Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WNBA GMs: L.A. to win it all

Here's a copy of the press release about the league's annual GM poll, which predicted the Los Angeles Sparks will win the WNBA title, Lisa Leslie will win MVP honors and teammate Candace Parker will take home the Rookie of the Year award. You can see all the results below, but the Sun got nods in two categories: Mike Thibault will be the Coach of the Year award while Lindsay Whalen was slated to be the "best at making her teammates better." (Uh, you mean she'll lead the league in assists?)

Full release:

NEW YORK (May 13) -- WNBA general managers predict the Los Angeles Sparks to win their third WNBA title in franchise history during the 2008 season. Sparks center Lisa Leslie will win her league record fourth MVP, while teammate and first pick of the WNBA Draft Candace Parker will earn Rookie of the Year honors, according to respondents of the Sixth Annual WNBA.com GM Survey.

The Sparks received 42 percent of the GMs’ votes to win the WNBA Finals. The Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm finished tied for second with 17 percent of the votes.

Leslie received 36 percent of the GMs’ votes to win the 2008 MVP award. Other MVP candidates included the Storm’s Lauren Jackson (27 percent), who finished second, while the San Antonio Silver Stars’ Becky Hammon and Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (18 percent) finished tied for third.

Parker garnered 75 percent of the votes to win Rookie of the Year this season while the Chicago Sky’s Sylvia Fowles received the remaining 25 percent. Despite finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting, Fowles was voted as the rookie most likely to develop into the best player in five years with 67 percent of the votes. Parker finished second with 25 percent.

The WNBA.com GM Survey also revealed that last season’s MVP, Jackson garnered 54 percent of the votes as the best power forward in the WNBA while her Storm teammate Sue Bird earned 42 percent of votes as best point guard. The Sparks’ Leslie was voted the best center in the WNBA with 75 percent of the votes while 33 percent of GMs believe that the Mercury’s Taurasi is the best small forward. The Detroit Shock’s Deanna Nolan received 42 percent of votes as the WNBA’s best shooting guard.

Additionally, Jackson received 92 percent of the votes for the being best international player in the WNBA.

Additional results of the WNBA.com GM Survey include:
(1) Detroit Shock: winning the Eastern Conference.
(2) Mike Thibault, Connecticut Sun: best head coach (50 percent)
(3) Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever: winning Defensive Player of the Year (32 percent)
(4) Phoenix Mercury: most fun team to watch in 2008 (42 percent)
(5) Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock: most athletic player (67 percent)
(6) Shanna Crossley, San Antonio Silver Stars: best pure shooter (25 percent)
(7) Katie Douglas, Indiana Fever: acquisition that will make biggest impact (29 percent)
(8) Lindsay Whalen, Connecticut Sun best at making her teammates better (27 percent)

Also: The league announced it entered into a new marketing promotion with McDonald's which will put the McDonald's logo on the front of every WNBA jersey for "Tip-Off games" -- every team's home opener and nationally televised games on ABC (May 17 and 24) and ESPN2 (May 20).

McDonald's is hoping to promote it's new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Sandwich.

I'm not necessarily crazy about the idea of putting logos on jerseys, especially ones for a sandwich that probably won't be around in a few months, but this is pretty significant. Every so often you hear rumblings of pro teams in the U.S. following the lead of the professional soccer teams around the world (which cover their jerseys with advertisements) and NASCAR (ditto, with their cars). But at least on a national stage, this is one of the first here in this country (outside, of course, the McDonald's All-American game).

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