1. Liz Cambage
With the announcement of the All Star reserves yesterday, it is interesting to contemplate which players who have not been All Stars before and were overlooked this year are most likely to be honored in years to come.
2011 Average: 13.6 PPG/ 5.3 RPG/ 0.4 APG
Cambage has unfortunately been saddled to the languishing Tulsa Shock this season and was overlooked for the Western Conference team despite the fact that her height would undoubtedly help to defend the dynamic Eastern duo of Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles. Cambage is still very young and as she and Tulsa improve, she should eventually become a mainstay at the WNBA All Star Game.
2. Kristi Toliver
2011 Average: 12.9 PPG/ 2.4 RPG/ 3.8 APG
Toliver is stuck on the struggling, Candace Parker-less Sparks this season and also happens to play for a Conference littered with excellent point guards (Sue Bird, Lindsay Whalen and Becky Hammon). The Sparks are at the beginning of a transitional period as Parker's future remains blurry and veterans Ticha Penichiero and Tina Thompson seem to be being phased out. Toliver has been their best player this season, which suggests she will play a large role in the Sparks future.
3. Jessica Davenport
2011 Average: 12.3 PPG/ 4.9 RPG/ 0.6 APG
Davenport was burned this year by the inclusion of Chicago Sky rookie Courtney Vandersloot, as well as the fact that she happens to play Center in a conference with the two best centers in the league (Charles and Fowles). However, Davenport seems destined to be an integral part of the Indiana Fever team for years to come, which will likely lead to All Star appearances.
4. Matee Ajavon
2011 Average: 15.5 PPG/ 2.0 RPG/ 3.3 APG
Yet another player who missed a nomination not because of lack of production but because of her team's poor performance. The Mystics also seem headed for transition, as Alana Beard's future remains uncertain. If Beard is unable to make a comeback, Ajavon seems more than likely to take over the role of Mystic's premiere guard, which could definitely lead to All Star appearances.
5. Ivory Latta
2011 Average: 14.6 PPG/ 2.1 RPG/ 3.2 APG
Latta has been the best player for the struggling Shock this season. As they continue to rack up high draft picks, they will improve (evidence of this can be seen in Atlanta and Chicago) and if Latta continues to be a primary factor in the team's success, she could very well reap the benefits.
6. Kia Vaughn
2011 Average: 11.9 PPG/ 7.4 RPG/ 1.1 APG
Vaughn has a similar problem as Davenport: She is an excellent young center who seems destined to play a large role in the future of her team (especially with Janel McCarville's future with the Liberty uncertain). However, unless things change, Charles and Fowles are going to be hard to upstage. Still, if there's ever a need for three centers on the East, Vaughn seems like a good bet.
7. Jantel Lavender
2011 Average: 6.6 PPG/ 2.8 RPG/ 0.2 APG
Lavender hasn't been widely discussed as a top rookie this season and her team has certainly struggled. However, in the past few weeks Lavender has had some big games for the Sparks (ex: her 14 point/ 7 rebound effort this past Monday). Lavender seems destined to improve and seems likely to be a factor for the Sparks, along with Tolliver and possibly Parker moving forward. Fortunately for Lavender, she has the opposite situation of Vaughn and Davenport.
This season the West had no centers named to the All Star Team so there is definitely an opening. This could change when Lauren Jackson and Candace Parker (who are both counted as Centers) return but Lavender still seems like a good bet.
What are your picks for future All Stars?