In a tough season like this all you can hope for are small shimmers in the light. A silver lining if you will. Despite not playing much this season Diana Taurasi became that silver lining for the Mercury at the 2012 ESPY Awards.
It has been an eventful year for the Mercury star as a member of the Team USA Basketball team that will be competing in the Summer Olympics in July and August. Before she can ship out to London she had some business to take care of in Los Angeles at the CA Nokia Theatre.
The 2012 ESPY Award award for "Best WNBA Player" went to the Mightiest of the Mighty Mercury, Diana Taurasi.
Taurasi was on deck for the award that she has claimed each of the previous two years with Tamika Catchings, Seimone Augustus, Angel McCoughtry, and Tina Charles. Sure the Lynx led by Augustus won the WNBA Title over McCoughtry and the Dream; neither were the league’s best individual player.
Last year Taurasi led the league in scoring vaulting the Mercury into the Western Conference Finals. They fell short as a team, but no one can question Taurasi’s individual greatness. In 2011 she capped off her fifth season in the WNBA averaging 20+ PPG 3+ APG and 3+ RPG, which is not a common accomplishment. Only Cappie Pondexter (2008 & 2010) and McCoughtry (2010) have done that since 2006. Yeah, not an easy season to have where you are a dominant scorer AND do everything else on the court nearly winning a Championship.
The case is starting to be made for Taurasi as the best women basketball player of all-time. I am not trying to get ahead of myself, but the debate is being made for her with her accomplishments. She is a three time "Best Player in the WNBA," at the ESPY’s, a two time "Best Female College Athlete," a onetime "Best Female Athlete," a three time NCAA Champion (two time Tournament MVP), a five time WNBA All-Star, a former WNBA MVP (2009), and a two time WNBA Champion (2007 & 2009).
Look at the All-Time WNBA lists and Taurasi is already the 6th leading scorer of all time (5,444), 2nd in points per game (20.7), 11th in total assists (1,053), and 4th in three-pointers made (667) with plenty of years to come.
Sure, Tina Thompson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, Lauren Jackson, Sheryl Swoops, and Tamika Catchings all have displayed longevity and dominance in their own right, but an argument can be made for Taurasi who has played in fewer seasons and at an absolute elite level from the jump.
This season was a throwaway one for Taurasi and the Mercury who, when at full power are one few teams that are WNBA Championship material. This award is the silver lining in an otherwise tough season, but you have to find the positive in all situations, this, for Taurasi and the Mercury is just that.