Elena Delle Donne has picked up where she left off

When Elena Delle Donne filed the Washington Mystics case on May 6, she was First appearance in the inaugural season Since 2018. I played the best player only twice in Three total games in the previous two seasonsbut resumed in 2022 exactly where it left off before back injury Derailed her career – and that makes a huge difference to mystics.

After two consecutive years he finished with a losing record, Washington over 0.500 Once again, he started the season with a 7-3 record and tied with Connecticut for the second best winning percentage in the WNBA, Trailing only Las Vegas. Delle Donne averages a team’s highest level of 17.9 points per game (Eighth in the league Until June 1, it has arrived Scored a double and got at least five rebounds On each of her seven flights this season, Similar to how I started in 2019Washington’s best season in franchise history – With six such rounds.

The team manages Delle Donne’s burden as she adjusts to being on the field, missing three games to rest. But she’s finding her shape again — and fast.

“My cat seemed to have nerves on it,” She said after scoring 21 points in this opening match against Indiana. “I was struggling a bit to get the flow and confidence in my legs. So I guess I might call that a bit nerve-wracking, or it’s been a while. But I was able to play my way in. The game kind of comes to you. This is a fun and exploratory season for me after I’m back there. “.

Dele Donne is the only player in WNBA history Record 50/40/90 shooting splits over an entire seasonas it did in 2019. But this season, it’s on its way Lowest score of 3 points in seven years by 37.1 percent in a career-high of 5.0 attempts per game. Instead, she thrived on gazes close to the basket.

More than 38 percent of its points She comes off the paint this season, a mark that will be her highest in her nine seasons in the league. She is the second among the Sufis in drawing points And the Earned errors Despite losing three games. In fact, in this year’s season opener, Daily Don 14 points of paint She achieved her second best mark in a single match in 117 matches with Washington.

Delle Donne has been honest about re-learning what it takes to resemble her heyday.

“What this new body I’ve made can do,” She said in May. “I’ve spent many hours, especially on these legs. There are times when it’s more like jumping and rising than I’m used to on the ground and it messes up the timing, sometimes. Just trying to figure out what it feels like to have a base and be able to move from the bottom.”

This work has paid off. Late last month, Dele Donne became the 40th player in WNBA history Up to 4000 job pointsand reached a milestone in the Mystics’ 20-point win over the Atlanta Dream. , finished with 15 points in 7 for 13 total shots, six rebounds and three high blocks of the season.

The Mystics outperform their opponents by more than 13 points per 100 holdings when Dele Donne has been on the field this season; they Net evaluation almost three times When you play versus when you sit. But of course she doesn’t do it alone. In particular, her chemistry with fifth-year guard Ariel Atkins was key to the Mystics’ hot start.

Atkins Developed to All-Star while Delle Donne was out in 2021He scored career-highs in average points (16.2 points per game), 3 total throws (66), free-throw attempts (118) and usage rate (25.0 percent). This season, Atkins has raised her scoring average to 16.4 points per game and 17.0 points in the three games the Daily Dawn has missed. And when Delle Donne and Atkins share the field together, Washington outlasts their opponents 20 points for every 100 possessions.

Delle Donne also got a lot of help from the other playmakers on the team. The keeper who does it all, Natasha Cloud is working towards making the best of his career 7.0 passes per match, who tied for second place in the league, to relieve the pressure on Dele Dawn to create a dribble. Mystics as a team are tied for the second time In the league in every game assists.

With the help of her teammates, Delle Donne has brought Washington back to the top of the WNBA standings. She doesn’t take anything for granted — and neither does her coach.

“She loves being here,” Mike Tebow said About the return of the Daily Dawn to court. “You can see it — she’s laughing and smiling. It feels good doing what she loves most. It’s been taken away from her for a while, and part of that — I mean, she’ll tell you, there’s an appreciation to be able to do that again and an appreciation for what it went through to get back into this.”

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