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Aces players, coach dominate WNBA preseason survey

WNBA general managers agree the back-to-back champion Aces remain scary this season.

The league released the results of its 19th general manager survey Tuesday ahead of its 28th opening night. Executives of all 12 WNBA teams were asked to answer 45 questions anonymously without voting for members of their own teams.

Aces star forward A’ja Wilson, coach Becky Hammon and point guard Chelsea Gray dominated most prompts.

Gray reigned supreme in six categories. She claimed the most votes for best point guard (75 percent), best passer (67 percent), active player who would make the best coach (42 percent), player with the highest basketball IQ (36 percent) and best leader (25 percent).

Gray, a five-time All Star, and Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale tied for first as the player GMs would most want to take the shot with the game on the line (25 percent).

Wilson, a two-time MVP, received the most votes (67 percent) to win the award again this year. She was also a favorite to win the award last season. Instead, she finished third overall behind New York’s Breanna Stewart and Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas. Hammon was incensed by the result. Wilson used it as motivation to lead Las Vegas to its second-consecutive title and win the 2023 Finals MVP award.

Wilson also received the most votes for the WNBA’s best center (42 percent), the best overall defensive player (42 percent) and best interior defender (58 percent). She also finished tied for second for best power forward (17 percent).

One prompt read, “If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the WNBA, who would it be?” Wilson earned 42 percent of the vote. But a survey-high 50 percent of the general managers selected Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark, who was also voted by 92 percent of executives as the favorite to win rookie of the year.

Clark also overwhelmed results as the projected face of the league in five years (82 percent). Wilson and Southern California star JuJu Watkins tied for second place with 9 percent of votes.

Hammon, who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last year for her contributions as a player and coach, was regarded as the best manager/motivator of people (45 percent) in Tuesday’s survey. She was also voted as the overall best head coach (42 percent) and the coach that runs the best offense (75 percent).

As a team, Las Vegas was overwhelmingly favored as “most fun to watch” (75 percent), overall best defensive team in the WNBA (42 percent) and best home-court advantage (42 percent).

The Aces open their season with four consecutive home games starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the Phoenix Mercury.

Contact Callie Lawson-Freeman at clawsonfreeman@reviewjournal.com. Follow @CallieJLaw on X.

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