Indiana Fever forward Aaliyah Boston won the WNBA Rookie of the Year award unanimously, the league announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know:
Boston averaged 14.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 40 contests. She also shot a league-high 57.8 percent from the field, becoming the first rookie in the WNBA to lead the division. She is the second Fever player to win Rookie of the Year, joining the retired Tamika Catchings. Boston had the No. 1 pick in the 2023 WNBA draft. She is the third player from South Carolina to receive the ROY honor, following Las Vegas Aces forward Aja Wilson and Atlanta Dream keeper Alisha Gray.
@aa_boston @kia had one of the most historic rookie seasons in #WNBA history to earn ROTY honors:
➡️ 14.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.2 APG➡️ WNBA-high 57.8 FG%➡️ Led all starters in points, rebounds and blocks
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 2, 2023
A quick analysis of the athletics:
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Not only was Boston the league’s best rookie in 2023, she was one of the WNBA’s best players this season. She had the highest field-goal percentage among players who attempted at least five shots in the league. Boston finished 10th in points per game and 10th in rebounding and seventh in overall margin of victory.
The Fever center also had one of the best rookie seasons in league history. She became the fifth unanimous Rookie of the Year, joining the company of Wilson, Candace Parker, Tina Charles and Elena Delle Donne. Boston posted the highest field-goal percentage of a rookie who attempted at least five shots in each game. Her efficiency already places her among the all-time greats, and she should be a franchise centerpiece in Indiana for years to come. – Merchant
With Boston as the center, where does the Fever go from here?
The Fever made significant strides last season, largely due to Boston’s impact. Their win total has risen from five wins to 13 in 2022, and their points tally has improved by more than eight points per 100 possessions. Heading into his second season, Boston and Fever coach Christy Seeds appear poised to be a playoff contender.
Guard Kelsey Mitchell will look to make her second straight All-Star team and Nalisa Smith, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 WNBA draft, should continue to build on her 15.5-point, 9.2-rebound averages. How Indiana improves on the wing will go a long way in determining the ceiling. Maybe that means signing proven perimeter players like Rebecca Allen, Diamond DeShields or Aerial Powers in free agency, or general manager Lynn Dunn making a big trade in the offseason. – Pickman
During the 2021-22 season, Boston led the South Carolina Gamecocks to a national title, averaging 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game.
In a dominant year, Boston’s 6-foot-5 forward started every game for the Fever, who went 13-27 in the 2023 season.
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(Photo: Ron Hoskins / NBAE via Getty Images)