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WNBA Offseason: Dallas Wings have Marike chemistry to think of, also an improving McCowan

The Dallas Wings were a .500 basketball team in 2022. Now they will try to continue their rise with a new head coach.

2022 WNBA Playoffs - Connecticut Sun v Dallas Wings
Arike Ogunbowale can celebrate getting off her rookie contract and making the supermax.
Photo by Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images

With the WNBA Finals and World Cup over, it’s time to take a look back at what each WNBA team did this season and forward at what their offseason goals should be. Next up is the seventh installment in our series: the No. 6 seed Dallas Wings, who lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Wings statistical rankings (per game)

  • 6th net rating (0.3)
  • 4th scoring (82.9)
  • 4th offensive rating (106.6)
  • 7th scoring defense (82.8)
  • T8th defensive rating (106.3)
  • 8th field goal percentage (43.5)
  • 10th field goal percentage defense (45.9)
  • 5th 3-pointers made (7.8)
  • 8th 3-point percentage (34.3)
  • 6th 3-pointers allowed (7.3)
  • 7th 3-point percentage defense (34.3)
  • 1st free throw attempts (20.8)
  • 2nd personal fouls drawn (18.6)
  • 11th free throw percentage (76.4)
  • 9th personal fouls (18.8)
  • 7th opponents free throw attempts (18.9)
  • 3rd offensive rebounds (9.6)
  • 4th offensive rebounds allowed (7.7)
  • 10th defensive rebounds (24.3)
  • 4th defensive rebounds allowed (25)
  • 8th total rebounds (33.8)
  • 3rd total rebounds allowed (32.7)
  • 2nd turnovers (12.7)
  • 3rd opponents steals (6.8)
  • 8th turnovers forced (13.4)
  • 10th steals (7.1)
  • T7th blocks (3.7)
  • 11th opponents blocks (4.3)
  • 10th assists (18.8)
  • 5th assists allowed (19.9)

Analysis of statistical rankings/offseason goals

The Wings were eighth in field goal percentage, but a number of other factors allowed them to be fourth in both scoring and offensive rating in spite of that. They made the second-most free throws in the league (571) even though their free throw percentage was 11th because they got to the line the most. They also upped their point total by making the fifth-most threes in the league. Lastly, they gave themselves more opportunities to score by being third in offensive rebounds and second at taking care of the ball.

Still, Dallas would like to improve its field goal percentage. It also needs to improve on defense, where it was eighth in rating and 10th in opponent field goal percentage.

Connecticut Sun v Dallas Wings
Teaira McCowan (with ball) led the Wings with 140 free throws attempted.
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

Under contract for 2023*

  • Allisha Gray (protected) (SG/SF)
  • Kayla Thornton (protected) (SF)
  • Satou Sabally (protected) (SF/PF)
  • Tyasha Harris (protected) (PG)
  • Arike Ogunbowale (protected) (SG/PG)
  • Charli Collier (C/PF)
  • Awak Kuier (PF)
  • Veronica Burton (PG)
  • Jasmine Dickey (SG)
  • Bella Alarie (protected) (C/PF)

Unrestricted free agents*

  • Isabelle Harrison (PF)

Restricted free agents*

  • Marina Mabrey (SG)
  • Teaira McCowan (C)

Draft picks

11; 19; 31

Analysis of players/offseason goals

Marina Mabrey and Teaira McCowan are both due for big pay days, but maybe not the max. Let’s say they both get paid $180,000, which is slightly below the max. Then the Wings could afford to keep both and let Isabelle Harrison, who has been dissatisfied, go. However, Harrison was dissatisfied with the way Vickie Johnson was utilizing her; she may be willing to stay around with a new head coach. If so, she is obviously a very good player and has done a lot for the Wings for the past four years. Maybe there’s a way of making her a high priority again.

But based on the way McCowan finished the season, she seems to be on the rise and the Wings would be wise to see how a 6-foot-7 player on the rise pans out. Meanwhile, Mabrey brings a lot of emotional energy and can get her team fired up. She’s not just surviving, but thriving in the league as a second-round pick who wasn’t expected to be an impact player. She’s got the potential to make an All-Star team and at times has put the Wings on her back offensively. Plus, she’s Arike Ogunbowale’s best friend so Ogunbowale won’t want to see her go. Mabrey and McCowan could both make more than $180,000 if the Wings roll with 11 players instead of 12.

Veronica Burton is looking the most valuable of the four Wings players on unprotected contracts for 2023. Charli Collier probably deserves a better shot at getting started in the league, but will it come in Dallas? Awak Kuier has played at least somewhat of a role, but, like Collier, hasn't made a very big impact. Burton got off to a rough start in her rookie year, but showed a spark as the season wound down with a nine-assist game on Aug. 2, a 15-point game on Aug. 10 and 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Wings’ final playoff game. She is truly an exciting defensive and offensive talent and the Wings can at least take something away from recent drafts if they hold on to her.

Las Vegas Aces v Dallas Wings
Will Marike stay together in Dallas?
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

* Per Her Hoop Stats