We’re about halfway through the 2018 WNBA regular season, so let’s take a look at which players have impressed (and distressed) so far this year.
2018 WNBA Most Improved Players
1. Natasha Howard, Seattle
2017: 11.7 MPG, 52.8 TS%, 2.4 RPG, 4.3 PPG
2018: 26.2 MPG, 64.8 TS%, 6.6 RPG, 13.6 PPG
The easy choice for Most Improved Player this season, Howard is taking full advantage of a new opportunity in Seattle. Howard went from playing just 11.7 minutes off the bench in Minnesota last season to starting at center for the Storm.
She’s extended her game to the three-point line, while shooting a staggering 64.8 true shooting percentage. With the expanded minutes, Howard is putting up career-highs in every category.
Adding Howard was perhaps the most underrated move the offseason, as the Storm effectively gave up just the No. 17 pick in the 2018 Draft in return.
2. Natalie Achonwa, Indiana
2017: 18.3 MPG, 59.7 TS%, 3.7 RPG, 7.1 PPG
2018: 24.5 MPG, 60.5 TS%, 7.2 RPG, 10.1 PPG
Achonwa has been Indiana’s most productive player as a full-time starter this season. Still just 25, Achonwa is young enough to be part of the Fever’s rebuild.
She’s rebounding the ball at a rate on par with the most efficient bigs in the league. And while she’s never been much of a shooter, Achonwa has stayed effective in the post and from the foul line.
2018 Most Disappointing Players
1. Jonquel Jones, Connecticut
2017: 28.5 MPG, 63.4 TS%, 11.9 RPG, 15.4 PPG
2018: 20.5 MPG, 58.7 TS%, 5.2 RPG, 8.6 PPG
Last season’s Most Improved Player, Jones has clearly regressed in 2018. She’s struggled to stay out of foul trouble and hasn’t rebounded the ball nearly as effectively.
Jones has struggled alongside Chiney Ogwumike. Forced to match up with DeWanna Bonner last night, Jones played only 13 minutes, scored 2 points, grabbed just 1 board and committed 3 fouls.
2. Layshia Clarendon, Atlanta
2017: 29.8 MPG, 45.4 TS%, 6.6 APG, 10.7 PPG
2018: 18.5 MPG, 44.2 TS%, 1.9 APG, 4.9 PPG
After being named an All-Star in 2017 and spending an offseason training with USA Basketball, Clarendon’s production has dropped off precipitously. Most alarming has been Clarendon’s shooting numbers—34.7 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from three.
With Tiffany Hayes, Renee Montgomery and Brittney Skyes all playing well, Clarendon will continue to find it difficult to get consistent minutes off the bench.