The WNBA season is set to finally tip-off, for real, on television, for all of us to see, live and on our TVs, on May 19 and I could not be more excited. It's been 243 days since we last saw A'ja Wilson's Las Vegas Aces cut down the nets. We're thirsty as hell for WNBA hoops!
This will be the first edition of a weekly quick hit on who the best teams in the WNBA are. It's preseason so forgive me if anything turns out to be WAY off, but this year there should be a LOT of movement. Teams look brand new because, well, they are! Friday night will be our first look!
The offseason saw multiple MVPs leave home and load up on two teams. That leaves the middle and bottom of the table in search of how to replace their roles.
Anywho, here is what I have so far!
They won the whole damn thing last year. Now they add Candace Parker to the starting lineup. Until proven otherwise, they're the top team in the league.
Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot, Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney in the same lineup is wild. In any other year, they'd be the preseason No. 1. But we've entered the newest and maybe grandest WNBA super team era ever.
The biggest threat to the super teams is in D.C. Led by Elena Delle Donne, who claims she's fully healthy and won't be load managed, last year's assists leader Natasha Cloud, Olympic gold medalist Ariel Atkins and sophomore Shakira Austin, the Mystics have the pieces to compete with the best.
This Sun team will be nothing like the ones of the past. They've got a new head coach in Stephanie White, and won't have their MVP center Jonquel Jones or starting point guard Jasmine Thomas. However, Connecticut still has loads of talent, and there's a vision for the team to look a beat worse on paper but play a beat sharper in reality. New addition Tiffany Hayes should be a big reason why.
A lot of this ranking banks on last year's Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard taking another leap, but I have a feeling she will. She's one of the league's most impressive offensive players, and the Dream brought in a dream (ha!) backcourt pairing in Allisha Gray in the offseason.
This ranking felt like a safe middle ground for where the team could land. If Brittney Griner is back to playing the way we know she can, they have the potential to rise much higher. The same goes for Diana Taurasi, if she can stay healthy. The same goes for Skylar Diggins-Smith, if she plays this year. And so on.
If there's one ranking I want to be wrong about, it's this one. Minnesota is loaded with talent, but this will be the first year without MVP mainstay Sylvia Fowles. The franchise should be Napheesa Collier's going forward, and with Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers on the wings (and hopefully, No. 2 pick Diamond Miller contributing), the Lynx could finish in the top-4 and it wouldn't surprise me that much.
Please, Dallas Wings, show me an on-court identity. Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Teaira McCowan and Satou Sabally are a helluva group, but the pieces need to mesh. Diamond DeShields' early-season injury is already a bummer, but still, there's more than enough talent to make the playoffs. Falling short would be a big disappointment.
Isabelle Harrison's knee injury, which will reportedly keep her out long-term, stinks. This season was going to be difficult enough for the Sky without Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot or Allie Quigley. Still, Kahleah Copper will lead the Sky, and along with Courtney Williams and Marina Mabrey, Chicago should remain competitive.
No Sue Bird. No Breanna Stewart. This is a major soul-searching year for Seattle basketball, though the team made a commitment to not full-on tank by keeping All-Star Jewell Loyd. This ranking may change if Gabby Williams is able to make the roster and not fall victim to prioritization rules — but regardless, this is more of a year for development than anything else. For Ezi Magbegor — one of my biggest WNBA fantasy risers — especially.
I have them a little lower than most, and that's largely because I have a lot of questions about how new pieces will fit. New head coach Curt Miller is proven, as is his star player Nneka Ogwumike. But only three other players were on this roster a year ago. There's a lot to figure out and it may take time.
They're gonna start here but I'm not confident they'll finish here. Indiana has a face of the franchise now in Aliyah Boston, and a number of their high draft picks have shown promise. Kelsey Mitchell will be an All-Star, and NaLyssa Smith isn't far behind.