Last week, I hinted that Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne was probably on the outside looking in for a WNBA All-Star reserve spot. Though she was fourth place in fan voting for frontcourt players, the media and player votes kept her out of the Top-6. Yesterday, all my fears were realized when Delle Donne was left off the reserve list. Only Ariel Atkins made it.
While I’m disappointed that Delle Donne didn’t make the list, I’m just as disappointed that Natasha Cloud didn’t make it either. She is averaging a career-high 11.0 points and 7.3 assists per game on a team that is on track to make the WNBA playoffs with room to spare. She is also the league assists leader, ahead of Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot, who regularly led in that category before this season.
Last night, she led the Mystics to a win over the Atlanta Dream, scoring 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting and dishing 3 assists. After the game, Cloud mentioned that she was “pissed off” in a postgame interview.
Natasha Cloud after 18 points on 6-7 shooting on ESPN: "I was a little bit pissed off today, I'm an All-Star."— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) June 29, 2022
Louder for the coaches in the back, @T_Cloud4
In additional postgame availability, Neil Dalal of Hoop District spoke to Cloud, who was still unhappy about being snubbed.
Natasha Cloud on All-Star snub— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) June 29, 2022
“People don’t respect that I impact a full stat sheet. I play both ends of the floor, have to prepare for me on D, have to prepare for me on O regardless of if I’m scoring or not because I facilitate.”
On hot shooting: “I wanted to prove a point.” https://t.co/ing9rfaoH1 pic.twitter.com/iVFariZsWB
So who are the “people” Cloud is talking about? It’s probably the team coaches who vote for All-Star reserves. Coaches cannot vote for players on their team, so Mike Thibault can’t vote for Cloud or Delle Donne or anyone else on Washington’s roster.
The Mystics have been an above-average team this season whether Delle Donne was playing or not. One of the major reasons why is because their starting backcourt of Atkins and Cloud held the fort. It’s one thing to not be named an All-Star starter. But when the coaches of other teams also don’t vote a player in despite a career-best season, that’s going to hurt even more. Perhaps Cloud’s and Delle Donne’s All-Star snubs could be one of those key moments to inspire Washington toward a very deep playoff run in the weeks ahead.