Top 20: Tina Charles, no. 13
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 ? 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. 13 – Tina Charles
Averaging 15.5 ppg and 11.7 rpg in her rookie season, Charles had a league-record 22 double-doubles in 34 games en route to the Rookie of the Year award and the WNBA All-Second Team. Additionally, she had phenomenal individual performances that solidified her as one of the most dominant players in the game today – 19 points and 21 rebounds against Minnesota on August 3rd, 27 points and 20 rebounds versus Atlanta on July 7th, and an astounding 19 points and 23 rebounds against Phoenix on June 25th.
This type of dominance isn’t anything new to Charles. In 2009 and 2010, she helped lead the UConn Huskies to two straight undefeated National Championships. She would later be honored as the John R. Wooden Player of the Year, the AP National Player of the Year, the 2010 Naismith College Player of the Year and was selected as the No.1 pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft to the Connecticut Sun.
Perhaps the most likeable part about Charles is her no-nonsense approach to the game but also her jovial demeanor off the court. In basketball mode, Charles is dialed into every play, every defensive stop, and knows where the ball is going to be after a shot is attempted. Rebounding is certainly about heart but it is also about anticipation and hard work–Charles has made a living off these qualities. Off the court, however, Charles is known a funny, passionate, and kind person who is actively involved in her local community in terms of volunteerism and giving back.
It’s difficult to watch Tina Charles play a game and not shake your head in amazement. The way she controls the paint, stifles opponents on the defensive end, and literally changes the way the game is played on both ends of the court is nearly unprecedented. For a player to be as effective she was in her rookie year (her rating of +21.6 was 5th in the league) is a testament to her competitive spirit and work ethic.
Although the Sun didn’t have the year they all would’ve preferred in 2010, they have an extremely talented young core of players that will only get better.
Imagine what Tina Charles will do with a year under her belt.