The New York Liberty, coached by former Detroit Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer, are fresh off of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance last season. Currently, they are 2-3 through the first five games of the season, but one veteran on the team is enjoying the best season of her career so far. Tina Charles, the six year pro, has her highest averages in rebounds, points, assists, and steals per game so far this season.
Yes, this is a small sample size so far, but Tina Charles has been showing signs of being able to sustain this kind of production. Charles is the third highest in the league right now in terms of usage, and the Liberty are going to continue to lean on her, especially as the season rolls on. She’s currently playing 36.2 minutes per game, and in comparison, the reigning MVP, Elena Delle Donne, is averaging 33.4.
Going beyond just the absurd amount of time that she’s playing currently, she’s also putting up a smooth 52.5 true shooting percentage while grabbing 17.3 percent of all rebound chances so far. On top of that, her player impact estimate is the highest in the league. She’s been passing the eye test as well the advanced stats test, and that just means that she could give Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne, and Candace Parker a run for their money when it comes time to vote for the MVP.
Charles was just voted Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the first month of the season, and she hasn’t been slowing down at all. She put up 23 points against the defending champs, and she put up 29 against the Atlanta Dream who are currently first place in the East. Charles is sure to come out against the Indiana Fever in an ECF rematch tonight and put up yet another double-double.
The regular season leader right now in points and rebounds, and the fourth place league leader in steals is Tina Charles. If that doesn’t spell early MVP candidate, then I’m not sure what else does.