The 2021 WNBA season is just days away. In previewing the league’s 25th season, ESPN.com has ranked its Top 25 Players ahead of Thursday’s tipoff.
The Minnesota Lynx frontcourt of Napheesa Collier and Sylvia Fowles ranked No. 5 and No. 16, respectively, on this year’s list as Minnesota aims to return to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2017.
Of the 2020 All-WNBA Collier, Kevin Pelton writes:
“Two seasons into her WNBA career, Collier is on the path to all-time greatness. Her 12.6 wins above replacement player by my WARP metric are the 12th-most in league history over a player’s first two years and the most since Stewart in 2016 and 2017. If not for the depth at forward, Collier easily could have made the All-WNBA First Team in 2020. Now, the Lynx have added to their starting five, positioning Collier to potentially lead them back to the WNBA Finals for the first time since their 2017 championship.”
Fowles is four years removed from her 2017 Most Valuable Player campaign, but is still one of the league’s most dominant players in the post, writes Mechelle Voepel:
“After going to Minnesota in a midseason trade in 2015, Fowles was the essence of durability as part of two WNBA championship teams. But a nagging calf injury limited her to just seven games last season. The Lynx still advanced to the semifinals, and Fowles is eager to be back in action and build on that this season. At 35, she said she has had to dial back on taking part full-bore in every practice drill and conserve some of her energy. But when healthy, she’s still as dominant a low-block force as there is in the WNBA, and someone who commands great respect from her teammates.”
Noticeably absent from the list is Lynx newcomer and three-time WNBA All-Star Kayla McBride. McBride, 27, enters her prime with an average of 14.7 points per game while shooting 36.9% from three-point range at a high-volume clip of 4.5 attempts per game in her seven seasons to date.
May that be a chip on McBride’s shoulder as she returns from a stellar overseas campaign?