Four days before their regular season begins, on the day the Minnesota Lynx held their annual media day, the results of the WNBA’s survey of the league’s general managers were released.
And if the Lynx, the WNBA’s defending champs, needed any bulletin board material to motivate themselves for Sunday’s opener against the Los Angeles Sparks – the team they beat in five games in last year’s finals – here it is:
The GMs picked the Sparks to win their fourth league title.
This was the 16th annual poll of league GMs, conducted by WNBA.com. Each of the 12 GMs were asked to vote on the league’s best teams, players, coaches, off-seasons.
Really, everything. They were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.
First, some good news: Maya Moore is the GM’s favorite to win her second MVP award. Moore, who won the award in 2014, got four of the 12 votes. She was one of eight players to get at least a vote, followed by Brittney Griner (two votes). Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jonquel Jones, Nneka Ogwumike and Breanna Stewart each got a vote.
Surprisingly, Lynx center Sylvia Fowles – last year’s MVP of both the regular season and the finals – didn’t get a vote.
But back to the Sparks. L.A. got four votes, making them the GM’s favorite to win the title. The Lynx got three votes.
Here were some other categories:
--Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen was voted as the active player who would make the best head coach some day (six votes). Convenient, as she is already the Gophers head coach.
--Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was voted the league’s best coach (six votes) and as the league’s best motivator (four votes), edging L.A.’s Brian Agler in both categories.
--The Lynx were voted the team with the best home-court advantage (11 votes).
--Atlanta got six votes for most-improved team after an off-season that included signing former Lynx backup guard Renee Montgomery and Jessica Breland and getting Angel McCoughtry back.
--Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson, the top pick in the draft, was voted likely rookie of the year, getting 10 votes
--Seattle guard Sue Bird was voted as the league’s best leader (eight votes), the player with the highest basketball IQ (eight votes) and the best at making her team better (seven votes). Bird tied with Chicago guard Courtney Vandersloot as the league’s best passer (five votes each).
--Phoenix center Brittney Griner was voted the player that forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments (five votes) and as likely defensive player of the year (four votes).
--Phoenix star Diana Taurasi was voted as the league’s best guard (eight votes) and was tied with Chicago’s Allie Quigley as the league’s best pure shooter (four votes each).
--Connecticut was voted the most fun team in the league to watch (six votes) and as the Eastern Conference team likely to post the best regular-season record (nine votes).
--Whalen finished behind Bird in both best leader and best at making teammates better.
--Moore was also voted the league’s best forward (five votes). She finished just behind Tina Charles as the league’s best finisher, and tied for second as the most dangerous player in the open floor.
--Fowles might not have gotten an MVP vote, but she was voted the league’s top center (seven votes).
--Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson finished in a tie with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Glory Johnson as the league’s toughest player (two votes).