Ariel Atkins makes WNBA All-Defensive Team for third straight season


Make it three for three for Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins. That's how many times Atkins has been named to the WNBA's All-Defensive Second Team following the league's announcement of the 2020 All-Defensive Teams. 

Atkins received two-first team votes and five second-team votes of the possible 11 she could have received from the league's head coaches. That earned her 25 points, the seventh-most in the WNBA and third-most among the guards.

Since Atkins entered the league as the Mystics 2018 first-round draft pick, she has established herself as one of the best defenders in the league. She received the same Second Team honor in her rookie season and followed it up again last season as a starter on the WNBA Championship team. 

This season she averaged 1.8 steals per game, tied for the second-best in the WNBA behind Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas. It was the Texas alum's best statistical output on the defensive side in her three-year career. 

In particular, the 2020 season allowed Atkins to really grow her game beyond the three-and-d identity that was attached to her. Offensively it was also her best season yet with career-highs in points (14.8), rebounds (2.9), assists (2.4) and across the big three shooting statistics. 

Most notable was Atkins' increased voice, not only as an advocate but within the Mystics' organization as a leader. By season's end, she had the fourth-most experience in Washington's system with so many players missing the season due to opt-outs and injuries.

Joining her on the Second Team was Breanna Stewart (Storm), Napheese Collier (Lynx), Brittney Sykes (Sparks), and A'ja Wilson (Aces). Below are the full results. 


2020 WNBA All-Defensive First Team 

Guard, Alysha Clark (Storm) - 55 points

Guard, Betnijah Laney (Dream) - 47 points

Forward, Brianna Turner (Mercury) - 43 points

Forward, Alyssa Thomas (Sun) - 39 points

Center, Elizabeth Williams (Dream) - 23 points

2020 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team

Guard, Ariel Atkins (Mystics) - 25 points

Guard, Brittney Sykes (Sparks) - 24 points

Forward, Breanna Stewart (Storm) - 33 points

Forward, Napheese Collier (Lynx) - 24 points

Center, A'ja Wilson (Aces) - 21 points