By Cayla McMorris
In every Rookie Report, we have discussed how good the Aces’ A’ja Wilson has been this season. But what about the other rookies that are doing well but are overlooked because of Wilson’s dominance?
MOST UNDERRATED ROOKIE
Diamond DeShields, Sky:
In the Sky’s last two victories, DeShields is averaging 20 points per game. She scored 25 points against the Mercury while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing four assists. Against the Wings, she scored 15 points and pulled down 6 boards while shooting 35 percent from the floor. For ROY, DeShields is Wilson’s biggest contender but the only thing holding DeShields back is her ability to stay consistent especially when her team is losing. DeShields is a key asset to this Sky team and when she is on her “A” game, the Sky are much more successful. It’s evident that when she scores in double figures, her team either wins or she puts them in a position to win. As of now, DeShields is averaging 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 40 percent from the field.
ROOKIES WHO HAVE HAD SUCCESS
Kelsey Mitchell, Fever
Mitchell was in a deep slump that many questioned if she would get out of before the end of the season. As stated before, “shooters shoot” and the best way to get out of a slump is to shoot your way out of it. That’s exactly what Mitchell did in her last game against the Storm. Mitchell scored 26 points on 8 of 18 shooting. Ten of her 18 shots were three-pointers and she made 3 of them. She also shot 100 percent from the free throw line, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 31 minutes. Despite Mitchell’s roller coaster performance this year, she has pretty much remained the second leading scorer for this struggling Fever team which shows how much of a factor she is for them.
Ariel Atkins, Mystics
Atkins is another player who has struggled with consistency which is why she is overlooked. For this Mystics team, Atkins has been a key factor in their success. When Elena Delle-Donne was out with illness, she stepped up and averaged 14.6 points per game and was the glue to help keep the Mystics going. As of late, in the Mystics last two games she is only averaging eight points in 18.5 minutes of play. Atkins typically averages 22.3 minutes per game and 11.2 points per game.
Victoria Vivians, Fever
Vivians went on a few spurts that showcased her ability to dominate at this level. You can see that she has had some really good games as well as some not so good games, but she’s adjusting to the pro level. Vivians is the fifth leading scorer at 8.5 points per game in about 25.1 minutes per game.
Azura Stevens, Wings:
In 11 out of 26 games, Stevens has scored in double figures and in early July she went on a five-game streak of scoring in double-digit points. For Stevens it’s all about adjustments and being able to defend and score against players who are bigger and stronger than her. She is adjusting well but there have been games where she has struggled. In her last two games, she is averaging only 3 points, which is 5 points under her average (8.4).
Jordin Canada, Storm:
Canada’s assists-to-turnover ratio is one of the best out of all the rookies at +1.3. So far as a point guard she has averaged a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and there has only been five games where her turnovers outnumbered her assists. She has shown her high basketball IQ through her ability to make tough passes and see the floor. As her playing time increases she will be able to showcase more of her talents especially her scoring abilities. Canada is averaging 5.7 points per game and 3.2 assists per game in 16.4 minutes of play.