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WNBA All-Star 2022: The Mystics won’t have any starters for the game because Elena Delle Donne did poorly in the media and player vote

Not all hope is lost, since Elena Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins could still be selected as reserves. But even then, I wouldn’t be that optimistic on Delle Donne’s chances in particular.

Indiana Fever v Washington Mystics
The Washington Mystics will not have any All-Star starters this year.
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the WNBA announced the ten starters for the 2022 All-Star Game. No Washington Mystics players were selected. Here are the starters:

Backcourt starters

  1. Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces
  2. Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces
  3. Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty
  4. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm

Frontcourt starters

  1. A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces
  2. Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
  3. Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx
  4. Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks
  5. Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun
  6. Candace Parker, Chicago Sky

Like the last several years, WNBA All-Star starter voting is weighted with 50 percent coming from the fans, 25 percent from selected media and 25 percent from players. If there are ties in weighted scores, the fan vote takes priority. This has been done to avoid situations when an All-Star starter is a reserve-caliber player (ex. - Shoni Schimmel in 2014 and 2015 though she was the All-Star Game MVP in 2014) or a player who hasn’t played many games at all. Previously, the starters were entirely determined by fan votes.

Basically, the WNBA doesn’t want to see this kind of a ballot. The same goes for the NBA for their All-Star Game in the winter.

Alright, did any Mystics players rank in the Top 10 for the backcourt or frontcourt?

No Mystics guards finished in the Top 10 in combined All-Star Game voting. Elena Delle Donne finished eighth place in combined frontcourt voting, after a three-way tiebreaker between two Mystics alumnae: Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles and Chicago Sky forward Emma Meesseman. Delle Donne finished first in the tiebreaker because she was fourth in fan voting (and fifth overall). That said, she finished 12th in the media vote and ..... TWENTIETH in the player vote. OUCH!

Moving onto the others, Charles finished ninth place in fan voting, and 11th place for both the media and player vote among frontcourt players. Meesseman, who’s still a Mystics fan favorite, finished 11th in the fan vote among frontcourt players but finished ninth among the media and the players.

So let’s get back to EDD. How could she be so popular among the fans like you, me and others throughout the league? But how could the media and players also effectively punish her since the Mystics are also clearly in the playoff pack?

Why would Delle Donne do poorly in the media and player vote? It’s probably her lack of availability.

Delle Donne averages 15.3 points, 5.7 points and 2.1 assists per game. All good numbers. But she has only played 12 out of 20 games, or 60 percent, including last night’s Seattle game which happened after All-Star Game voting ended. The six players who are all starters have played at least 70 percent of theirs in games through today, with Fowles being on the lower end, due to a knee injury she suffered in early June.

Since Fowles is on the lower end of availability among the starters, she also beats Delle Donne out in this respect: Consistent availability. Before her knee injury, Fowles was consistently playing in each game for Minnesota and averaged a double-double. Delle Donne on the other hand has missed close to every other game.

While I’m not happy with the media and player vote, I’m sure that availability contributed to the outcome we saw and understand if that’s why her rankings were all over the place

Aren’t you missing the fact that Delle Donne’s unavailability is by design?

I get the Mystics’ rationale for not playing Delle Donne very game even if she feels healthy. First and foremost, Delle Donne must be healthy, period. And the Mystics are trying to keep her load under control for the playoffs. The All-Star Game isn’t the be-all, end-all goal of this season. Winning the Finals is.

In the fan vote, the fans simply want to vote for their favorite players regardless of the circumstances in many cases. I will readily admit that voted a straight Mystics ticket most days and hope you did too!

The media and the player vote, however, would ideally put more emphasis on who the best frontcourt players and backcourt players are and should be more objective than general fans. In a league that is very frontcourt star-heavy, things like player availability will become a factor as to whether someone would get a vote or not. Unfortunately for Delle Donne, that may have been where she lost votes.

Will Delle Donne and/or Atkins be an All-Star reserve?

The reserves for the All-Star Game will be announced next week. Delle Donne could be a reserve after the coaches’ vote, but if she was 20th among the players, I’m not sure if she will be a lock because she missed many games. In fact, it seems probable that the coaches will vote for Meesseman and Charles over Delle Donne given how the media and player vote went.

As for other Mystics players, it’s possible that Atkins will get in because she is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, though her game hasn’t translated into fan votes (she was 38th overall, and 18th among guards in fan voting). Natasha Cloud finished 15th among guards and 31st overall in fan voting after averaging 10.3 points and 7.4 assists per game this season and could make it as a reserve too.

Should the All-Star starters go back to just the fan vote?

In my opinion, yes! I don’t want the media or the players voting in a game that is for the F-A-N-S! After all, the coaches get to vote on the reserves, and that helps even things out.

How do you feel about the All-Star voting results? Let us know in the comments below.