Congratulations to the Indiana Fever’s Aliyah Boston, the unanimous winner of the 2023 KIA WNBA Rookie of the Year award.
In addition to earning all 60 Rookie of the Year votes, Boston headlines the 2023 WNBA All-Rookie Team, with the Minnesota Lynx’s Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász, Seattle Storm’s Jordan Horston and Washington Mystics’ Li Meng rounding out the rookie squad honorees.
Boston’s debut season in the W was fabulous, as she was historically efficient—not just for a rookie but for a player of any experience level—as she scored 14.5 points per game on a league-leading 57.8 field goal percentage. She also added 8.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. As a unanimous winner, her name now sits alongside those of Candace Parker (2008), Tina Charles (2010), Elena Delle Donne (2013) and A’ja Wilson (2018). She also joins Tamika Catchings as the second Rookie of the Year in Fever franchise history.
"This is truly just the beginning."— Indiana Fever (@IndianaFever) October 2, 2023
the GOAT & 2002 Rookie of the Year Tamika Catchings passes the torch and congratulates Aliyah Boston on winning 2023 @WNBA Rookie of the Year. pic.twitter.com/1UqKiLLsAx
The unanimously brilliant Aliyah Boston
Browse WNBA Twitter/X after an Indiana Fever game during the 2023 season and the timeline likely was to be filled with posts about Boston, citing how her latest performance again placed her in the rarest of WNBA company, if not elevated her above her predecessors. She inscribed her name beside those of Catchings, Parker, Wilson, Stewart, Jackson, Taurasi, Griner and Ogwumike. (Much appreciation to the essential Across The Timeline for historically contextualizing Boston’s accumulation of statistical accomplishments.)
WNBA rookies to finish a game with at least— Across the Timeline (@WBBTimeline) June 18, 2023
65% shooting from the field,
5 REB, and
Candace Parker (July 9, 2008)
Breanna Stewart (June 16, 2016)
A'ja Wilson (Aug. 17, 2018)
Aliyah Boston (today)
No one has done it earlier in their career than Boston (game 11). pic.twitter.com/7K9sUQLIA7
After an exceptional career at South Carolina, almost everyone agreed that Boston, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, was going to be good. But, that she was this good this soon was a pleasant surprise.
Her impact on the offensive end was a particularly satisfying development. No longer facing the double (and triple and sometimes quadruple) teams she frequently saw at South Carolina, Boston quickly settled in as an offensive threat in the W. She showed off her already-refined footwork to score efficiently from the block, effectively evading and absorbing the physicality of interior defenders. Boston’s rebounding instincts and intelligence also translated instantly at the professional level, ranking in the top 10 in rebounds per game and top five in total rebounds. Likewise, her 2.6 “stocks” (steals + blocks) per game indicated her precocious defensive abilities.
An underrated aspect of Boston’s rookie year success, as well as a(nother) promising sign for her future, was her durability. Coming off a long collegiate season, Boston played in every game of the first 40-game season in WNBA history and finished in the top 15 in total minutes played.
Furthermore, Boston’s positive impact goes beyond her on-court production. She gives the Fever a franchise fulcrum, providing forward momentum for an organization that has been adrift and irrelevant since the retirement of Catchings after the 2016 season. In short, her rookie-year honors—three-time Rookie of the Month, All-Star starter and Rookie of the Year—represent just the start of the trophy case Boston is bound to fill with individual and team accomplishments in Indiana.