Let’s see how our power rankings have changed since the preseason.
1) Las Vegas Aces (19-2)
Let’s not forget that the talent on paper really is equal between the Aces and Liberty. Yet, many, though not I, knew before the season that the Aces’ returning championship chemistry would lead them to be better than New York. That is how things have played out. Vegas is historically good and is the only true super team right now. After not leading the team in scoring last year, A’ja Wilson leads it this year with 19.7 points per game.
2) New York Liberty (14-4)
The Liberty’s fortunes took a lucky turn when they pulled out an overtime win over the Mystics on June 25. A loss there would have altered momentum and perhaps New York wouldn’t have won its next game against Connecticut. Instead, the Liberty’s only loss since June 25 was to the Aces. They’ve survived some more close ones of late, but a win is a win and they do have the second-best winning percentage in the league.
3) Connecticut Sun (15-5)
The Aces and Liberty were unanimously first and second in our staff vote, and the Sun were unanimously third. Perhaps a reason the Sun didn’t get any second-place votes is the absence of Brionna Jones (Achilles) for the rest of the season. Otherwise, I would have trouble putting it past the Sun to move ahead of the Liberty and even challenge the Aces.
4) Atlanta Dream (11-8)
In my mind, it’s very close between the Dream, Mystics and Wings for this fourth spot, but Atlanta won it in fairly decisive fashion, receiving two fourth-place votes and two fifth-place votes. It seems our staff is sold on the star trio of Allisha Gray. Cheyenne Parker and Rhyne Howard and the coaching of Tanisha Wright. In my opinion, a healthy Washington and Dallas are both better on paper, but the Dream are getting it done on the court.
5) Washington Mystics (11-8)
The Mystics need to get healthy, but when they are, they are supposed to be a Top 4 team. They came into the season with expectations of challenging the Aces and Liberty and have seemed like an elite team at times during the season. However, they did go 2-4 from June 25 to July 9 before winning their last game before the All-Star break.
6) Dallas Wings (11-9)
The Wings’ big three of Satou Sabally, Arike Ogunbowale and Natasha Howard is probably better on paper than Atlanta’s big three. They have two All-Star starters and a snub in N. Howard, while the Dream have two All-Star reserves and an All-Star alternate. However, Ogunbowale’s efficiency is always a question even though her talent is off the charts. Can she defer to Sabally and N. Howard at the right times to get wins?
7) Minnesota Lynx (9-11)
The Lynx’s 40-point loss to the Wings last Wednesday was concerning. But they have a decent record, having won five in a row before losing their last two. If they can get Aerial Powers (ankle) and Jessica Shepard (illness) back, they’ve got something going on paper. Even without those two, Napheesa Collier has proven herself capable of carrying the team. She was an All-Star reserve but has All-Star starter talent.
8) Chicago Sky (8-12)
Chicago has a glaring six-game losing streak on its resume and has now lost its last three in a row. However, the Sky have also shown signs of promise. The departure of James Wade was inevitably going to rattle this team to some degree. We’ll see if it can have a positive second half and make the playoffs. Dwyane Wade becoming a part-owner is good for the franchise’s future beyond this season.
9) Los Angeles Sparks (7-13)
The Sparks have a case to be higher on this list if you consider the incredible adversity they’ve faced in the form of injuries. They’re getting Layshia Clarendon back; now it’s a matter of getting Lexie Brown and Chiney Ogwumike back as well. Much like the Dream, LA seems to have the right culture in place. Expect the Sparks to always give their best effort and win some games off chemistry.
10) Indiana Fever (5-15)
The Fever still have a bigger mental hurdle to overcome than any other team in the league. They fear failure more than anyone else because of how much of it they have experienced in recent years. Yet, this team is better than 5-15 and shouldn’t be last in our power rankings. Coming off her All-Star Game start, Aliyah Boston will be determined to get this team back in the win column after eight straight losses.
11) Phoenix Mercury (4-15)
The Mercury got one last-place vote, and it was from me. With that being said, I was high on them before the season because I thought Sophie Cunningham was an apt third star. Diana Taurasi can always get hot and Brittney Griner has proven to still be one of the best players in the league even as she shakes off the rust. So we’ll see if the Mercury can get back on track. They have been one of the most unpredictable teams in the league in recent years.
12) Seattle Storm (4-16)
Jewell Loyd has a lot of heart and that’s why I think she will lead Seattle out of last place. However, they do currently have the worst record in the league and the talent surrounding Loyd is limited. All-Star Ezi Magbegor will need to continue to step up, as will rookie Jordan Horston, who went off for 23 points, 10 rebounds and three steals last Wednesday.