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September 15, 2008 at 7:20 PM

Off Day: My final picks

The Storm returned to Seattle after the game on Sunday and was off today, but there was still action in the league with Houston defeating Sacramento 89-81 to close out the regular season. The game was re-scheduled due to Hurricane Ike (and may I wish all of my friends the best as they make it through the trying time).
Voting for regular-season awards also closed today. And below is my final ballot. Some areas that tripped me up were the All-WNBA teams and Most Improved. I wanted Comets F Tina Thompson and Connecticut F Asjha Jones on my ballot, but gave the nod to Diana Taurasi and Lauren Jackson, who are better in my opinion and have flashier stats.
It’s odd to have Jones as my fifth pick for MVP and not on the All-WNBA team. But I felt the league team was open to everyone and since Jackson did play in 21 games, helping the Storm record a franchise-best in wins and second-place standing in the West, I opted not to penalize her for being injured (ankle) and missing five games to prepare for the Olympics. Seattle was 8-4 without her.
I passed on Thompson after a long internal debate because I couldn’t turn in a ballot without Taurasi’s name. She’s one of the greatest players ever, period. Thompson is impressive, too, but she didn’t lead the league in scoring.
And actually, I almost put Chicago star Sylvia Fowles on my ballot at center. But I caught myself thinking about her Olympic production and not solely the WNBA. She played in 17 games, but New York center Janel McCarville did more for her team this season and got the nod from me.
As for Most Improved, I waffled between Chicago guard Jia Perkins, McCarville, and Indiana’s Ebony Hoffman. I settled on Hoffman because she had the most dramatic improvement of the three and helped buoy the Fever until F Tamika Catchings return (although Indiana underachieved compared to what was expected when Catch got back on the court).
So, here’s the final ballot. The awards will be revealed during the postseason, normally concluding with the MVP during the WNBA Finals.
MVP: Sue Bird
Coach of the Year: Brian Agler
Rookie of the Year: Candace Parker
Defensive Player of the Year: Candace Parker
Sixth-Woman of the Year: Tanisha Wright
Most Improved of the Year: Ebony Hoffman
Sportsmanship: Vickie Johnson
All-WNBA First Team: F Sophia Young, F Candace Parker, C Lisa Leslie, G Deanna Nolan, G Sue Bird
All-WNBA Second Team: F Diana Taurasi, F Lauren Jackson, C Janel McCarville, G Cappie Pondexter, G Lindsay Whalen

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