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Aces coach: A’ja Wilson third in MVP voting is ‘a joke’

With the Las Vegas Aces one victory from repeating at WNBA champions, coach Becky Hammon made a point to speak up for star forward A’ja Wilson, whom she feels was snubbed in the MVP voting.

Wilson won the regular-season award in 2022 but finished third this season behind New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart and the Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas.

“This lady’s been ridiculous, and she’s heard it all,” Hammon said after the Aces went up 2-0 on the Liberty in the best-of-five series with a dominant 104-76 victory on Wednesday. “Third in MVP voting? OK. Rest on that. It’s a joke. She’s been off-the-charts efficient.”

Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, helped the Aces set a single-season record for wins in going 34-6.

The 27-year-old was voted the Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season after leading the league and setting career highs in total blocks (89) and blocked shots per game (2.2). Wilson was second in rebounding (9.5), third in scoring (22.8), third in defensive rebounds per game (7.5) and 10th in steals (1.40).

Wilson is averaging 24.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in the postseason.

Stewart was second in scoring in the regular season (23.0 ppg), third in rebounds (9.3) and fourth in blocks (1.6). Thomas led the league in rebounding average (9.9).

Hammon didn’t point the finger only at voters for the award. The coach said she limited Wilson’s minutes and ability to pad her statistics by sitting her with the Aces securely ahead in games.

Wilson averaged 30.7 minutes per game in the regular season, compared to 34.1 for Stewart and 36.2 for Thomas.

“If I would’ve played her as many minutes (as Stewart and Thomas), she would’ve averaged 28 (points) and 13 (rebounds),” Hammon said. “And that’s all anybody in here would’ve been talking about. But she got screwed because her coach didn’t play her in fourth quarters.”

–Field Level Media

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