We are in the midst of the most exciting NBA playoffs in recent years as we head to the Western and Eastern conference finals. Basketball doesn’t stop there, though. The new WNBA season is upon us, and you ain’t seen nothing yet. Let’s break it down.
- ATLANTA DREAM
Last season, the ATL were rolling with the twin scoring threats of Tiffany Hayes and Rhyne Howard. Perfectly balanced, like all things should be. Both averaged around a sweet sixteen points per game. Hayes now finds herself under a different Sun, but Howard is still leading the way. All as talents like Cheyenne Parker and Aari McDonald develop with her.
The Dream also caught Nia Coffey and Asia (AD) Durr for their full-court press. Drafting Stanford’s Haley Jones and Canadian Laeticia Amihere reaches even more potential for the future too. Losing the passion of Erica Wheeler hurts, but the A looks to ride until the wheels fall off. The Dream will not die.
- CHICAGO SKY
No longer the reigning WNBA champions, Chicago also lost hometown hero Candace Parker to the Las Vegas Aces. Don’t worry, the Sky runs through Kahleah Copper who is a bona fide superstar in the W. Just ask anyone she stares down. The addition of Courtney Williams will keep Chi-town on the rise like the elevated trains in town, but how about another Courtney?
Losing Courtney Vandersloot is a blow. What’s more, her sharp-shooting wife Allie Quigley is sitting out the season. She’ll be back, but when will the Sky? The forecast isn’t grey, but it’s not as great. Cloudy, with an outside chance of contention.
- CONNECTICUT SUN
The Sun aren’t surprising anyone after their Cinderella run to last year’s WNBA finals. They’re torching all in sight, mind you. Even if Courtney Williams is now in windier territories. The biggest loss resides with Jonquel Jones, but you can still keep up with Brionna Jones. She and DeWanna Bonner welcome the likes of Tiffany Hayes, Lauren Cox, Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Rebecca Allen to Connecticut.
Allen previously played for new WNBA favourites, the New York Liberty. That inside information which will help in a marquee match-up. If the concrete jungle wants to see the light of a championship campaign, first, they must see the Sun.
- INDIANA FEVER
The Indiana Fever are about to give the league a heat check. They just scored the number one draft pick. Aliyah Boston is one in a million, but Indiana will need more than her as Boston looks to become HER. That’s where Kelsey Mitchell and scoring pick-up Erica Wheeler come in. Not to mention fellow rookie Grace Berger.
With four rooks on the board, including Boston’s South Carolina co-star Victaria Saxton, and a slew of sophomores, Indiana are young like the cast of ‘Stranger Things’. Turn that all upside down, and Indy look as good as those Netflix alternate jerseys they rock. The Fever is spreading. Check your temperature.
- NEW YORK LIBERTY
The Liberty to win it all? The only thing more stacked than New York’s WNBA team is the statue they’re named after. Following the Knicks’ hard-nosed push through the playoffs, the New York Liberty look to continue carrying the torch of Big Apple basketball in a huge way. Not only did they score the biggest free agent of the off-season in Breanna Stewart, which put an end to Stewie’s reign in Seattle. They also snapped up Jonquel Jones, adding another of the league’s best players.
All this and Sabrina Ionescu may still be the very future of the W as a whole. If that wasn’t enough, the championship experience of Courtney Vandersloot and her former Chicago Sky teammate Han Xu join 3×3 gold medal winner Stefanie Dolson. Making dreams come true in this concrete jungle remade. This is an empire state of play.
- WASHINGTON MYSTICS
The Elena Delle Donne administration continues their campaign to be champions. They’ve got my vote. Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen all have star power. Sophomore Shakira Austin is set to be one. It would have been a good move to keep the skills of Japanese player Rui Machida around, but DC did draft China’s Li Meng and added a couple of old Sparks to their roster.
It’s great to see Amanda Zahui B. back in the league after being dealt an unfair hand. Whilst Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Kristi Toliver brings X and O knowledge. Yet, it’s the signing of defensive slim reaper Brittney Sykes that really excites. She should have won the Defensive Player of the Year trophy last season. Now Sylvia Fowles is retired, expect Sykes to rule the lane.
- DALLAS WINGS
A Maverick move for Kyrie Irving may have come up empty in Texas, but Dallas are no longer winging it when it comes to the WNBA. Arike Ogunbowale is the superstar that can take the Wings far. Expanding their reach, Crystal Dangerfield and Diamond DeShields just sound like stars. Or heroes from a TV show.
Tune into the addition of Natasha Howard joining Wings favourite Satou Sabally, but turn the volume up for the third pick about to make the world sick. Not to mention the fourth they traded up for in Stephanie Soares, primed to take off like her surname. Or Lou Lopez Sénéchal coming in fifth. The head of this trifecta, Maddy Siegrist, has the grit to grind on the perimeter now Allisha Gray and Marina Mabrey are gone. Soon it will be the “Dallas Wins.”
- LAS VEGAS ACES
There’s no justice for the Liberty when it comes to Sin City. Sure, New York, New York are so good because they snapped up a big WNBA name…TWICE, but the Aces were already that high. Coach of the Year, Becky Hammond who won it all in her first year on the sidelines. Regular season MVP A’ja Wilson. Finals Most Valuable Player Chelsea Gray.
Oh, and they just added the Point Gawd’s former teammate and WNBA icon Candace Parker. Still a star, who led her hometown Chicago to a championship the season before last. Touching the Sky like Kanye. Kiah Stokes, Riquna Williams, Jackie Young and of course former top pick, Kelsey Plum. Willing to bet your last dime on them? You’re in the perfect place to do so. Cigar check. No one else is coming close.
- LOS ANGELES SPARKS
The Sparks have had some nice teams since their last championship run. Alas, nothing has come to pass. So, like firing Fish, the Sparks keep blowing up their squad until they really light the fuse. Is this their year, like rookie Zia Cooke from Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks? The Ogwumike sister act (Nneka and Chiney) are still winning, and sharp-shooter Katie Lou Samuelson welcomed her own sibling back on the team before Karlie was cut.
The sisterhood of the Sparks runs through the entire roster. Jordin Canada is anything but cold and daughter of Dee, Lexie Brown has ups like her pops had hops. Adding Layshia Clarendon and Dearica Hamby is huge and inspiring off the floor. On the other hand, losing Chennedy Carter, Kristi Toliver, Amanda Zahui B. and DPOY candidate Brittney Sykes feels bigger. It didn’t work with Liz Cambage or Lauren Cox, but can this team make it so? Hey, they wrote off the Lakers and take a look at them now. Only in Hollywood.
- MINNESOTA LYNX
Saying goodbye to one of the game’s greatest is hard. There’s only one way to get over the huge presence of Sylvia Fowles. Coming in second on the Aliyah Boston draft sweepstakes is a bitter pill to swallow. You can only grit your teeth and keep going with a single solution.
That would be by drafting Diamond Miller with the second pick. Ready to lead the Lynx to the next generation now their storied past is permanently in the rearview with Maya Moore’s official retirement announcement. Fowles, Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalan. Outside of KG, the Lynx have legends the Timberwolves could only dream of. Now, it’s time to punch their next big ticket. Napheesa Collier, Aerial Powers and another rook in Brea Beal. These names have got next.
- PHOENIX MERCURY
BG is home. That’s all you need to know. After almost a year detained in Russia, Brittney Griner is back and ready to ball. “Digging deep” with plenty of motivation to complete her comeback with a championship. With one GOAT gone, Diana Taurasi would love another chance before she herself calls it a career. The time is now!
Superstar Skylar Diggins-Smith. Shooter Sophie Cunningham. They’re all locked in as the Mercury look to rise again. The sun may have set on Monty Williams’ NBA franchise, but the Mercury are legendary, like CP3. A bucket like Booker. Armed with a complete big-three like the addition of KD. No doubt, this season is special, but the homecoming needs one last dance.
- SEATTLE STORM
How do you get over losing Sue Bird to retirement and Breanna Stewart to free agency in the same off-season? Simply put, you don’t. What Stewie and the GOAT did for the city of Seattle will last even longer than the Supersonic force of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp in hardwood history. It will never reign the same way again in the Emerald City.
No need to needle them, though. They still have a few jewels in the case. Gold Mamba Jewell Loyd is Kobe certified like an orange hoodie, and first-round draft pick Jordan Horston has good first name terms with basketball brilliance. Take it personally, Seattle still has a basketball team. Canadian Kia Nurse is an awesome addition, but they should have kept Jordin Canada back in the day. Also, what happened with legend Tina Charles? We have questions, but look up to the rafters where two retired jerseys will be. There’s always room for more banners.
Let’s get it!