Navigating a New All-Star Format

The WNBA has announced this week a change to its All-Star format, very similar to that which the NBA did last year with co-captains Lebron James and Steph Curry. For the 2018 WNBA All-Star battle in Minneapolis on Saturday, July 28, WNBA All-Star participants will be selected by fans, with top vote-getters selected as captains.

The primary difference from what was done in the NBA is that NBA selections and captains were made by their respective Eastern or Western Conference. In the 12-team WNBA, no conference affiliations will be regarded. The top 22 vote-getters (as selected by fans, media and coaches) will make the squad. The top two vote-getters will be captains. Those captains will confer with head coaches – coaches of teams with the two best records after games of Friday, July 13 – to determine starters and reserves.

So, now it’s time for Fever fans to get out the vote! While the Fever are not near the top of the standings currently, individual players might not gain the national attention as in some past years. Local voting online and in the arena will be vital to the hopes of any Fever stars being selected.

Six-time All-Star Candice Dupree is always a presumed All-Star candidate, currently averaging 14.0 points and 7.7 rebounds. Star rookie Kelsey Mitchell with 18.3 points and a league-leading average of nearly 3.3 3-pointers per game is another top candidate. Indiana’s third All-Star candidate is point guard Erica Wheeler, whose 4.8 assists are currently sixth in the WNBA and ahead of last year’s franchise-record average.

With the game being played in Minnesota and given the Finals matchups with Lynx vs. Sparks the past few seasons, it’s understandable that there will be a heavy dose of Western Conference stars — adding Mercury stars Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner to the cast of stars from Minny and L.A.

Las Vegas rookie A’ja Wilson, the league’s leading rookie scorer currently with 21.0 points per game, will certainly draw consideration; as will New York’s Tina Charles, a former MVP who leads the W with 23.8 points per game.

Teams — or even conferences, for that matter — are not guaranteed any All-Star players. It’s up to the fans, who may vote for 10 players on each ballot, to put their favorite players into the game.

On Tuesday, July 17, the pool of 22 All-Stars will be announced. In the following days the captains will draft their respective teams from the remaining 20 All-Stars to form two 11-player rosters. All-Star rosters will be revealed Thursday, July 19.