The WNBA announced on Thursday that Atlanta Dream forward Betnijah Laney has been named the league’s Most Improved Player for the 2020 season. She received 25 of a possible 44 votes for the award, followed by Washington Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen, who received 21 votes. Las Vegas Aces guard/forward Angel McCoughtry received one vote.
Laney, who was signed by the Dream in late June after being waived by the Indiana Fever, has built a WNBA reputation as a hard-nosed, versatile perimeter defender — though it was her offense that took a leap in 2020. In 33.3 minutes per game in the 22-game season, Laney:
- Averaged a career-best 17.2 points per game after scoring no more than 5.6 in any previous season
- Scored the ball on a career-best 57.3 true shooting percentage
- Recorded a career-high 4.0 assists per game, assisting on 19.8 percent of her teammates’ baskets
- Shot a career-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range, making more threes (30) in 2020 than in all of her previous seasons combined
- Shot 82.7 percent from the free throw line, making more free throws (62) in 2020 than in all of her previous seasons combined, while going to the free throw line a career-high 5.0 times per 100 possessions
- Recorded her first four career double-doubles
- Pulled down a career-high 4.9 rebounds per game (1.1 offensive)
- Recorded a career-high 1.6 steals per game
The Dream are Laney’s fourth team in five WNBA seasons — she did not play in the WNBA in 2017 after being waived by the Chicago Sky — and her 2020 campaign should make her a highly-coveted asset in the upcoming free agency period. According to Her Hoop Stats’ Richard Cohen, Laney will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
As a reward for being named 2020’s Most Improved Player, Laney will receive $5,150, as well as a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.