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|Lindsay Whalen's Lynx are hoping to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.|
It seems appropriate that a few days after one of the best point guards in women's basketball history was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, we would pick our top five at that position for this WNBA season.
Suffice it to say, Dawn Staley would praise this quintet because they've all been good on-court leaders for their teams in 2013. They have slightly different skill sets but similar mindsets: They want the responsibility of directing the offense.
Only one of our five is having much success from behind the arc this season, but four of the five are averaging in double figures in scoring. All of them, though, share a keen ability to be playmakers.
Incidentally, in this list, we did not include either Phoenix's Diana Taurasi (6.1 assists per game) or New York's Cappie Pondexter (4.0 APG), even though they essentially do play a lot of point guard. However, they were both on our top-five shooting guard list. It's an example of why it can be tough to label players. You could potentially call those two "super guards" for all that they do with both scoring and distribution.
That said, this group of five has been pretty super itself. Enough so that there were a few others -- such as Seattle's Temeka Johnson, subbing in very solidly this season for an injured Sue Bird -- who just missed the cut. -- Mechelle Voepel
She is not, however, scoring from behind the arc; Whalen is 0-for-8 from there in 2013. But that's not what the Lynx need from her. They ask her to aggressively figure out the best scoring option each trip down the court, including calling her own number. Her 5.9 assists per game tie a career best; that was also her average in Minnesota's championship season of 2011. Wisely, the Lynx just signed her to a contract extension. -- Mechelle Voepel
She came to Washington as a free agent after playing the previous three seasons in Tulsa. First-year Mystics coach Mike Thibault targeted signing Latta as one of his top priorities, and she has brought to D.C. everything he hoped she would with her offense, defense, leadership and energy. -- Mechelle Voepel
Like Whalen, Harding is not doing much from behind the arc, where she's 4-of-22. But that's OK, because in a three-guard rotation with Kristi Toliver and Alana Beard, Harding is playing nearly 31 minutes a game and assuming the floor-general role most of the time. Harding's postseason experience -- she'll be making her fifth straight playoff appearance, having gone twice with Washington and twice with Atlanta -- will benefit the Sparks as they attempt to make a title run. -- Michelle Smith
One of the quickest players in the league since she was drafted in 2011, she has honed her decision-making and worked on her patience. She has needed a lot of both those things this season, when the Silver Stars have been without veteran standouts Becky Hammon and Sophia Young. Robinson is not a 3-point threat -- she has yet to make a shot from behind the arc in her WNBA career (0-for-14) -- but she is terrific at pushing the pace and exhausting defenses. -- Mechelle Voepel
Sure, Vandersloot has plenty of great dishing options with Sylvia Fowles, Swin Cash, Epiphanny Prince and now the stellar Elena Delle Donne. But her individual improvement is clear as well. She's fourth in the league in assists (5.6 per game), her turnovers are down, and at 8.9 points per game, she has continued to be a reliable scorer. That includes a run of seven consecutive games in August where she scored in double figures. -- Michelle Smith