Although the 2019 season was initially defined by the superstar players that were missing — Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird among others — this season has come to be defined by the players that stepped up in their absences.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the front-runners for season awards include these particular players.
The 2019 WNBA Peak Performers, announced Sept. 9, are exactly the same as 2017’s. Plus, 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne (then with the Chicago Sky, now with the Washington Mystics) seems poised to collect her second such honor. But some awards are still up in the air. Rookie of the Year, a wide-open race since the beginning of the season, is now definitively a two-woman affair between the Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier and the Dallas Wings’ Arike Ogunbowale.
Most Improved Player could go in several directions, too. Will voters select a second-year player like Jordin Canada, a breakout Sixth Woman of the Year candidate like Dearica Hamby or a seasoned veteran like Leilani Mitchell (2010’s MIP)?
Here are the season awards that have been announced as of Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019:
WNBA Peak Performers
The Peak Performers are the season leaders in points, rebounds and assists per game.
Scoring: Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury (20.7 points per game)
Rebounds: Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun (9.7 rebounds per game)
Assists: Courtney Vandersloot, Chicago Sky (9.1 assists per game, WNBA record)
Coach of the Year: James Wade, Chicago Sky
In his first season at the helm of the Sky, Wade unlocked the potential of a roster full of stars and turned a 10th-place team into a fifth-place, playoff-bound team. Wade is the Sky’s first-ever Coach of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year: Natasha Howard, Seattle Storm
- 74 steals (league leader), 2.2 steals per game (2nd)
- 59 blocks (3rd), 1.7 blocks per game (2nd)
- 6.1 defensive win shares (league leader)
- Natasha Howard, Seattle Storm
- Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun
- Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks
- Jasmine Thomas, Connecticut Sun
- Jordin Canada, Seattle Storm
- Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury
- Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics
- Alysha Clark, Seattle Storm
- Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
- Natasha Cloud, Washington Mystics
This article will be updated with the names of award recipients as they are announced.