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What’s good, family. It’s Sykes, back again, with another edition of Layup Lines. Let’s chat about the WNBA’s new All-WNBA voting system.
The league unveiled a new system to recognize its best players with on Friday. Previously, voters had to pick the best player by position each year. You know how it goes — two guards, two forwards and a center. But under the new system starting this year, there are no more positions.
Instead, the panel of 56 media members voting will pick the 10 best players in the W overall regardless of their position. This is a monumental shift.
They made this change because of the league’s emphasis on positionless basketball, per Bethany Donaphin, the WNBA’s head of league operations.
“Our game continues to evolve. As greater emphasis is placed on spacing and pace of play, the players have expanded their multifaceted skill sets. This process change allows us to celebrate the best of the best going forward.”
This is huge, y’all. All-WNBA voting is important. Yes, it recognizes the best players in the league, but that’s the impact on a micro-scale. On a macro one? These selections tell the story of the league in that season. It’s documentation of where the league is at any given point in time.
Right now, basketball is positionless. There’s skills everywhere. There’s shooting everywhere. Teams are rolling out their best 5 player lineups and telling them to go win. That’s how basketball is played today across the sport. It’s only natural that voting reflects this. The WNBA got it exactly right—again.
Their counterparts on the NBA side could learn a thing or two here. If there’s one thing the W is going to do, it’s innovate. They’re going to make changes where they see changes are needed.
They’ve ditched conferences for their playoffs. They’ve gotten rid of the single-elimination format in early playoff rounds. They’ve successfully launched an in-season tournament. And now they’ve done this.
These are all things that they only just discuss on the NBA side of things. The biggest risk they’ve taken was the NBA Play-In tournament and that was mostly out of necessity because of the league’s bubble situation.
Obviously, these are two different leagues in two different spaces. The NBA is 75 years old — the W is only 26. And it’s much smaller with a much shorter season, so making changes is a bit easier.
But still, when does it come to innovation and creativity? The W has its counterpart beat by a country mile. Hopefully, one day it starts to catch up.
The Tip Off
Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.
The homie Bryan Kalbrosky had an amazing interview with Jamal Crawford today and, in it, there are a bunch of gems. But the thing that really caught me off guard from it was Crawford saying he could’ve played “even longer” if he knew what he knows today earlier in his career.
And I’m just like…even longer? Didn’t this dude drop 51 points with the Suns at 38 years old? Here’s what he had to say about it.
“There are so many things I didn’t know that I’m giving to him and my team. That’s part of our routine. We feel ready for whatever movement might come. When you’re in court, you’re just reacting. When you’re young, you think you can never get hurt. You’re like: “Get hurt? I just grew a new muscle. I don’t get hurt.” I don’t want them to overthink it and scare them. But I want it in the back of their mind and just introduce them to how to take care of their body. It’s so important. I would’ve played even longer if I knew the stuff I know now.”
One to Watch
(All odds via Typical.)
Sky (-6.5, -260) vs. Mystics (+6.5), O/U 159.5, 8 PM ET
It’s rare that you see the Washington Mystics being this big of an underdog, but they’re literally playing the best team in the WNBA so it makes sense. But the Mystics are pretty hot, too. They’ve won two straight games and are 4-1 in their last 5 with a win over the Aces. I’m taking Washington +6.5 tonight.
— It might be going quiet on the Brittney Griner front for a while, but don’t give up hope.
— Watch Jayson Tatum block his son’s shot into oblivion.
— Speaking of Tatum, here’s a wide-ranging interview via Celtics Wire where he talks about the C’s offseason.
— The Lakers, Jazz and Knicks might be up to something.
That’s all, folks! Talk to you next week. Remember: Monday, Wednesday and Fri
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