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WNBA Team Preview: Atlanta Dream (#10)

The Atlanta Dream regroup after missing the 2017 playoffs without Angel McCoughtry. How far can they go this summer?

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Angel McCoughtry NBAE/Getty

The 2017 Atlanta Dream missed the WNBA Playoffs as they finished with a 12-22 record without their long-time franchise player Angel McCoughtry, who took the season off. Though the wins weren’t there for Atlanta last season, the team still had three WNBA All-Stars in Tiffany Hayes, Layshia Clarendon and Elizabeth Williams. The Dream also had 2017 All-Rookie Team honoree Brittney Sykes who was Atlanta’s second leading scorer at 13.9 points per game.

This summer, McCoughtry returns to Atlanta and will also have a new head coach in Nikki Collen. Will the Dream return to the playoffs in 2018 and upset one of the league’s juggernauts?

What to expect

Familiar faces

McCoughtry officially returned to the Dream after signing a new contract last February. The Dream also re-signed Williams in free agency. The Hayes-Clarendon-Sykes guard trio returns intact.

Notable newbies

The Dream fired head coach Michael Cooper after the 2017 season and hired Collen to replace him. Atlanta also brought in Chris Sienko as general manager.

Atlanta’s most notable new face, however, is Renee Montgomery, who played for the Lynx last season as backup point guard, averaging 8 points and 3.4 assists per game. Montgomery also shot 35.8 percent from the three-point line last season, which addresses some of Atlanta’s woes from the perimeter. The Dream also signed Jessica Breland in free agency.

Biggest obstacles

The Dream will get a talent boost with McCoughtry returning, and that will make the team instant playoff contenders ... on paper. But how will she adjust to Hayes, Sykes, Clarendon and Williams?

Sykes had great numbers, but she also had a usage rating of 26.7 percent in the 2017 season; McCoughtry’s usage rating was over 30 percent in 2016. McCoughtry is likely to remain Atlanta’s top scorer, so how will Sykes adjust to that? And, conversely, how will McCoughtry adjust to Sykes?

Another major concern for the Dream is three-point shooting. Atlanta made the least three-pointers in 2017 and had the worst shooting percentage at 29.1 percent. Furthermore, Hayes and Sykes are the Dream’s only returning true threats from three. Montgomery addresses their shooting needs, but will that be enough?

Game zone

Preseason opener

Dream vs. Sky

Monday May 7 at 4 p.m. EST

WinTrust Arena — Tickets

*The Dream will not host a preseason game in the 2018 season.

Season home opener

Dream vs. Wings

Saturday May 26 at 6 p.m. EST

McCamish Pavilion — Tickets