2018 WNBA GM Survey

The WNBA released its 16th annual GM preseason survey results. The full survey ranges from predictions about postseason results and player awards to more general questions about the league’s players and coaches. The full results can be found here. I’m going to dive in to some of the major results, and, in particular, how the predictions have played out throughout the years.

Note: The initial version of this post was referencing incorrect data for the 2013 WNBA GM Survey results. The post now reflects the corrected data. Additionally, the initial version only included data from 2008 and onward; data from 2003 – 2007 is now included.

Finals Champions

In this year’s survey, 33% of GMs picked the Los Angeles Sparks as champions, while 25% selected the Minnesota Lynx to repeat. In all of the surveys, the GMs picked correctly just two times, each time when predicting the Lynx (2015, 2017). But, they also picked the Lynx in 2012 and 2014 when the Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury took home the championship, respectively. The GMs have selected a Finals winner that missed the Finals entirely in 9 of the 16 seasons surveyed (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016). Interestingly, the GMs have never favored an Eastern Conference team to win the Finals since 2008 and only twice before then, but perhaps that’s just a safe bet, as only Indiana and Detroit (now the Dallas Wings) have won a championship for the East since 2008. Prior to 2008, the GMs predicted Detroit to win it all in 2004 when Seattle got their first championship, and they tied between Detroit and Indiana in 2007 when Phoenix won their first championship.

YearPredicted Finals ChampionsActual Finals ChampionsRunner-up
2018Los Angeles Sparks??
2017Minnesota LynxMinnesota LynxLos Angeles Sparks
2016Phoenix MercuryLos Angeles SparksMinnesota Lynx
2015Minnesota LynxMinnesota LynxIndiana Fever
2014Minnesota LynxPhoenix MercuryChicago Sky
2013Phoenix MercuryMinnesota LynxAtlanta Dream
2012Minnesota LynxIndiana FeverMinnesota Lynx
2011Seattle StormMinnesota LynxAtlanta Dream
2010Phoenix MercurySeattle StormAtlanta Dream
2009Los Angeles SparksPhoenix MercuryIndiana Fever
2008Los Angeles SparksDetroit ShockSan Antonio Silver Stars
2007Detroit Shock / Indiana FeverPhoenix MercuryDetroit Shock
2006Connecticut Sun
Detroit Shock
Houston Comets
Sacramento Monarchs
Seattle Storm
Detroit ShockSacramento Monarchs
2005Los Angeles SparksSacramento MonarchsConnecticut Sun
2004Detroit ShockSeattle StormConnecticut Sun
2003Los Angeles SparksDetroit ShockLos Angeles Sparks

Regular Season Conference Champions

The Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks were predicted to get the most regular season wins in their respective conferences. The Sun received 75% of the votes in the East, and the Sparks received 50% of the vote in the West. This would be the first time for Connecticut since 2012 and the first time for Los Angeles since 2006.

Only last year was the prediction correct for both conferences, though there was a tie in the West in the predictions (Minnesota and Los Angeles). In the East, the prediction was correct five times (2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017), while the Western Conference prediction came to fruition three times (2012, 2015, and 2017), each time when the Minnesota Lynx were selected.

YearPredicted Eastern ChampionsActual Eastern ChampionsPredicted Western ChampionsActual Western Champions
2018Connecticut Sun?Los Angeles Sparks?
2017New York LibertyNew York LibertyMinnesota Lynx / Los Angeles SparksMinnesota Lynx
2016Indiana FeverNew York LibertyPhoenix MercuryMinnesota Lynx
2015Atlanta DreamNew York LibertyMinnesota LynxMinnesota Lynx
2014Atlanta DreamAtlanta DreamMinnesota LynxPhoenix Mercury
2013Indiana FeverChicago SkyPhoenix MercuryMinnesota Lynx
2012Indiana FeverConnecticut SunMinnesota LynxMinnesota Lynx
2011Atlanta Dream / Indiana FeverIndiana FeverSeattle StormMinnesota Lynx
2010Connecticut SunWashington MysticsPhoenix MercurySeattle Storm
2009Detroit ShockIndiana FeverLos Angeles SparksPhoenix Mercury
2008Detroit ShockDetroit ShockLos Angeles SparksSan Antonio Silver Stars
2007Detroit ShockDetroit ShockSacramento MonarchsPhoenix Mercury
2006Detroit ShockConnecticut SunSacramento MonarchsLos Angeles Sparks
2005Detroit ShockConnecticut SunLos Angeles SparksSacramento Monarchs
2004Detroit ShockConnecticut SunSacramento MonarchsLos Angeles Sparks
2003New York LibertyDetroit ShockHouston Comets / Sacramento MonarchsLos Angeles Sparks


Maya Moore is predicted to be the 2018 WNBA MVP, with 33% of the votes. Brittney Griner finished next with 17%. This would be Maya’s second MVP award, her first coming in 2014. The GM survey has only been an accurate predictor of this award once in the past 10 years, in 2013 when it went to Candace Parker.

Similar to the Minnesota Lynx for champions, Parker has been the prediction four out of the past 10 years. Moore, Elena Delle Donne, and Lisa Leslie each were predicted twice. Only Delle Donne has actually won the MVP award in that time span, though it came in 2015 when Moore was predicted. Moore finished second in voting that year. The next closest prediction came in 2012 when Parker and Seimone Augustus tied in preseason GM voting and Parker finished as runner-up in MVP voting.

In six of the surveys, the predicted MVP has been from the predicted champions:

  • 2015: Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
  • 2012: Seimone Augustus (tied with Parker), Minnesota Lynx
  • 2010: Diana Taurasi (tied with Parker), Phoenix Mercury
  • 2009: Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
  • 2008: Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
  • 2003: Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks

In reality, the MVP has been on the championship-winning team four of the past 16 seasons (2009, 2010, 2016, 2017) since the survey started.

YearPredicted MVPActual MVPRunner-up
2018Maya Moore??
2017Elena Delle DonneSylvia FowlesTina Charles
2016Elena Delle DonneNneka OgwumikeTina Charles
2015Maya MooreElena Delle DonneMaya Moore
2014Candace ParkerMaya MooreDiana Taurasi
2013Candace ParkerCandace ParkerMaya Moore
2012Seimone Augustus / Candace ParkerTina CharlesCandace Parker
2011Diana TaurasiTamika CatchingsTina Charles
2010Diana Taurasi / Candace ParkerLauren JacksonTamika Catchings
2009Lisa LeslieDiana TaurasiTamika Catchings
2008Lisa LeslieCandace ParkerLindsay Whalen
2007Diana TaurasiLauren JacksonBecky Hammon
2006Lauren JacksonLisa LeslieDiana Taurasi
2005Lauren JacksonSheryl SwoopesLauren Jackson
2004Lauren JacksonLisa LeslieLauren Jackson
2003Lisa LeslieLauren JacksonTamika Catchings

Defensive Player of the Year

Brittney Griner, with 33% of the GMs’ votes, is predicted to earn her third Defensive Player of the Year honor this season. She earned this award in back-to-back years (2015 and 2016) and has been predicted as the winner in each of the last four years. No prediction on Defensive Player of the Year could be found for 2003 and 2007. In nine of the prior 10 years, Tamika Catchings was nabbed as the award-winner by the GMs, tying with Lisa Leslie in 2009. The prediction has played out correctly in six of the surveys (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015).

YearPredicted Def. POTYActual Def. POTY
2018Brittney Griner?
2017Brittney GrinerAlana Beard
2016Brittney GrinerSylvia Fowles
2015Brittney GrinerBrittney Griner
2014Tamika CatchingsBrittney Griner
2013Tamika CatchingsSylvia Fowles
2012Tamika CatchingsTamika Catchings
2011Tamika CatchingsSylvia Fowles
2010Tamika CatchingsTamika Catchings
2009Tamika Catchings / Lisa LeslieTamika Catchings
2008Tamika CatchingsLisa Leslie
2007N/ALauren Jackson
2006Tamika CatchingsTamika Catchings
2005Tamika CatchingsTamika Catchings
2004Sheryl SwoopesLisa Leslie
2003N/ASheryl Swoopes

Rookie of the Year

The GMs predicted A’ja Wilson, the top pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, to earn Rookie of the Year honors. This category has been the most accurate from the survey results, though it is also the award with the least variety in how it has been chosen since 2008. The prediction has been correct in nine of the last 16 years.┬áIn 2009, the GM votes tied between Angel McCoughtry and Marissa Coleman, and McCoughtry eventually won the award. Last year was an exception (Allisha Gray in place of Kelsey Plum), along with:

  • 2014: Odyssey Sims predicted, Chiney Ogwumike won
  • 2013: Brittney Griner predicted, Elena Delle Donne won
  • 2005: Tan White predicted, Temeka Johnson won
  • 2003: LaToya Thomas predicted, Cheryl Ford won

Except for 2005, 2009 and 2014, the top pick from the WNBA Draft has been predicted to win, and except for 2003 (Cheryl Ford, #3), 2005 (Temeka Johnson, #6), 2007 (Armintie Price, #3), 2013 (Delle Donne, #2) and 2017 (Gray, #4), the top pick has been named Rookie of the Year. To put that in perspective, from 1998 to 2002, the top pick won the award only once (1999: Chamique Holdsclaw). The latest draft pick to win the award was Tracy Reid in 1998 (#7).

YearPredicted ROTY (Draft Pick)Actual ROTY (Draft Pick)
2018A'ja Wilson (1)?
2017Kelsey Plum (1)Allisha Gray (4)
2016Breanna Stewart (1)Breanna Stewart (1)
2015Jewell Loyd (1)Jewell Loyd (1)
2014Odyssey Sims (2)Chiney Ogwumike (1)
2013Brittney Griner (1)Elene Delle Donne (2)
2012Nneka Ogwumike (1)Nneka Ogwumike (1)
2011Maya Moore (1)Maya Moore (1)
2010Tina Charles (1)Tina Charles (1)
2009Marissa Coleman (2) / Angel McCoughtry (1)Angel McCoughtry (1)
2008Candace Parker (1)Candace Parker (1)
2007N/AArmintie Price (3)
2006Seimone Augustus (1)Seimone Augustus (1)
2005Tan White (2)Temeka Johnson (6)
2004Diana Taurasi (1)Diana Taurasi (1)
2003LaToya Thomas (1)Cheryl Ford (3)

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