Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud had a successful 2023 season individually. She averaged a career-high 12.7 points per game, appeared in 37 regular season games and was coming off an All-WNBA Defensive first team mention in the 2022 WNBA season.
However, that wasn’t enough for her to make the All-WNBA Defensive team this season, even though Brittney Sykes rightfully earned her spot.
Last Friday, head coach Eric Thibault went on X, a/k/a Twitter’s new name, to express his disappointment that she wasn’t on the team. Here is the thread.
Don’t usually weigh in on awards…but congrats to @BrittBundlez for a well-deserved 1st team all-D place. Just a destructive menace out there.— Eric Thibault (@ET_hoops) September 22, 2023
Now…about the @T_Cloud4 omission, which is hard to understand…
Removing positions for the All-Defense teams is mostly to blame. Stats are how people largely vote on/explain these awards, and that means steals, blocks, and rebounds. 2 of those 3 immediately skew towards bigs…— Eric Thibault (@ET_hoops) September 22, 2023
I don’t think we’re going to see many guards on All-D teams going forward unless they are at the top in steals, like Slim and Canada. Things like screen navigation, being able to switch onto bigs, forcing lower % jumpers…those aren’t as easily noticed or quantified…— Eric Thibault (@ET_hoops) September 22, 2023
All that to say, there aren’t 10 players better at the craft of playing defense than @T_Cloud4 and that to me is the spirit of the award. There’s no way she should go from 1st team to no team.— Eric Thibault (@ET_hoops) September 22, 2023
I agree with Thibault on this one. Cloud has become one of the best defensive guards in the WNBA over the pas several seasons sand guards’ contributions are not on the box score like post players. I also don’t think the defensive teams should be position less, partly for that same reason.
I am also happy to see that Thibault went to bat for Cloud. She is too.