Candace Parker has won just about everything there is to win in the game of basketball: NCAA title, Naismith College Player of the Year award, WNBA title, Olympic gold medal, MVP, Rookie of the Year, All-Star. You name it, she's done it, and often times more than once. This season, she added yet another trophy to her collection when she was named Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in her career.
So when the WNBA announced the 2020 All-Defensive teams on Tuesday, it was stunning that Parker's name was absent. No first team, no second team, nothing. This is the first time in WNBA history that the Defensive Player of the Year was left off the All-Defensive teams.
It's worth noting that the media votes on Defensive Player of the Year, while the coaches are in charge of selecting the All-Defensive teams. Still, it's surprising that there would be such a vast difference of opinions between the two groups that Parker didn't make either team.
Another unfortunate aspect of these voting results, is that the focus ends up being on Parker -- understandably so -- rather than the players who did achieve this honor. Here's a look at the 10 players who were selected to the 2020 WNBA All-Defensive Teams:
All-Defensive first team
- Alysha Clark, Seattle Storm
- Betnijah Laney, Atlanta Dream
- Brianna Turner, Phoenix Mercury
- Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
- Elizabeth Williams, Atlanta Dream
All-Defensive second team
- Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
- Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx
- Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics
- Brittney Sykes, Los Angeles Sparks
- A'ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
Clark, who finished runner-up to Parker for DPOY, was the only player to be unanimously named to the first team. It is the second straight season she's made an All-Defensive team after she was on the second team last season. Laney, who won Most Improved Player, Turner, Williams, Collier, Sykes and Wilson, who won MVP, all made their All-Defensive team debut.
Along with Parker's snub, another interesting result here was the Dream having two players on the first team despite finishing 10th in the league with a defensive rating of 107.1, and missing the playoffs. A bad record shouldn't disqualify players from postseason honors, but it's curious how coaches can square the idea of the Dream having two of the five best defensive players in the league, but one of the worst defenses.