WNBA MVP Debate – Nneka Ogwumike, Maya Moore, or Tina Charles

The WNBA named Nneka Ogwumike as one of the players of the week on Monday.

The last week of WNBA action featured one very surprising result. The Atlanta Dream took a step toward turning their season back in the right direction. They posted a 17-point victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. However the result didn’t stop LA’s Nneka Ogwumike from winning the western conference’s Player of the Week award, as announced on Monday by the WNBA.

Ogwumike, having previously won the award on June 12th and July 6th this season, won the award again following three double-doubles in games played between July 11th and the 17th. The standout forward shot 26 for 33 on the week for a field-goal percentage of almost 79%. Ogwumike was also excellent on the glass as she averaged double digits for the week in rebounding. In earning her third Player of the Week award, she has clearly put herself on the shortlist of favorites to win the WNBA’s MVP this season.

But Candace Parker, a teammate of Ogwumike’s, should definitely be on the list of candidates too as should Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx. Parker has twice won player of the week, most recently back on June 20th, while Moore has won the award three times. However, it’s Tina Charles of the New York Liberty that has won Player of the Week more often than any other player this season. Thus far she has been named her conference’s Player of the Week on five occasions.

Player of the Week tallies this season:

  1. Tina Charles: 5
  2. Maya Moore: 3
  3. Nneka Ogwumike: 3
  4. Candace Parker: 2
  5. Angel McCoughtry: 2
  6. Emma Meesseman: 1
  7. Diana Taurasi: 1
  8. Elena Delle Donne: 1

Charles leading the way for most Player of the Week awards this season partly reflects the fact that the best players in the WNBA are more concentrated in the Western Conference. Moore, Parker, and Ogwumike must contend with one another when it comes to individual accolades. That creates conditions that might actually favor Charles for winning her second WNBA MVP of her career this season. But when it comes to stats, she is the one closest to averaging a double-double of all the WNBA MVP contenders.

  • Charles: 21.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg
  • Moore: 20.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg
  • Ogwumike: 19.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg
  • Parker: 16.4 ppg, 5.1 apg

However, Charles, despite arguably stronger individual stats this season, is also on a third-placed team in the entire league. While the MVP award is supposed to be for an individual, sometimes the pundits have difficulties separating an individual from team accomplishments. So far this season it’s been the Lynx and Sparks that have been the headliners. Thus, if team accomplishments get mixed into the debate for the WNBA MVP this season, then Ogwumike’s placement on the Sparks, the current favorites to win the WNBA title, may very well work in her favor. All things weighted, she’s the current favorite for the award in my opinion.

Shane Lambert