Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson has been named the 2022 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced. This is the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Wilson, who becomes the first player in Aces franchise history to earn the honor.
Wilson received 20 votes from a national panel of 56 sportswriters and broadcasters. Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas finished in second place with 14 votes and Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart was third with 13 votes. Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was fourth with four votes. Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and Connecticut center-forward Jonquel Jones received two votes each and Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray earned one vote.
In her fifth WNBA season, Wilson led the league in blocks (1.9 bpg), ranked second in defensive rebounds per game (career-high 7.6) and was 12th in steals (1.4 spg). Wilson grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times. She also recorded seven games with at least four blocks and six games with at least three steals.
Behind Wilson, the Aces ranked first in the WNBA in defensive rebounds per game (28.4 ) and defensive rebound percentage (74.5) and fifth in steals (7.7 spg). The 6-4 Wilson also helped Las Vegas hold opponents to 31.8 points per game in the paint, the third fewest in the league.
Wilson ranked fifth in the WNBA in scoring (19.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.4 rpg) in 36 games this season. The four-time WNBA All-Star shot 50.1 percent from the field and led the league in double-doubles (17).
With Wilson leading the way, the Aces (26-10) posted the most wins in franchise history and earned the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google. The Aces continue their pursuit of their first WNBA Championship when they host the Storm in Game 2 of the Semifinals on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Storm leads 1-0. The series, which features a WNBA postseason record seven No. 1 overall draft picks in the starting lineups for both teams, is a rematch of the 2020 WNBA Finals presented by YouTube TV, won by Seattle.
Wilson, the 2020 Kia WNBA MVP, finished with the most fan votes for the 2022 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game and guided Team Wilson to a 134-112 win at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena on July 10.
In honor of being named the 2022 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Wilson will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
Below are the voting results for the 2022 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and a list of past recipients.