The WNBA announced on Thursday that Brionna Jones of the Connecticut Sun has been named the 2022 Sixth Player of the Year.
B. Jones received 53 of 56 votes, making the race tied for the biggest blowout in WNBA awards voted on by media this year of ones that have been announced. Rhyne Howard received 53 votes for Rookie of the Year. There have been no unanimous decisions yet, which is surprising as B. Jones was expected to win unanimously. Instead, Azurá Stevens of the Chicago Sky received two votes and Myisha Hines-Allen of the Washington Mystics received one vote.
B. Jones won Most Improved Player last year because she turned herself into a first-time All-Star. She was selected to the All-Star Game again this year while playing in all 36 games but starting just seven. She averaged 13.8 points (20th in the league), 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 offensive rebounds (second), 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.4 blocks while shooting 56.9 percent from the field (fourth) and 84.4 percent from the free throw line (16th).
B. Jones comes off the bench because the Sun have 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones start at her position (center) and have 2022 MVP candidate Alyssa Thomas start at power forward, while 6-foot-4 DeWanna Bonner acts as a very tall option at starting small forward. B. Jones started in 2020 when J. Jones opted out and in 2021 when Thomas missed most of the season with a torn Achilles. When Thomas returned for three regular-season games and four playoff games, she came off the bench because of the chemistry the Sun’s 2021 starters had established. However, this year, with J. Jones, Thomas and Bonner all available for the whole season B. Jones became a star who came off the bench.
B. Jones is capable of being an even bigger star when she’s in the starting lineup. Last year, in 32 starts and 30.6 minutes per game she averaged 14.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks. This year she played only 25.1 minutes per game.