Even though she may not be an all-star this year, Diana Taurasi is still a household name. I mean, how couldn’t she be? She’s been lighting up the league ever since the Phoenix Mercury drafted her as the first overall pick in the 2004 WNBA draft. Career averages of 19.3 PPG and 4.3 APG over 18 seasons are good enough to make her the WNBA’s all-time points leader and fifth when it comes to assists. But, these stats aren’t enough to label the 6’0 guard as the greatest of all-time, so below I’ll make the case for her GOAT status with three reasons.
What separates Taurasi from other WNBA greats is her consistency, particularly on offense. Yes, she averages 19.3 PPG for her career, but the fact that she’s done it over almost two decades is what makes it so incredible. Her consistent and elite scoring output has allowed her to reach scoring milestones faster than anyone in the history of the league. Take Tina Thompson and Tamika Catchings for example. They’re the No. 2 and No. 3 all-time points leaders and are the only players, besides Taurasi, who have membership in the 7,000 Point Club. It took Thompson 496 career games and Catchings 457 career games to hit the 7K mark. For Taurasi, it only took 377 games. That’s absurd! Taurasi needed 119 fewer games than Thompson and 80 fewer than Catchings to reach the same milestone. The former UConn standout is unmatched.
Having individual achievements is always great. Who wouldn’t want to be the WNBA’s all-time leader in points, scoring titles, three-pointers, and All-WNBA First Team selections? Still, these aren’t enough to justify someone as being the GOAT. You have to have some team bling, and Taurasi certainly does. She has three WNBA titles (2007, 2009, 2014), but don’t assume her team’s have only been successful in the WNBA. She has also won three NCAA championships (2002-2004), seven Russian Premier League titles (2007, 2008, 2013-2017), one Turkish Super League title (2011) and FIVE Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2021). My goodness that’s a lot of hardware.
It’s one thing for fans to say Diana Taurasi is the greatest in history, but it’s another when players she has shared the court with say it. When asked who the GOAT is before a game last season, Sue Bird said, “there’s no question in my mind who it is,” before going on to reveal Taurasi as her pick. That’s high praise from the league’s all-time assists leader, and someone who’s been playing in the WNBA since 2002. It’s fair to admit Bird may be somewhat biased, as she and Taurasi were teammates at UConn, but that means Bird knows Taurasi’s game almost as well as anyone. She’s had plenty of time to evaluate the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader’s play. Taurasi is special.