Chelsea Gray delivers Aces to promised land

Published September 25, 2022, 2:00 PMPolo Bustamante

Gray cemented her status as the league’s premier point guard after leading the Aces in the Finals.

The term “Point God” is thrown around too casually nowadays. A weekend warrior that dishes out a couple of dimes can get called that. A rec league player that happens to average the most assists can suddenly be tagged with that nickname. There’s a version of Point Gods in various high school, college, and pro leagues.

It’s sacrilege.

Point Gods are players that should have achieved incredible success while playing the league’s most difficult position. The way they take ownership of their teams should be undeniable. Their control of the game should be unmatched by anyone else.

There are only a few players that deserve the title of Point God. Chelsea Gray is one of them. Here’s why:

Midrange mastery

The midrange is the most crowded spot on the floor. It’s easy to operate when a player is out in the perimeter or has the defense cleared out on the block. To get to a spot in the midrange, players have to call for a pick, which essentially invites an additional defender to occupy the same space. That doesn’t even include the defensive focus one draws as they initiate the action.

Gray has been dissecting defenses, extracting the best possible possession for her team ever since she took on the starting point guard position of the LA Sparks back in 2017. She’s never in a rush and she’s always in control. Gray uses bursts of speed and a little bit of veteran craftiness to get in the best position to make a play.

Check out how she roasts the Connecticut Sun defense in this clip. It didn’t matter who was on her. Put a bigger player on her and she’s shifty enough to get free. Assign a smaller, faster defender to check her and she’ll just body her up and shoot over her.

Because of how dangerous she is, defenses need to always be aware of her when she has the ball. That often leads to defensive breakdowns, which Gray can spot and capitalize on. 

Count how many defenders are focused on Gray in this highlight. Because she’s got the attention of multiple defenders, Jackie Young was wide open on the right corner.

The Aces are a deep team with young weapons in every position. What they needed to win their first championship was someone with experience to put it all together. This season, that player was Gray.

All-around leadership

In Game 2 of the Finals, Gray had to leave the game due to an ankle issue. When she left, the Aces were still up and in the middle of building a double-digit lead. She could have called it a day, rested her ankle, and made sure she was healthy for Game 3. But Gray knew that minutes before she left, Connecticut was threatening to tie the game.

That’s why she checked back into the game even if Las Vegas had already built a double-digit lead.

That was a message to everyone on the team. It was winning time for the Aces. There shouldn’t be any let-up. Whether they’re down 10 or up 10, they should continue to play hard, play through pain, play until the final buzzer.

Coming back into the game after her injury was more impactful than any bucket or dime she could have made after that moment. Of course, Gray still made a big play after she returned. It’s only fitting that she was the one to put the nail in the coffin with this tremendous shot.

Feel for the moment

There are so many facets to a player’s game that could showcase their basketball IQ. Court vision, knowledge of angles, communication skills, and even defensive adjustments are all ways to judge a player’s intelligence on the court.

Gray showcased her basketball IQ in the playoffs by understanding the moment she was needed by her team. In a team like the Aces, she didn’t need to assert herself at all times. A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young are all capable of producing for the team. But, just like a superhero, when the Aces needed her the most, she answered the call.

Gray already elevated her game once the playoffs started. That in itself was an indication of her understanding that the team needed a better version of her in the postseason. But, after the Aces lost to the Seattle Storm in Game 1 of the semifinals, Gray found another gear. In Games 3 and 4, she played incredibly, putting Las Vegas on her shoulders and carrying them to the Finals. 

Gray averaged 30 points and 11 assists in those two games. Beyond the ridiculous numbers, she came up clutch when it mattered most. She made big play after big play to eliminate the Storm. Just watch all the crazy shots she was hitting in Game 4.


Very few players have that kind of feel for the moment. And even fewer have the guts to take ownership of the moment like Gray did. 

Gray will never dominate the regular season in the same way Wilson or Breanna Stewart can. But when it’s winning time, good luck trying to hold her back. In a team with the MVP and the league’s leading scorer, Gray made sure to make a name for herself. She was clearly the team’s MVP in the postseason and the Finals.

While there may be other Point Gods in different leagues, Gray has proven with this postseason that there’s only one Point Gawd.