Fourteen games was all it took for Candace Parker to prove she is among the best in all of women's basketball, if not the best.
After sitting out the first half of the 2015 WNBA season due to resting her body, Parker came back with a vengeance. Let's take a look at the numbers so we can justify this statement:
LA SPARKS BEFORE PARKER: 3-13
LA SPARKS AFTER PARKER: 11-7
SEASON AVERAGES: 19.4 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists (career high), 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks
Let's really take a look at this. Parker only played 18 games, and if she had played in six more games (the minimum qualification to qualify for league leaders is 24 games), she would've been first in rebounds, first in assists, fourth in scoring, fifth in blocks and tied for fifth in steals. That would've sealed her case for Most Valuable Player alone.
Yet, USA Basketball has decided that she is not worthy of being among the 12 finalists for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic roster. As you can imagine, the social media world has voiced their response, and altogether there has been one collective question:
I was surprised & disappointed to be left off the 2016 USA Olympic Team. But I wish all the members of the team GOODLUCK in Rio. #Gold— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) April 26, 2016
Seeing that the final roster won't be announced until Wednesday, we don't know who the finalists are. However, it doesn't take a smart basketball fan to bet that there will be some fresh new faces on the roster. The question you have to ask is whether Geno Auriemma is putting out the best roster possible if Parker is not there.
Parker has been a part of the last two USA teams that have won gold in 2008 and 2012, averaging 7.8 rebounds in the latter (fourth amongst the 12-team field, first on Team USA). She also averaged 12.3 points, and 9 rebounds a game on the most recent tour of Europe last October, as the team went 4-0.
If she is putting up numbers like that in such a small stretch, and has proven to be among the best IN THE WORLD, then there isn't any question: she should be on the team.
By leaving Parker off the United States women's basketball team, they are making a statement that she is not even among the 12 best players in America...a statement that most certainly can't be proven true.