Few have risen to the top ranks of the WNBA like A’ja Wilson. In such a short amount of time, she’s cemented her place as one of the greatest WNBA players of all time and won one Selection of awards beautiful. The 6ft 5 forward is one of the biggest talents in the league and still has a lot of potential to be uncovered. It goes beyond mere individual achievement as the 26-year-old has helped take the Las Vegas Aces to another level since she made her impact felt.
The Aces currently lead the Connecticut Sun 2-1 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 performances thus far deserve recognition. Here are the three best moments of her career so far.
3rd Rookie of the Year 2018
After an impressive career in South Carolina, A’ja Wilson was the pick of the 2018 draft. She made his presence felt immediately, hitting a double-double on her debut with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Wilson raised the bar with her game, becoming only the second player in league history to score 35 points and have over 10 rebounds in a game less than a month later.
Her impressive game was quickly recognized by her peers. A’ja Wilson was named to the WNBA All-Star Game as a rookie and nearly took the Vegas Aces to the playoffs. Overall, 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 for the third most points per game in the WNBA with Diana Taurasi and was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year for her impressive performance.
Her 8.0 rebounds per ranked game Sixth in the WNBA and the rookie with the next best rebound numbers was Diamond DeShields at 4.9 per game. Wilson’s 1.7 blocks per game ranked sixth in the WNBA, with next-best rookie, Azura Stevens, hitting 1.2 blocks per game. She also finished seventh in MVP voting that season, which is particularly 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 included voting from fans, WNBA players, head coaches, sportswriters and broadcasters. When all the votes were tallied, A’ja Wilson received the most votes of anyone in the entire WNBA. She was subsequently named captain of the game, adding 10 points, five rebounds and one assist in the matchup. This was her fourth All-Star appearance to date.
This is an impressive acknowledgment of the strong performances Wilson has put in. Getting 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 the performance are probably more important to Wilson, it must feel great to receive that kind of recognition for their strong game.
1. 2022 MVP and Defensive Player of the Year
Recognition for their game didn’t just end with All-Star Game voting. A’ja Wilson was also named 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 rebound and steal numbers were both career highs. She led the WNBA in averaging 1.9 blocks per game and ranked 12th in the league for 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 a tie (1-1) 🔥
8 of 11 FTpic.twitter.com/JfkoI998fy
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 1, 2022
Wilson also added a three-point shot to her arsenal this season. Although the Aces star had only made two three-point attempts in his career prior to this season, he averaged 2.3 three-point attempts per game and hit on 37.3% of those long-range shots. While she also won the 2020 MVP, the South Carolina product became the first member of the Las Vegas Aces to be named Defensive Player of the Year.
While she still has plenty of time to top it, this season deserves recognition for being one of the best of all time in the WNBA. Their strong play gave the Aces their best record in franchise history, 26-10, and they are just one win away from winning the title. This impressive collection of individual and team successes is almost unrivaled in sport. Ending the season by winning a championship would be the ideal ending for Wilson and the Aces. At 26, she still has plenty of time to continue building her legacy, but is well on her way to becoming one of the greatest WNBA players of all time.