After losing 2020 No. 4 pick Chennedy Carter to a forced trade, the Dream needed their No. 1 pick, Rhyne Howard, to show flashes of brilliance to feel good about where their team stands. So far, the 6’2 wing hasn’t shown flashes of brilliance, she’s just been brilliant the entire damn time she’s been on the court.
It took all of one game for us to see how smoothly Howard’s talents translated to the next level, and a quick peek at the stat sheet to understand her level of confidence. In her debut, she fired 12 three-point shots. That’s more than the Aces averaged as a team last season. And it’s not just about the shots she’s taking, it’s about the ones she’s making.
On Sunday, Howard lit up the Fever for 33 points on 9-of-18 shooting. That’s the most points scored in a game so far this WNBA season, and she hit shots from just about anywhere including the three-point line (3 makes), fading in the mid-range, and at the bucket. She got to the free throw line 17 (!) times, and made 12 of them.
What Howard is doing to start her career is historic. She’s just the seventh W player to rack up 30+ points in one of her first four games ever. Her stats (albeit early) are All-Star caliber, as she’s averaging 20.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists, and her efforts were rewarded as she was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week in — and I can’t stress this enough — her first week playing pro ball. The last person to accomplish that was Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings in 2002.
There’s no ceiling to what Howard can accomplish this season and beyond, but even in the short-term, she’s turning heads. Without the team’s (now maybe) best scorer, Tiffany Hayes, who’s fulfilling overseas commitments, the Dream are 3-1, with wins over two playoff hopefuls in the Sparks and Wings. That’s a big deal for a team that won just eight games total last year!
Watch Howard play next tonight against the Fever at 7 p.m. ET on Facebook.