Some people might wonder why Seattle Storm playoff hero Sue Bird wasn't named to the All-WNBA First Team.
Of course, playoff heroics aren't factored into the award, but Bird did have an outstanding season as a point guard orchestrating the league's second most efficient offense to a WNBA record-tying 28 wins.
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A few people have asked why Bird is a first team player here. It's because she's has been so much better than any other point guard in the league this season that she is not just the best, but her value as a playmaker vaults her into the elite despite what her basic stats might tell you. What Bird brings to the court cannot really be appreciated without watching her play and comparing it to the Storm's performance when she's not on the floor. I am sometimes surprised by how much women's basketball fans underestimate the value of what players like Bird or Lindsay Whalen bring to the court, but their mastery of the nuances of the game is difficult to quantify. If you don't appreciate that nuance in Bird's game, then I would recommend watching more closely during the WNBA playoffs and challenging me on that.
What she's demonstrated with both her big shots recently and the fact that the team just looks better when she's on the floor -- she was sixth in the league in plus/minus ratings during the regular season -- is that she brings intangibles to the court that are difficult to measure.
An argument could certainly be made that if these teams are selected by position and Bird is the best point guard in the league on one of the best teams in history that thrives by running a rather methodical precision offense, she should have been selected to the First Team.
On the other hand, what "hurts" Bird in this regard is that the way she plays -- often switching between her functions as a distributor and scorer -- means that she doesn't quite put up the gaudy stats of players like Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, who puts up gaudy scoring numbers and had an oustanding season in her own right. Looking at overall statistics, Bird was in the top ten, but not ahead of other players who made the First Team.
Ultimately, Bird probably doesn't care that much anyway -- she's focused on winning a title -- but it's an interesting subject of debate.