The Seattle Storm aren't practicing today after winning both games of a back-to-back so I can't interview Lauren Jackson about her 16th Player of the Week award, but that's ok -- I imagine the response would be something similar to her response to her record tying Player of the Month Award for May.
It's nice...I guess.
(That's paraphrased to communicate both tone and body language)
I've mentioned previously that the Storm had been shooting right around 50% in the three games prior to last night's blowout of the Phoenix Mercury and it only continued last night with the team shooting 54.2% against the Mercury (through the three quarters that mattered). And certainly, Jackson contributed to that shooting 50% over in the games counted for this award (Mercury, the Atlanta Dream, and Los Angeles Sparks).
While the press release describes her gaudy standing relative to league leaders across multiple statistical categories, the most impressive thing about Jackson is still her versatility and the fact that she has the ability to contribute in different ways depending on the situation.
Of course, her season-high 32 points against the Dream was just an all-around dominant performance, accounting for 36% of the team's overall production. Against the Sparks, she was less productive statistically, but her role as a defender cannot be dismissed anytime the team faces a player like Candace Parker and her nearly 37% defensive rebounding percentage in that game was very impressive. In last night's game, although she was not the "statistical MVP" through the three quarters that mattered, she was still valuable in other ways -- in three quarters, she had a game-high 4 offensive rebounds (22% offensive rebounding percentage) and went 6-6 from the line for a free throw rate of 75%.
Oh yeah, she was also 8-12 from the three point line this week.
In other words, Jackson is not a dominant player due to her reliance on one attribute or even one positionally constrained set of attributes -- she's the type of player who can rise to the occasion and help the team in almost every significant manner on the court. Jackson's performance this season in many ways epitomizes what makes WNBA basketball fun to watch and think about as a basketball fan -- across the board, skills are less positionally bound in the WNBA than most basketball fans are used to and one-dimensional or unskilled but physically dominant players have a hard time finding a place in the league's rotations. It's fitting then that Jackson would be the one holding the record for Player of the Week awards.
All in all, it makes Storm coach Brian Agler's comment last Thursday about Jackson's Player of the Month award seem far more measured than exaggerated: "You know, I don't know who else they would have given it to."