2021 WNBA Awards: Jonquel Jones wins MVP as Connecticut Sun clean up the honors

The 2021 WNBA regular season has come to a close, and on the court the focus has turned to the playoffs, which have reached the semifinal stage. Off the court, however, it is officially awards season. As always, the league recognizes the season’s top performers with a series of major awards. 

So far, the headliner is Jonquel Jones, who was named MVP for the first time in her career. She led a trio of Sun players and coaches to take home major honors this season, as the team was rewarded for finishing with the best record in the league. Still to come are Rookie of the Year, Sixth Woman of the Year and the All-WNBA selections.

As the announcements continue, here’s a rundown of all the award winners this season:

MVP: Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun

As expected, Jones was named MVP for the first time in her career. After sitting out of the bubble, she was spectacular in her return to play this season, putting up a career-high 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. She finished fourth in scoring, led the league in rebounding and was one of just two players to average a double-double. Thanks in large part to her, the Sun finished with the best record in the league at 26-6. Jones is now the first player in WNBA history to win all three of Most Improved Player, Sixth Woman of the Year and MVP. 

Defensive Player of the Year: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx were eliminated from playoff contention already, but it was through no fault of Fowles, who was named Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in her career. She joins Tamika Catchings as the only players in WNBA history to win the honor at least four times. Fowles averaged a career-high 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, both of which were good for second in the league. She was also the anchor of a stout Lynx defense that finished fourth in defensive rating, allowing just 98 points per 100 possessions. 

Most Improved Player: Brionna Jones, Connecticut Sun

Jones made a name for herself with some strong play in the bubble last season, and then came back this summer even better. The result was the first major honor of her career, as she won Most Improved Player. Retaining her spot in the starting lineup due to Alyssa Thomas’ injury, Jones went for 14.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, all of which were career-best numbers. Jones was also an important part of the Sun’s elite defense and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team. 

Coach of the Year: Curt Miller, Connecticut Sun

The Sun cleaned up the honors this season both on and off the court. Curt Miller was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. He is just the sixth coach to win the award multiple times. Under Miller’s guidance, the Sun finished with the best record in the league at 26-6 and set a new franchise record for wins in the process. They also closed the season on a franchise-record 14-game winning streak. 

All-Defensive First Team

Brittney Sykes

Los Angeles Sparks

Briann January

Connecticut Sun

Jonquel Jones

Connecticut Sun

Brianna Turner

Phoenix Mercury

Sylvia Fowles

Minnesota Lynx

All-Defensive Second Team

Jasmine Thomas

Connecticut Sun

Ariel Atkins

Washington Mystics

Breanna Stewart

Seattle Storm

Brionna Jones

Connecticut Sun

Brittney Griner

Phoenix Mercury

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