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New Year’s resolutions for each WNBA team

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Happy New Year! We miss the WNBA just as much as you do. In the spirit of the holiday, we’ve come up with a new year’s resolution each WNBA team could make heading into the 2020 season.

Las Vegas Aces v Minnesota Lynx
What’s one thing the Minnesota Lynx can improve upon heading into 2020?
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Atlanta Dream: Acquire outside shooting

Atlanta Dream v Phoenix Mercury
Tiffany Hayes
Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dream have rarely been a good 3-point shooting team. In fact, not once in the franchise’s history have the Dream shot above league average from beyond the arc. With its best players thriving either in the post (Elizabeth Williams) or off the bounce (Tiffany Hayes), it would make sense for Atlanta to complement them with more outside shooters.

Chicago Sky: Get more out of draft picks

Las Vegas Aces v Chicago Sky
Katie Lou Samuelson
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sky’s 2019 success is all the more impressive when one considers that they didn’t get much out of their draft picks. Katie Lou Samuelson — who was drafted at No. 4 overall — got injured early in the season and struggled to find consistent playing time after that, averaging just 7.6 minutes played. The team’s second-round pick, Chloe Jackson, barely saw the floor at all before being waived in favor of additional frontcourt depth. The Sky are a fairly deep team as it is, but it would be nice to see one of their 2020 draft picks make more of an immediate impact.

Connecticut Sun: Play through Thomas

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Four
Alyssa Thomas
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Sun may not have been able to seal the deal in the 2019 Finals, but Alyssa Thomas had an absolutely torrid run, averaging 18.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.2 steals against the Mystics while playing the full 40 minutes in four of the five games. It confirmed what Sun fans have known for years: the team goes as Thomas goes, and when she’s able to get out in transition and make plays, the Sun are almost unbeatable. Connecticut needs to keep Thomas as its focal point.

Dallas Wings: Build around Diggins-Smith and Ogunbowale

Washington Mystics v Dallas Wings
Arike Ogunbowale and Brian Agler
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

With All-WNBA point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith missing the 2019 season after the birth of her first child, the Wings turned to rookie Arike Ogunbowale to run the show. Ogunbowale put up big numbers, finishing third in the WNBA in scoring, but the shorthanded Wings went just 10-24 on the season. How Ogunbowale plays alongside Diggins-Smith will be critical as Dallas looks to improve in 2020.

Indiana Fever: Develop the youngsters

Connecticut Sun v Indiana Fever
Kelsey Mitchell
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Fever have been at or near the bottom of the WNBA standings for several seasons in a row now, yet with talented young players like Kelsey Mitchell, Victoria Vivians and Teaira McCowan (along with whoever they pick at No. 3 in the 2020 Draft), the team is in a solid position moving forward. It will be up to new head coach Marianne Stanley and her staff to ensure that Mitchell and company reach their potential in 2020.

Las Vegas Aces: Get Young going

Washington Mystics v Las Vegas Aces - Game Four
Jackie Young
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

With their third consecutive No. 1 overall draft pick, the Las Vegas Aces selected Jackie Young, a big, versatile guard who went on to start every game for them in 2019. Young showed flashes as the team’s point guard, assisting on better than 30 percent of her teammates’ baskets, but an effective field goal percentage of 35.2 percent limited her impact. More efficient three-level scoring from Young in 2020 will mean big things for both her and the Aces as a unit.

Los Angeles Sparks: Regain organizational stability

Connecticut Sun v Los Angeles Sparks - Game Three
Derek Fisher
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

This is an easy one. The Sparks were swept by the Sun in the 2019 WNBA Semifinals, which was lowlighted by head coach Derek Fisher benching Candace Parker in the elimination game and general manager Penny Toler getting dismissed shortly thereafter. The circumstances surrounding Toler’s firing were alarming, to say the least, and only raised more questions about the organization’s professionalism and direction. The Sparks must get their house in order.

Minnesota Lynx: Take care of the basketball

Minnesota Lynx v Los Angeles Sparks
Odyssey Sims
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

No one said replacing Lindsay Whalen would be easy, and the Lynx got good minutes from new point guard Odyssey Sims last season. One thing that needs to improve for Minnesota, however, is its ball security. The Lynx ranked last in the league in turnover percentage in 2019, and it cost them in their playoff loss to Seattle. Minnesota would do itself a big favor by cleaning up some of these mistakes.

New York Liberty: Establish an identity

Las Vegas Aces v New York Liberty
Asia Durr
Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Much like the Fever, the Liberty have some solid young talent. Even better, they own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, and we all have a pretty good idea of who that will turn into. The Liberty will play their home schedule at Barclays Center, symbolizing a fresh start, but are currently without a head coach. What will the Liberty look like in 2020? We can make some guesses, but right now it’s no more than conjecture.

Phoenix Mercury: Grab some rebounds

Phoenix Mercury v Chicago Sky
Brittney Griner
Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The Mercury ranked dead last in the WNBA in rebounding percentage last season, which, on the surface, might be hard to imagine with 6-foot-9 Brittney Griner playing center. However, Griner herself didn’t have a strong rebounding season, either. She and the rest of the Mercury will need to make a concerted effort to improve on the glass if they’re to get back into contention.

Seattle Storm: Get healthy

Seattle Storm v Phoenix Mercury - Game Three
Breanna Stewart
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Storm played the 2019 season without two key names: reigning MVP Breanna Stewart and legendary point guard Sue Bird. While Seattle was still able to compete without the two franchise cornerstones, the fact of the matter is that it won’t sniff another championship unless the Stewart and Bird return healthy in 2020.

Washington Mystics: Repeat!

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Five
The 2019 Washington Mystics
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

What’s better than a WNBA championship? How about two consecutive WNBA championships? It’s hard to find much fault with 2019’s Mystics squad, and no matter what transpires this offseason, Washington will likely enter 2020 as favorites to repeat. Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver and company have more than enough firepower, and as long as health is on their side, not many big changes will need to be made for them to keep it rolling.