As the WNBA heads into the final third of the 2023 season, a number of players have emerged as frontrunners for the league MVP award.
Among the list of candidates once again is reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, who has helped lead a stacked Las Vegas Aces team to a 24-2 record and first place in the league standings. Ensuring she stays in Las Vegas for the near future, the Aces signed Wilson to a two-year contract extension worth $200,000 annually in June.
“A’ja Wilson is a generational talent and a huge foundational piece to our team and organization,” Aces general manager Natalie Williams said at the time. “We are thrilled to have her re-sign and be here in Las Vegas for the next two years.”
Currently, Wilson is averaging 20.7 points (fifth in the league), 9.5 rebounds (third) and 2.3 blocks (first) per game. Her scoring average is slightly up from the 19.5 points per game she averaged last year, and her rebound numbers are roughly equivalent. The forward is also averaging more blocks than she did in 2022, when she was named Defensive Player of the Year.
A'ja called & said she's hosting a BLOCK PARTY 😤@_ajawilson22 has racked up 6 BLOCKS in the 1st half for a season-high in a game!📺 @CBSSportsNet pic.twitter.com/OZRAl5mU3A— WNBA (@WNBA) July 30, 2023
A'ja called & said she's hosting a BLOCK PARTY 😤@_ajawilson22 has racked up 6 BLOCKS in the 1st half for a season-high in a game!📺 @CBSSportsNet pic.twitter.com/OZRAl5mU3A
Last month, Wilson won the ESPY for Best WNBA Player and served as an All-Star Game captain for the second year in a row, as voted on by the fans, while making her third-straight All-Star Game appearance. Just this week, the two-time WNBA MVP helped the Aces become the first team to clinch a 2023 playoff berth. At 24-2, Las Vegas is tied with the 1998 Houston Comets for the best record through 26 games in WNBA history.
It seems that one of the only voids left to fill on Wilson’s growing list of accolades is to be featured on the WNBA edition of NBA 2K. Aces teammate Kelsey Plum agrees, and admires the way Wilson handles herself as the spotlight on her and Las Vegas basketball only gets brighter.
“I appreciate A’ja because I feel like she just remains true to who she is, regardless of the circumstances,” Plum recently told WSLAM. “And a lot of things are thrown her way — professionally, personally, things like that — but she just handles it with grace. And I just admire that.”
Wilson has been the face of a team that also boasts Plum, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young and Candace Parker (now out indefinitely with a foot injury). Each of those players has the ability to have a breakout performance on any given night, and still, Wilson finds ways to be the best player on the best team in the league.
More than anything, Wilson sets the standard for an Aces team that is far and away the one to beat as they look to win back-to-back WNBA Championships.