Top 20: Becky Hammon, no. 11
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. 11 – Becky Hammon
One of the most recognizable figures in all of women’s basketball, Becky Hammon has solidified herself as one of the top 3 point guards in the game today.
Of course, exactly where she falls in the top 3 is debatable but you could certainly make a solid case for her to be no.1. The Silver Stars are definitely not the same team (or remotely close) without Hammon and and neither were the great New York Liberty teams in the early to mid 2000′s. Hammon brings stability and excitement wherever she goes and it is a testament to where hard work and dedication can take you.
Truth be told, Becky Hammon probably shouldn’t be where she is today. She went to a smaller Division 1 school (Colorado State) and was undrafted in her rookie year in the league. Over the course of her entire career, she has battled against players who are taller, stronger, and more gifted athletically. Still, Hammon’s work ethic and an indelible belief in herself have helped her become one of the greatest point guards in WNBA history.
She is currently 10th all-time in total points (4,564), 13th in total field-goals made (1,487), 2nd in total three-point field-goals made (627), 11th in total free-throws made (963), 7th in total assists (1,204), and 16th in total steals (395). Remember, this is all from a player who was never supposed to make it to the professional level, much less have such a stellar career.
Hammon is undoubtedly at her best when she can be creative on the court. When she has players along the perimeter who can score, she is nearly unguardalbe (as Kelly Miller knows all too well). Hammon is quick enough to beat any defender off the dribble and lethal enough from outside that the opponent can’t give her too much room. If they do overplay her, Hammon’s court-vision is extraordinary; she can shred the defense with pin-point passes or kick it out to a shooter along the perimeter. The Silver Stars haven’t had enough firepower of the past few years to combat some of the more talented teams in the Western Conference, but I’d expect that to change heading into the 2011 season.
In spite of having so much success on the court, Hammon continues to remain humble and thankful for the opportunity to play the game of basketball professionally. Her legion of loyal fans, the “Hammonites,” have always appreciated the toughness and passion she plays with every single game. Hammon remains of the most active players in the community and makes a point to interact with her fans as much as possible via her website.
Perhaps most importantly, heading into her 13th year in the league in 2011, Hammon has shown no signs of slowing down.