Few have risen to the top ranks of the WNBA in the way A’ja Wilson has. In such a short amount of time, she has solidified her place as one of the greatest WNBA players to ever play and collected an assortment of accolades already. The 6-foot-5 forward is one of the premiere talents in the league and still has plenty of potential still to be uncovered. It goes beyond just individual accomplishment as the 26-year-old has helped take to Las Vegas Aces to another level since making her impact felt.
The Aces currently hold a 2-1 lead over the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA finals. Wilson and the Aces are just one win away from securing their first championship. While the story of A’ja Wilson’s career is still being written, her impressive accomplishments thus far deserve acknowledgment. Here are the three best moments of her career thus far.
3. 2018 Rookie of Year
After an impressive career at South Carolina, A’ja Wilson was the number one overall pick in the 2018 draft. She made he presence felt immediately and tallied a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double in her debut. Wilson raised the bar with her play and became just the second player in league history to score 35 points and have over 10 rebounds in a game under a month later.
Her impressive play was recognized by her peers very quickly. A’ja Wilson was named to the WNBA All-Star game as a rookie and nearly brought the Vegas Aces to the playoffs. In total, she averaged 20.7 points, still her career-high, as well as 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. She tied Diana Taurasi for the third most points per game in the WNBA in scoring and was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year for her impressive effort.
Her 8.0 rebounds per game ranked sixth in the WNBA and the rookie with the next best rebounding numbers was Diamond DeShields with 4.9 per game. Wilson’s 1.7 blocks per game ranked sixth in the WNBA with the next best rookie, Azura Stevens, tallying 1.2 blocks per game. She also ended seventh in MVP voting this season which is especially impressive for a rookie.
2. Mountain Dew All-Star Game
The 2022 Mountain Dew All-Star Game was also a notable moment in A’ja Wilson’s career. The process involved voting from fans, WNBA players, head coaches, sports writers, and broadcasters. When all the votes were counted, A’ja Wilson received the most votes among anyone in the entire WNBA. She was named a captain of the game as a result and added 10 points, five rebounds, and an assist in the matchup. This was her fourth all-star appearance so far.
This is an impressive acknowledgment of the strong performances that Wilson has put forth. To receive more votes than stars like Breanna Stweart, Sabrina Ionescu, Candace Parker, Sue Bird, and the rest of the league is extremely impressive. While the wins and production are likely more important to Wilson, it has to feel great to have this type of recognition for her strong play.
1. 2022 MVP and Defensive Player of the Year
The recognition for her play did not stop at just the All-Star Game voting. A’ja Wilson was also named the 2022 MVP and Defensive Player of the Year this season. She averaged 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game this season. Her rebounding and steals numbers were both career highs. The 1.9 blocks per game she averaged led the WNBA and she ranked 12th in the league in steals. The Vegas standout recorded seven games with at least four blocks and six games with at least three steals.
A'ja Wilson had a Playoff career high and led the Aces to tie the series (1-1) 🔥
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 1, 2022
Wilson also added a three-point shot to her arsenal this season. Despite only attempting two career three-pointers prior to this season, the Aces star averaged 2.3 three-point attempts per game and connected on 37.3% of these long-range shots. While she also won the MVP in 2020, the South Carolina product became the first member of the Las Vegas Aces to be named the Defensive Player of the Year.
While she still has plenty of time to top it, this season deserves credit for being one of the best ever in the WNBA. Her strong play led the Aces to the best record in franchise history at 26-10, and they are just one win away from claiming the title. This impressive collection of individual and team success is nearly unrivaled in the sport. Finishing off the season by winning a championship would be the ideal ending for Wilson and the Aces. At 26 years old, she still has plenty of time to continue adding to her legacy, but is well on her way to being one of the greatest WNBA players of all time.