Biggest Snubs from 2022 WNBA All-Star Selections
What is the definition of an All-Star? Is it the best player on their team, someone who comes up in clutch moments, a player who has a superstar reputation or a player who has proven themselves to be an excellent overall player?
It can be quite subjective.
On Tuesday, the WNBA announced the rest of the players who will participate in the 2022 All-Star game after revealing the starters last week. There are 22 All-Stars, excluding honorary All-Star Brittney Griner, who remains detained in Russia.
This year B/R had an All-Star ballot, and I could only vote for six frontcourt players and four guards.
My ballot consisted of starters Breanna Stewart, A'ja Wilson, Jonquel Jones and Nneka Ogwumike. I also voted for reserves Brionna Jones and Emma Meesseman, who both fall in the top eight for most win shares.
On the guard end, I voted for three starters and first-time All-Stars in Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum and Sabrina Ionescu. And then my fourth guard vote went to Ariel Atkins, who was voted in as a reserve.
While I didn't vote for anyone who was snubbed of an All-Star appearance, there are some players that I assumed would be voted in as reserves that weren't.
Kelsey Mitchell, Indiana Fever
Were my ears ringing? In my power rankings for this past week, I noted how shocked I would be if Mitchell wasn't voted in.
Well, she wasn't, and I am shocked.
This season, Mitchell has put up career bests in points per game (19.2), three-point percentage (40.2 percent) and assists per game (4.1). But career bests apparently don't yield to an All-Star appearance—one that would have been Mitchell's first.
Tony East @TEastNBA
If Kelsey Mitchells 19-4 averages hold, she will be the 2nd player in WNBA history to not be named an All-Star with those numbers in a season in which All-Stars were named per <a href="https://twitter.com/WBBTimeline?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WBBTimeline</a>. The other was Candace Parker in 2015, who missed LA's 1st 16 games.<a href="https://t.co/cOYiPnAmJy">https://t.co/cOYiPnAmJy</a>
Is the reason for her snub because of the team she's on? That could be very possible. Mitchell has played in 656 total minutes this season, which is a much more comprehensive body of work than Kahleah Copper's. The 2021 WNBA Finals MVP has only played in 380 minutes and put up inferior marks in points per game, three-point percentage and assists to Mitchell.
It’s worth remembering that the 2022 All-Star Game is in Chicago and Copper will be joined by three of her teammates in starter Candace Parker and reserves in Emma Meesseman and Courtney Vandersloot.
Allisha Gray, Dallas Wings
Allisha Gray is another player who I thought would make a fabulous All-Star story this year as an under-the-radar player who would finally get recognized for her development on both sides of the ball since being drafted into the W in 2017.
But no, that unfortunately didn’t happen.
Gray is listed as seventh in the league with total win shares with 3.0, per Her Hoops Stats. The two names right above and right below her are Jackie Young and Emma Meesseman, respectively, and they are both All-Stars. How does this make any sense?
I'm going to be a bit franker here and say that Gray has been the best player this season on the Dallas Wings and was absolutely snubbed. Instead, a spot went to her more well-known teammate, Arike Ogunbowale, who was the 2021 WNBA All-Star MVP.
Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces
Chelsea Gray's All-Star case might have been made last night when we got to see what the Aces looked like without her. She missed the Aces game on Monday night due to a personal reason, and her absence was quite apparent.
Aces head coach Becky Hammon called her someone who can "slice and dice a pick-and-roll" and is a direct extension of her coaching. Her role on the Aces this season reminds me of another super cerebral point guard whose playmaking serves as the Cerebro to Hammon's Professor X of the entire offense.
Does that sound like someone else who was voted onto the All-Star team as a starter? I’m not saying that Sue Bird shouldn’t be honored in her final WNBA season, but I am saying that Gray has a better purely statistical case.
While Bird has 0.3 more assists per game than Gray, Bird is Seattle's primary ball-handler, and Gray plays alongside both Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. Gray has scored 12.5 points per game to Bird’s 8.6.
Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm
For a player as unassuming as Ezi Magbegor, it's awfully difficult for the 22-year-old to get the shine she deserves while sharing the floor with three other 2022 All-Stars in Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird.
While Jackie Young has been the favorite so far for Most Improved Player, someone who is also just as much in that race is Magbegor.
What's beyond impressive about Magbegor is how she's seen significant jumps in both offensive and defensive statistics. Her scoring has increased from 6.7 points per game to 12.6, her rebounds have increased from 3.8 to 5.8 per game, and her blocks have increased from 0.9 to 2.7. She's a two-way player through and through.
Let's look at Magbegor's win shares and again remember who she shares the court with night after night. She is tied with Courtney Vandersloot at 2.2 win shares and has 0.1 fewer win shares than first-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year front-runner Rhyne Howard.
If Sylvia Fowles opts out of the All-Star game to preserve her body for the rest of the season, Magbegor is the obvious replacement.
Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics
Elena Delle Donne's All-Star case is minimized by the fact that she's played in significantly fewer minutes than her peers. This is no fault of her own, as the goal from day one for the Mystics was to preserve their six-time All-Star and generational talent to propel Washington through the playoffs.
But I think there ought to be something said for the body of work she has completed in just 378 minutes.
What's truly astounding about this is after enduring multiple back surgeries, Delle Donne's shooting efficiency has looked awfully similar to what it looked like before both the pandemic and her surgeries.
She's shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three. That's not quite the 50-40 benchmarks she cleared in 2019, but it's pretty darn close. Delle Donne is also shooting better this season from 0-10 feet than she did pre-surgery.
When you think about what defines an All-Star, Delle Donne's impact on the Mystics is tremendous. When Delle Donne plays, the Mystics are 10-4, and when she doesn't, they are 3-5. Washington plays with less fluidity without their two-time MVP, which is a quality that defines "All-Stardom."