As promotional campaigns go, the advertising in support of Breanna Stewart’s WNBA MVP candidacy is a slam dunk and the Storm marketing brain trust should win an award for their fun and creative effort. 

“All Hail the Queen” reads the barrage of tweets, emails, taglines and signage on various merchandises including a T-shirt and a full deck of all Queen playing cards adorned with Stewart in royal regalia. 

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most valuable of them all?”, the slogan reads.

Some of the items sent to voters for WNBA MVP are shown Friday, including the Storm’s ‘Queen’ campaign for Breanna Stewart. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

“With every campaign that we do, we try to come up with something that’s different and creative that someone else might do,” Storm vice president of marketing Kenny Dow said. “It was just fun. She’s had a great year since she came back from her injury and winning MVP in just about everything and of course a couple of championships along the way. It just kind of fit her year.” 

Dow credited the Storm’s marketing team comprised of senior digital media manager Seth Dahle, senior creative services manager Ryan Pavel and digital media & communications coordinator Hailey Robinson. 

“It’s something different,” Dahle said. “It’s something you don’t see every day. It’s interactive. The motion graphic was cool.” 

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Stewart isn’t likely to win the MVP this year – more on that later – but this “Queen” promotional could have legs. 

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, there’s been a lot WNBA-generated chatter this year about the league’s top-25 players and the greatest of all time. 

The 27-year Storm star was included on the WNBA’s “W25” squad and ranked No. 15 on a Seattle Times’ list of the league’s all-time greats

At her current pace, Queen Stewart will enter the GOAT conversations in about 10 years with a catchy nickname that accurately reflects an impressive resume loaded with records, championships and accolades. 

“Stewie is here to stay,” Dow said. “She’s not going anywhere and she’s the best women’s basketball player in the world. So yeah, we think this does have legs.” 

Now, here’s a look at my ballot and rationale for the WNBA end-of-season awards. 

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MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Jonquel Jones, Connecticut 

Comment: Years from now, Stewart might look back and say this was the year when she let one MVP get away. She averaged 20.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.8 blocks while Jones (19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks) put up similar numbers. Stewart sat out four games due to rest and injury while Jones missed five games while playing internationally. Connecticut (26-6) finished five games better than Seattle (21-11), which gives Jones the nod. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Curt Miller, Connecticut 

Comment: Few predicted the Sun would finish in the top 4 without All-Star Alyssa Thomas, who missed 30 games due to an Achilles injury. Connecticut also had a limited roster of just 10 players most of the season. Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve also deserves props for guiding the Lynx to a No. 3 seed after an 0-4 start. 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Michaela Onyenwere, New York 

Comment: Let’s face it, this was an awful rookie class in terms of immediate production. Onyenwere averaged just 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds while starting 29 games for a team that squeezed into the playoffs with the No. 8 seed.  

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota 

Comment: Connecticut is by far the best defensive team in the WNBA and this award could go to Jonquel Jones or 2-3 of her teammates. 

However, Fowles, who has won this award three times, is tied for first in steals (1.8), second in blocks (1.8) and third in defensive rebounds (8.0). 

Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum in action against the Seattle Storm during WNBA basketball game Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas 

Comment: The former Washington Huskies star, who missed the 2020 season due to an Achilles injury, averaged 8.6 points and 25.3 minutes while shooting 36.5% from the field in 2019. Once again, she’s averaging 25.3 minutes, but Plum is shooting 43.7% from the floor and averaging 14.8 points. 

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SIXTH WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas 

Comment: Plum started eight, 14 and 21 games in her first three seasons. She has not started this season, but has had a breakout year while notching career highs in points and steals. Plum also leads all WNBA bench players in scoring. 

ALL-WNBA  

FIRST TEAM  

G – Jewell Loyd, Seattle 

G – DeWanna Bonner, Connecticut 

F – Jonquel Jones, Connecticut  

F – Breanna Stewart, Seattle 

C – Brittney Griner, Phoenix 

SECOND TEAM  

G – Skylar Diggins-Smith, Phoenix 

G – Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas 

F – A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas 

F – Napheesa Collier, Minnesota 

C – Tina Charles, Washington 

Comment: This should be the year when Loyd, who garnered All-WNBA second-team recognition in 2016, earns All-WNBA first-team honors.  

ALL-WNBA DEFENSIVE 

FIRST TEAM 

G – Jewell Loyd, Seattle 

G – Brittney Sykes, Los Angeles 

F – Jonquel Jones, Connecticut 

F – Brionna Jones, Connecticut 

C – Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota  

SECOND TEAM 

G – Ariel Atkins, Washington  

G – Rebecca Allen, New York 

F – Breanna Stewart, Seattle 

F – A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas 

C – Brittney Griner, Phoenix 

Comment: Loyd doesn’t necessarily have the eye-catching numbers or analytical statistics to warrant a spot on the All-WNBA Defensive first team, but during the second half of the season she’s been one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. 

ROOKIE TEAM  

Michaela Onyenwere, New York
Aari McDonald, Atlanta
Charli Collier, Dallas
Dana Evans, Chicago
Didi Richards, New York

Comment: Have to wonder if anyone in the 2021 rookie class will earn an All-Star nomination.