Connecticut Sun forward Brionna Jones was named the WNBA's 2022 Sixth Player of the Year on Thursday.
The two-time All-Star was the runaway favorite for the award after averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the regular season. She claimed 53 of the 56 first-place votes.
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Cooked ‘em on the court all season long.<br><br>Brionna Jones is your <a href="https://twitter.com/Kia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Kia</a> Sixth Player of the Year!<a href="https://twitter.com/_bjones18?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_bjones18</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CTSun?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CTSun</a> <a href="https://t.co/hs8U4OV5dS">pic.twitter.com/hs8U4OV5dS</a>
The fact Jones comes off the bench for the Sun speaks to their depth in the frontcourt.
The 2017 first-round pick was a peripheral figure in her first three years before Jonquel Jones' absence in 2020 paved the way for her to become a regular starter. She averaged 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 60.5 percent that season.
Alyssa Thomas' Achilles injury in 2021 allowed Jones to continue featuring in the starting rotation, and she showed her breakout was no aberration. She was third on the team in scoring (14.7 points) and second in rebounding (7.3 boards) en route to winning the WNBA's Most Improved Player.
Although Jones was relegated to the second unit with Connecticut at full strength again for 2022, it did little to lower her overall impact. The Sun had an 11.3 net rating with Jones on the floor and a 7.3 net rating when she was on the bench, per WNBA.com. Her 3.7 points per game in the fourth quarter trailed only DeWanna Bonner.
An unrestricted free agent, Jones has played her way into a big contract, the kind that could complicate a possible return to Connecticut.
The Sun have $847,500 tied up in just the quartet of Bonner, Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas, which limits their financial flexibility. Given how much she has grown her game, Jones might also relish the chance to assume the kind of starring role that may be more achievable elsewhere.