Top 20: Seimone Augustus, no. 16
The definitive ranking of the WNBA’s best players.
By Ben York / @bjyork
Some of you won’t care, and we’re about 99 percent positive we’ll get a few of the traditional “what is the WNBA?” comments we usually do. But this is long overdue – SLAMonline’s first ever in-depth player rankings for the WNBA.
Why just the top 20 and not the top 50? Simple. There are 18 fewer teams in the WNBA than the NBA and roster sizes are limited to 11 players. Thus, the NBA has hundreds of more players than the WNBA does – and this list needs and deserves to be competitive.
This list is based solely on projected performance in the 2011 season. Traditional player statistics are taken into account but being a successful and effective player in The W is so much more than that. It’s what each player means to the team – in terms of responsibility, leadership, management and all-around game.
We know you’ll see players you think should be on the list but aren’t. Conversely, you’ll also see players on the list that you’ll vehemently disagree with. Maybe you agree with the entire top 20. Just be sure to let us know in the comment section.
Also, check out Ben’s weekly podcast at WNBA.com.– Ed.
No. 16 – Seimone Augustus
Here’s something you might not have heard before – Seimone Augustus is the Carmelo Anthony of the WNBA.
Don’t believe me? You should.
Aside from the obvious similarities in their cross-overs and go-to moves, they each release the ball in a similar way, pull up for a jumper with the same quickness, and can put up 30+ points with ease. They both have an innate ability to get to the basket at all costs, can take any opposing player off the dribble, and can single-handedly take over a game at anytime. Maybe the most striking similarity they have is their strength; they each use this to enforce their will on defenses night after night.
Not surprisingly, just like Carmelo, Augustus can leave you frequently shaking your head in amazement.
I remember being fortunate enough to witness a game when Augustus was absolutely on fire. It was in July of 2010 and the Minnesota Lynx were in Phoenix visiting the Mercury. Augustus went for 36 points on 14-23 shooting but it was the type of shots she continued to hit that made my jaw drop.
The defense simply had no answer for her; they tried double-teaming and triple-teaming but she continually made jumpers from 15- feet while fading away from the basket. In single coverage, Augustus was able to create her shot or get to the basket and draw a foul.
Augustus has always been a force to be reckoned with. She was a three-time All-American at Louisiana State University leading the Lady Tigers to three-straight Final Four appearances. This prestigious college career led to her being drafted as the no.1 overall pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx. She would later earn an All-Star birth and Rookie of the Year honors in her first professional season. In 2008, Augustus won a Gold Medal in the Olympic games with Team USA.
Maybe the most significant accomplishment of her young career came when LSU retired her jersey in January of 2010. Showing support for the most dominant female athlete in school history, the LSU Athletic Council waived the standard five-year waiting requirement for retiring jerseys. Her jersey joined just three other basketball players in the rafters that day – Bob Pettit, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pete Maravich.
Plagued by injuries the past couple of seasons, Augustus is now healthier than ever and poised to take the league by storm once again in 2011.