Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson is the 2022 WNBA MVP, the league announced on Wednesday. Wilson, who first won the award in 2020, is the seventh player in league history with multiple MVP trophies. She was also named Defensive Player of the Year this season and is the fifth player to earn both honors in the same season.
Wilson learned the news on Tuesday night after putting up 23 points and 13 rebounds in the Aces' series-clinching Game 4 win over the Seattle Storm that sent them back to the WNBA Finals for the second time in the past three seasons. Aces head coach Becky Hammon broke the news in the locker room after the game, and Wilson's teammates mobbed her in celebration.
In a narrow race, Wilson received 31 out of 56 first-place votes from a national panel of broadcasters and sportswriters. Settle Storm forward Breanna Stewart received 23 first-place votes and finished in second place. Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker and Aces guard Chelsea Gray were the only other players to receive first-place votes.
Looking closer at the voting tallies, it's notable that both Wilson and Stewart only received 55 total votes, which means each player was left off a ballot entirely -- a bizarre and frankly unacceptable decision. Voters were allowed to rank five players on their ballots, and players received 10 points for a first-place vote, seven points for a second-place vote, five points for third, three points for fourth and one point for fifth. All told, 17 players received at least one vote. Here's a look at the top-five:
|Player||Team||Finish (total points)|
Las Vegas Aces
Las Vegas Aces
Wilson averaged 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks, while shooting 50.1 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from 3-point land. Save for points, all of those numbers were career-highs, and she finished fifth in the league in scoring, second in rebounding and first in blocks; no one else was in the top-five in all three categories. Furthermore, she became the first player in league history to put up 700 points, 300 rebounds and 70 blocks in a season.
With Wilson leading the way, the Aces won a franchise-record 26 games and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. She's continued her stellar play in the postseason, making history in the semifinals as the first player ever with back-to-back 30-point, 10-rebound games in the playoffs. Now, she has the Aces back in the Finals and three wins away from the first title in franchise history.