Top 20: Swin Cash, no. 12
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. 12 – Swin Cash
The Seattle Storm do not win the 2010 WNBA Championship if Swin Cash isn’t on the team.
I realize how bold of a statement that is (especially with Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson at the helm) but it’s true; Cash is that important to the success of the Storm.
Perhaps more accurately, the Storm probably don’t win the ring without any missing piece of the big three. That isn’t meant to discount Bird or Jackson as players; if anything, it’s a testament to how well they mesh together and how successful their collective tenure has been with the Storm.
However, in Cash’s case, it is difficult to imagine the Storm advancing as dominantly as they did throughout the 2010 playoffs without Cash. In seven total games Cash averaged 16 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg, and 1.5 spg while shooting 51% from the field and 50% beyond the arc. Additionally, Cash’s defense on the Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry was invaluable for the Storm while also keeping McCoughtry active on the defensive end of the floor with her pure scoring ability.
Maybe the best part about Swin Cash’s game is that she can adapt to any style of play, any offensive philosophy, and any preferred defensive scheme. Players who are effective and successful in any type of system don’t come around very often and she’s been doing it since she came into the league in 2002. Cash has even incorporated the three-point shot into her repertoire on a more consistent basis as another facet to her expanding game.
Many people aren’t aware that Cash is quickly ascending the WNBA record books. In just nine seasons, Cash has already found herself in the top 25 players of all-time in points (3,580 – 21st) , rebounds (1,162 – 17th), and free-throws made (1,036 – 7th). Amazingly, she has only played in 280 total games during that time due to a couple seasons where she was plagued with injuries. Imagine where Cash will find herself in the record books in three years? Five years? Ten years?
Coming back from her injuries wasn’t easy and took a great deal of resilience. A while back, I wrote an article that talked about how much class and excellence Cash carries herself with in times of hardship and adversity. She had battled through incredibly painful injuries and had recently won MVP of the 2009 WNBA All-Star game.
Here is a short quote from Cash that appeared in the article:
“Playing so many years with injuries, basketball almost loses a bit of that fun you feel while playing. I knew that with hard work and time I could get back there one day. This past season I really got back to having fun and playing loose. Once that came back I knew I was able to re-establish myself and get that competitive edge back.”
That was in 2009. If 2010 was any indication, it looks like Cash is having fun on the basketball court again…and we’re definitely having fun watching her.