mind when it comes to court generalship? Here are some shoo-ins: Curry’s undisputable shooting touch, Westbrook’s athleticism, and Kyrie’s blow by moves.
However, these gentlemen’s counterparts in the WNBA are equally gifted. The following are female point guards who excelled in the league’s 20th year. It’s important to note that the following list is in no particular order.
Stats source: basketball-reference.com
2016 season stats: 9.8 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.6 RPG, 0.6 SPG
No list can be complete without the 34-year-old guard. It’s quite obvious that her minutes and production took a toll because of aging, but the veteran is still one of the catalysts behind the Lynx’s run in this year’s WNBA Finals against the Sparks.
The five-time All Star, and three-time WNBA champion under Coach Cheryl Reeve is on the twilight of his career. On July 8, 2016, she made a historic mark by being the first player in WNBA history with at least 5,000 points, 2,000 assists, and 1,500 rebounds.
2016 season stats: 17.8 PPG, 3.9 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.9 SPG
After foregoing the 2015 season to play overseas for a more lucrative stint, Taurasi came back to help the Phoenix Mercury to reach the WNBA semis. Though some people often view her as a wing player because of her length and shooting, Taurasi still maintains that point guard title because of one obvious reason –she directs her team’s offense and handles the ball majority of the time.
What Taurasi brings to the table is diversity. She’s not just a prolific scorer and a good quarterback, she’s also a versatile defender that serves as a nightmare matchup for smaller or slower players. In 2014, Taurasi was in top five in both true shooting percentage and assist percentage.
2016 season stats: 13.2 PPG, 3.7 APG, 2.6 RPG, 0.8 SPG
After a somewhat measly 3-point shooting percentage in 2015 (.384), Toliver bounced back with a 42.4% clip from beyond the arc this season. That improved percentage was key in the Los Angeles’ Sparks capture of the WNBA throne this season.
Toliver’s height and heft is nowhere comparable to Whalen’s and Taurasi’s, but her speed more than makes up for those. She’s a nightmare when it comes to open court situations and fast break opportunities. Considering that she’s only 29 years of age, she still has a lot left in the tank in LA’s bid for a repeat.
2016 season stats: 13.1 PPG, 3.4 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.1 SPG
Having played 3 seasons for the defunct Tulsa Shock, Diggins is grooming to be one of the cerebral players in the Dallas Wings team. Skylar is a sneaky point guard with her speed and timing. She also relies on her floater to put points on the board.
Her regular season TOV (turnover) percentage last season was as at dismal 5.5% (career worst), but her defensive rating was at a career-best 107.7. The Wings finished at a disappointing 5th place in the Western Conference with a 11-23 record, but Diggins will surely remain at the helm of the point guard position.
If the Wings are to make good moves this offseason and bolster their roster, that would take the pressure off Diggins’ shoulders. This will make her more confident about her game and her teammates.
2016 season stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.4 SPG
The last slot could have been claimed by Danielle Robinson had she not been injured, but let’s not take credit away from Vandersloot’s balanced stat line. Though Elena Delle Donne remains the face of the Chicago Sky’s franchise, Vandersloot is in the same age as her (27 years) and still has room for improvement. Vandersloot shot a decent 35.1% beyond the arc last season, and had her best free throw shooting at a 90.4% clip.
The abovementioned female cagers were exceptional in the recently concluded 2016 WNBA Season. They fed the ball to their teammates, ran with it majority of the time, and shot it whenever needed.
Will they still be capable of maintaining –or surpassing –their numbers, or will fatigue, injuries, and other innumerable reasons keep them from dictating the pace for their team? All those speculations can only be answered next season.
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