Sky’s Kahleah Copper figures to be lock for WNBA All-Star reserve

“I definitely feel like I deserve it,” Copper said. “But, we’ll see how it plays out.”

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The Sky’s Kahleah Copper takes a shot against the Sparks on Wednesday.

The Sky’s Kahleah Copper takes a shot against the Sparks on Wednesday.

Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images.

There are All-Star snubs every year.

When the WNBA announced the starters for the game this season in Las Vegas, a few prominent names were absent, Sun forward Alyssa Thomas among them.

Kahleah Copper was also absent from the pool of 10 starters, but there’s no serious complaint coming from her.

“I think the starters that are there are definitely deserving,” Copper said. “They’ve had incredible seasons, so no hate from here ever.”

When asked about her expectation for being named an All-Star reserve, Copper was a little less coy.

“I definitely feel like I deserve it,” she said. “But we’ll see how it plays out.”

Copper is scoring a career-high 16.6 points per game. While her two-point field-goal percentage has taken a hit this season, her three-point shooting percentage has increased from 35.6% in 2022 to 40.4% in 2023.

Against the Sparks on Wednesday, Copper shot 2-for-3 from three-point range.

The WNBA’s All-Star starters include six frontcourt players and four guards, as voted on by a pool of media members, fans and players. It’s hard to argue that Copper should replace any starting backcourt players, three of whom are among the league’s top six scorers. The other, Chelsea Gray, is third in assists per game in the league with 6.6 while averaging 14.4 points, shooting 51.4% from the field.

But Copper is among the players who are arguably locks to make the list of 12 reserves selected by the league’s head coaches. Joining her on that list is Thomas, who has more than demonstrated she belongs with the starters.

Thomas is averaging a double-double with 14.6 points and a league-leading 10.4 rebounds per game. She’s also second in the league in assists per game with eight.

The league will announce reserves July 1; coaches can’t vote for their players.

Joining Copper and Thomas is Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell, who, despite never receiving an All-Star nod, has played like one consistently over the last three seasons. Two other apparent locks to be reserves are Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and Liberty guard Courtney Vandersloot.

Collier is averaging 21.8 points per game. Vandersloot once again leads the league in assists with 8.6 per game.

Elizabeth at the rim

Elizabeth Williams has been a defensive anchor for the Sky.

Offensively, her efficiency at the rim has dipped. Entering the Sky’s win over the Sparks, she was shooting 53.6% at the rim, the second-lowest percentage of her career.

The Sky’s guards haven’t had an issue getting Williams her touches. Converting on the looks she’s getting will require a slightly different mentality, according to Sky coach/general manager James Wade.

“One of our coaches is working with her every day on finishing off two feet, using those strong shoulders to create space and understand people don’t want to play against that physicality,” Wade said. “When she sees a lane, she wants to get there like a running back. She probably needs to be less of a running back and more of a fullback.”

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