The 2022 WNBA All-Star Game’s 22-man roster is set as the game’s 12 reserves — chosen by the league’s coaches — were announced Tuesday.
The two teams — led by captains A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, and their respective co-captains Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles — will create their rosters from the pool on Saturday (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app). Wilson and Stewart were made captains after receiving the most fan votes. The WNBA named Bird and Fowles, who have announced they will retire at the end of the 2022 season, are co-captains alongside them.
They are joined by Skylar Diggins-Smith, Courtney Vandersloot and Jewell Loyd, a host of second-time All-Stars and a freshman, Atlanta Dream rookie Rhyne Howard, this year’s No. 1 draft pick.
ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, Alexa Philippou and Kevin Pelton – all were Media All-Star voters – share their thoughts on the biggest snubs who should have been starters and more about the 22 chosen players. The 2022 WNBA All-Star Game will air July 10 (1 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN App).
Who is the biggest All-Star nudge and who would they replace in the current roster?
Michelle Voepel: Indiana fever guard Kelsey Mitchell (19.2 PPG) is the only player among the current top eight scorers in the WNBA who is not on the roster. She is currently fourth in PPG, ranks 12th in APG (4.1), and shoots 40.2% from 3-point range. If those numbers held up all season, they would be the best of her five-year WNBA career.
Mitchell plays last for the Fever, and it’s difficult to represent her to the other reserve guards for reasons unrelated to whether Mitchell is good enough to be an All-Star. She is. But as Andscape’s Sean Hurd recently wrote, she’s decided to stay the course in Indiana and try to rebuild the franchise. If that costs her some awards now, she hopes the payout completes the job.
Alexa Philipou: I thought Allisha Gray had good reasons to earn an All-Star spot. The six-year veteran is having the best season of her career, averaging 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds, along with her usual strong defense. Her accuracy of 43.0% out of 3 (5.2 attempts per game) is second highest in the league among players attempting at least three treys per game, behind only Jackie Young.
Additionally, the advanced stats show her value to the Dallas Wings: She ranks fifth in the league with 3.0 win percentages per her hoop stats, and Dallas outperforms opponents at 14.9 points per 100 possessions with her on the ground ( the second highest mark). in the team behind Teaira McCowan). Both numbers are marginally better than teammate and reserve All-Star Arike Ogunbowale (2.3, 10.5).
Kevin Pelton: Elena Delle Donne. I voted for Delle Donne as one of my starters, so I’m shocked she wasn’t chosen by coaches. Yes, she wasn’t in the league’s top 10 most valuable players this season due to the number of games she missed due to minor injuries and planned breaks. But when she did play, Delle Donne was as good as anyone outside of the top MVP contenders (she ranks sixth in my wins via substitutes per game metric). And the last time she was healthy before that, she was MVP and led the Washington Mystics to a title. As long as she’s healthy, Delle Donne is always an all-star in my book.
What’s the biggest surprise from the All-Star roster?
Philippou: I’m always fascinated to see the discrepancies in how fans, media, players and coaches vote. Players were much lower than fans and media at Diggins-Smith, Candace Parker and Delle Donne. Fans, meanwhile, were less focused on Ogunbowale, Mitchell and Jonquel Jones than the media and players. Mitchell, Tina Charles and Delle Donne were all top 10 in all three groups voting for their respective positions – but none received the nod from coaches.
For what’s supposed to be a showcase of the league’s talent, does it feel right for one of the 12 teams not to be represented, especially when two teams account for more than a third of the picks — and when it actually wasn’t so forced be to include a player from that outstanding team (ie Mitchell)? This renews the age-old debate about what should make an All-Star (especially compared to, say, All-WNBA teams). But maybe the fan voting should play a role in the selection of the reserves and the starters.
Pelton: Diana Taurasi doesn’t make it. Strictly on merit, this could have gone either way. I didn’t have her on my all-star list when we picked her on the HerHoopStats podcast last week. Still, this is Diana Taurasi, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer. The only time she was ever qualified for an All-Star game and not selected was in 2019 when she only played six games due to injury.
Voepel: The league may want to talk to the union about player voting. While there are players who carefully fill out their ballots, others don’t and may only list their teammates. Players are included on the voting panel because they obviously know whose names are always on scouting reports and who they find most difficult to guard or hit etc. But not taking the voting seriously negates their expertise. And some don’t vote at all.
However, there was nothing really impressive about the final line-up, although it’s somewhat surprising that the coaches didn’t choose Delle Donne or Taurasi – if not both. Because at their best they are still in the elite. The fan voting should probably be included in the reserve.
What reserve should have been a starter?
Pelton: Diggins-Smith. It’s been a disappointing season for the Mercury, but I’m still shocked that when the players voted, Diggins-Smith ranked them 14th among guards and ranked them as an underperformer starter. We’re talking about one of the most successful point guards in WNBA history, and it’s not as if we don’t have proof that she can help her team win: Diggins-Smith led Phoenix to the Finals just nine months ago.
Voepel: Diggins-Smith. She’s way above the 14th best guard in the league and everyone knows it. It really showed that there was something shaky with player voting – including turnout, if you will.
Philippou: Emma Meesseman has been such a big factor in Chicago’s regular-season success this summer, but if you’re just looking to start one Chicago player, I don’t hate that Candace Parker gets the nod in front of her — especially since this could be Parker in last season the WNBA.
I also think The Sun’s Brionna Jones is still criminally underrated in this league, even after winning the Most Improved Player title last season and likely finishing sixth Woman of the Year in 2022, only to Breanna Stewart.
Which first-time All-Star are you most impressed with this season?
Pelton: Kelsey Plum, if only because I expected Sabrina Ionescu to reach that level of the game at some point. In Plum’s case, reaching new heights two years after a potentially devastating Achilles tendon injury comes as a surprise. For the Aces, Plum’s move from the bench to the starting lineup has continued to unleash the scoring opportunities that have propelled them to become the all-time NCAA leading scorer, emerging as the No. 1 overall from Washington in 2017.
Voepel: We thought 2020 No. 1 Ionescu could be an instant all-star talent. But after losing most of her rookie year to a serious ankle injury, she’s really coming into her own. Candace Parker recently cited Ionescu, the all-time collegiate triple-doubles leader for Oregon, as an example of a player who could make triple-doubles seem almost routine in the WNBA. Ionescu has a triple-double this year and has been close three more times. It is very likely that she will have more before the season is over.
Philippou: All of them. But if I have to talk about just one, I would like to single out Rhyne Howard, the only newcomer to the team. Although she and the Atlanta Dream have cooled off somewhat in recent weeks, her 16.2 points (top-15 in the league) at 37.3% shots from 3, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest summarize how strong the debut season 2022 No. 1 selection had.
https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/34162615/wnba-2022-all-star-game-biggest-roster-surprises-snubs WNBA 2022 All-Star Game – Biggest roster surprises and snubs