The new WNBA season is just a few weeks old, but it's already time to start thinking about who deserves a spot in the 2023 All-Star Game. Fan voting for the annual event is now open, and will run through 11:59 p.m. on June 21, ahead of All-Star Weekend from July 14-15.
Under the current format, All-Star starters are determined by a combination of fan, media and player voting. Fan tallies are given a 50% weight, while the media and player picks each receive a 25% weight. Fans can vote once per day on WNBA.com or the WNBA app, while select media members and players will have one singular ballot. Each ballot consists of six frontcourt players and four backcourt players, withoug regard to conference affiliation.
While we are not even a quarter of the way through the season yet -- the Phoenix Mercury have still ony played four games -- here's a look at some extremely early projections for the 10 All-Star starters. We won't go super in-depth at this point, because a lot will likely change over the next two weeks, but it's fun to see who's off to a great start.
- Allisha Gray, Atlanta Dream
- Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces
- Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm
- Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces
We'll start in the backcourt because it's a bit easier compared to the frontcourt selections. Jewell Loyd and Jackie Young are absolute locks. Loyd is the league's leading scorer by a wide margin at 28 points per game, and is doing everything in her power to single-handedly carry the Storm. Young, meanwhile, has taken another leap and is fifth in the league in scoring at 21.9 points per game on a ridiculous 59.1% percent from the field.
Next up, we'll take Chelsea Gray, in part because the Aces are the clear best team in the league and deserve multiple starters, and in part for her excellent all-around play which includes being second in assists at seven per game. The final spot was the most difficult, as there are a number of deserving candidates. We'll lean towards Allisha Gray for now; she's one of four players averaging at least 16 points, six rebounds and three assists, and is scoring efficiently for the Dream.
- Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics
- Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury
- Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks
- Satou Sabally, Dallas Wings
- Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty
- Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
- A'ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
Figuring out the frontcourt is an absolute nightmare. There are seven different players with rock-solid "I have to be picked" cases, but only six spots. Let's just do a quick rundown of some counting stats to give you a picture of why this is so difficult:
Note: SPG in this table refers to stocks per game, a combination of steals plus blocks
Elena Delle Donne
Genuinely, what do voters do in this situation?
Wilson (the best player on the best team) and Stewart (the MVP favorite so far) are locks, and Sabally feels like one as well given her breakout campaign that has her in the top-four in scoring, rebounding and steals.
Delle Donne has the "weakest" numbers and she's putting up 19.8/7/2 on 50.0/52.6/91.3 efficiency; she's on pace to invent the 50-50-90 club! Thomas doesn't score like the rest of this bunch, but she's leading the league in rebounding and third in assists. Do you leave Griner out based on team record? That doesn't seem totally fair for an individual honor, especially when she's fourth in scoring, second in field goal percentage and leads the league in blocks. And how can you say no to Ogwumike when she's on pace to be just the fourth player in league history to put up 20/9 on 55% shooting?
This is a total cop-out, but since no decision has to be made at this point, we simply won't make one. Hopefully the race isn't still this tight when the ballots are officially due.