Tuesday, January 6, 2009
There is a rumor - which has not been verified - that Candace Parker is pregnant.
Granted, when you look for computer translations for proof - "Kendis Parker widely publicized Uralic public, did not arrive in Yekaterinburg. This became known at the end of the year, when the player announced that it intends to acquire a child" - you're never 100 percent sure. Maybe Candace intends to buy a child.
If Candace is a no-show for 2009, not only does this mean substantially less dunking in the WNBA, it also means that the Sparks have some big problems. It was Candace and Leslie that kept this team above water; without Candace Lisa Leslie will have to perform a solo act. (Now, Leslie will know what it feels like when one of your key players leaves a team due to pregnancy - Leslie skipped all of 2007 for that very reason.)
So without Candace, who is in the front running for an MVP in 2009?
1. Diana Taurasi: She's got to be the front runner. She'll be a young 26 years old at the end of the season. She and Cappie Pondexter carried the Mercury on their backs last year. She has a great personality and even appeals to those people who don't like the WNBA in a way that no other WNBA player does.
Add to that the fact that she's never won one. The MVP might end up staying in the west yet again.
2. Lindsey Whalen: She'll also hit 26 years old and she should be even better than she was last year. Then again, she's not the world's greatest quote (Taurasi) and she doesn't have the body of a superstar model (Parker, Leslie, Jackson). With the MVP picked for intangibles as much as it's picked for on-court performance, Whalen would have to have a superlative year to make it. But she's probably the hope for an Eastern MVP.
3. Sophia Young: A great player from a marquee team. However, Young has one big problem. She's not Becky Hammon. Becky will always draw the attention, make the quotes, and have the monster fanbase. Which will lead on toe ask, "How can a player be the MVP when her teammate is getting all the glory?"
4, Deanna Nolan: If there's a player with personality, it's definitely Tweety. She can put on the kind of flashy show that fans like to see, Detroit is a team with definite dynasty aspirations, and she's definitely got personality. But is it the personality that the image-conscious WNBA wants? There might be resistance in giving the MVP to a "Bad Girl", one with all those tattoos. If you're looking for the sweet Becky-Hammon-girl-next-door type, look elsewhere - the problem is maybe the voters will, too.
5. Jia Perkins/Sylvia Fowles: When Big Syl got hurt in 2008, Jia picked up the slack. When they are both healthy, the Sky become a lot more formidable. But if the Sky finish fifth - or worse - would it doom any hope of an MVP for either of the two?