Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson has been named the 2023 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today. This is the second WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Wilson, who also earned the honor last season.
Wilson received 32 votes from a national panel of 60 sportswriters and broadcasters. For the second consecutive year, Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas finished in second place (24 votes). Washington Mystics guard Brittney Sykes was third (three votes), and New York Liberty guard-forward Betnijah Laney received one vote.
In her sixth WNBA season, Wilson led the league with a career-high 2.23 blocks per game, ranked third in defensive rebounds per game (7.5) and was 10th in steals per game (1.40). Wilson grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times. She also recorded nine games with at least four blocks and 10 games with at least three steals.
Behind Wilson, Las Vegas (34-6) set a WNBA single-season record for victories and earned the No. 1 seed in the 2023 WNBA Playoffs presented by Google. The Aces have since advanced to the WNBA Semifinals and will host Game 1 of their Semifinals series against the Dallas Wings on Sunday, Sept. 24 (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2).
The 6-4 Wilson helped Las Vegas lead the league in defensive rating (97.7), blocks (4.78 bpg) and defensive rebound percentage (73.3) and rank second in fewest points allowed (80.3 ppg) and opponent field goal percentage (42.6).
Wilson ranked third in the WNBA in scoring (22.8 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.5 rpg), recording career highs in each category. The five-time WNBA All-Star also shot a career-best 55.7 percent from the field, the third-highest mark in the league.
Wilson, the 2020 and 2022 Kia WNBA MVP, finished with the most fan votes for the AT&T WNBA All-Star Game for the second consecutive year. She led Team Wilson against Team Stewart in the All-Star Game on July 15 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
In honor of being named the 2023 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Wilson will receive $5,150 and a trophy designed to commemorate the achievement.
Below are the voting results for the 2023 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award:
Wilson was also selected to this season's All-Defensive First Team, the WNBA announced today.