GMs pick Mercury as favorites for WNBA title

NEW YORK (AP) — WNBA general managers are picking the Phoenix Mercury, with a healthy returning roster and the addition of No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner, to win the league title for the third time in their history.

In the annual GM survey released Tuesday, the Mercury were selected as the team likeliest to win it all this season, garnering 33 percent of the vote. Griner was also the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year, picked by 75 percent of the respondents.

The general managers selected Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks as the player most likely to earn the MVP award. Parker, the 2008 Rookie of the Year and MVP, received 42 percent of the MVP vote. Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, who won the award in 2009, was picked by 25 percent.

Taurasi also was voted the WNBA’s best shooting guard for the fifth straight season, receiving 50 percent of the vote. And in addition to her status as Rookie of the Year favorite, Griner was picked as the newcomer who will make the biggest impact (42 percent of votes) and tied with Tamika Catchings of the defending champion Indiana Fever as the player a team would pick first if starting a franchise today (25 percent each).

Fever coach Lin Dunn received the most votes for the best head coach (33 percent).

The Mercury open their season Monday at home against the Chicago Sky.