Where Las Vegas Aces, Connecticut Sun and Every Other Team Sign Up

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The 2022 WNBA season has come to an end with the franchise winning its first title. The Las Vegas Aceswho originated as Utah Starzz when the WNBA debuted in 1997, won the championship on Sunday, beating Connecticut Sun 3-1 in the WNBA Finals, and the Aces show no signs of slowing down in 2023.

Two of the WNBA’s biggest legends – Hurricane Seattle protect Sue Bird and Minnesota Lynx Sylvia Fowles center – retired. This season, we’ll wait and see if two other iconic players, Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker and Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasiwill return in 2023. And the league and its players will keep their thoughts on central Phoenix Brittney Grinerwho has been detained in Russia since February.

There are at least two head coach recruitments to be made, for Los Angeles Sparks and Indiana Fever. After another tough season, Fever will be waiting for a draft draw where they’ll see if they finally get the #1 pick for the first time in franchise history.

We’ve updated our WNBA Power Rankings every Monday of the regular season. Here, we list where teams were in the final standings of the regular season more than a month ago, and where we predict they could start the 2023 season – know what’s possible Varies by deal, free agent, draft and preference rules may affect players’ eligibility for the season depending on their overseas commitments.

THAN: Full coverage of the WNBA Finals

first. Las Vegas Aces
2022 record: 26-10
Result: WNBA Champion
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 2

The Aces celebrate championships with five cores – A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby – all 30 or under (Gray turns 30 on October 8) and have contracts for next season. Many observers have pointed out that depth is a potential issue this season, but it hasn’t stopped the Aces from winning both the Commissioner’s Cup for the season and the overall title. Can they now become the first WNBA team to repeat since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002?

2. Connecticut Sun
2022 record: 25-11
Result: Loss to Las Vegas in the WNBA Finals
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 3

Considering they don’t share the same floor Thomas’ jasmine (ACL) for most of the season, the Sun has nothing to worry about with the runner-up position. However, this is the fourth time the franchise has lost in the Finals (the other times being 2004, 2005 and 2019) and they have some concerns about next season’s staffing. Will they be able to keep going? Brionna JonesThe sixth woman of the year this season, and the guardian Courtney Williams, are both unrestricted free agents? Regardless, with Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner back, they’ll be strong contenders again.

3. Washington Mystics
2022 record: 22-14
Result: Lost to Seattle in the first round
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 5

The Mystics . Strategically Rested Star Elena Delle Donne during the regular season due to her back problems, and the plan worked, as she averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds playing 25 games. When she can play, Delle Donne is one of the best offensive players in the WNBA. But she’s only just turned 33, so her availability – given her history of back injuries – will likely be limited to some extent for the rest of her career. Washington’s top five scorers in 2022 – Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud, Myisha Hines-Allen and Shakira Austin – all have contracts for next season.

4. Hurricane Seattle
2022 record: 22-14
Result: Lost to Las Vegas in the semi-finals
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 4

We’re rolling the dice to get Storm to this high, because things are likely to be dramatically different next season. As my colleague Kevin Pelton wrote recently, Storm faces an uncertain future. Bird has been the team leader for two decades, and no one can replace her. But forward Breanna Stewart, a freelancer at the height of his career, is also irreplaceable. In total, there are seven freelancers, and security guards Jewell Loyd is the only key player from 2022 under contract for next season. Stewart’s return will strengthen a lot. But if she doesn’t return, Storm will start the next season with a much lower showing.

5. Chicago sky
2022 record: 26-10
Result: Lost to Connecticut in the semifinals
Regular season final strength rating: 1

For a long time, the Skys will relive the final four-minute nightmare of Game 5 with the Sun, wondering how that game, that streak, and their chance of a repeat disappeared in the blink of an eye. a period without terrible odds. But coach/general manager James Wade has a lot of work to do during the season. As is the case with Seattle, Sky may not be as high in next season’s Power Rankings if they look significantly different. Will Parker return? What about the franchise’s longest-running player, Courtney Vanderslootand her wife, the protector Allie Quigley? Kahleah coin is an important player that Sky has on contract until 2023.

6. New York Liberty
2022 record: 16-20
Result: Lose to Chicago in the first round
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 10

We’re optimistic about Liberty based on the best we’ve seen from them this season, as the defender Sabrina Ionescu breakthrough to become the kind of triple threat we expect. Liberty’s key players all have contracts, and they will have a year playing in the system of coach Sandy Brondello. Liberty is certainly still trying to improve in the offseason, but this team could be poised to take a positive step that includes a longer playoff round.

7. Dallas Wings
2022 record: 18-18
Result: Lost to Connecticut in the first round
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 6

The Wings are the only .500 team in the WNBA in 2022, and it’s a step in the right direction for Dallas. Arike Ogunbowale injured at the end of the season and failed to make it to the knockout stages, but Dallas still pushed Sun to three games in their streak. But can Dallas make it into that group of championship contenders, rather than just a team that could make it to the knockout stages? In front of Isabelle Harrison is an unrestricted freelance agent. Guard Marina Mabreywho took on great leadership especially when Ogunbowale was injured, and the center Teaira McCowan, who continued to improve as the season went on, were restricted free agents. It would be helpful if Wings can achieve anything close to a full season in 2023 from onwards Satou Saballywho was limited to her three years in the league with injury.

8. Atlanta Dream
2022 record: 14-22
Result: Missed playoffs
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 8

With a new coach at Tanisha Wright, a mostly young team and veteran defender Tiffany Hayes limited to 11 games, little is reasonably expected from the Dream in 2022. However, they came close to securing a playoff spot, largely thanks to a Rookie of the Year season from the keeper. Rhyne Howard, draft pick #1. She’s quick to answer any questions people might have about how soon she’ll adapt to professional gaming. This is an overactive roster, it’s a great year-long story in the WNBA but not something you want to build a franchise over in the long run. Young players like Howard, Aari McDonald and Naz Hillmon played with a lot of energy, but GM Dan Padover still has a lot of work to do this season to add more talent.

9. Minnesota Lynx
2022 record: 14-22
Result: Missed playoffs
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 9

Pretty much everything that could have happened in Fowles’s previous season went wrong, but Lynx remained out of the playoffs until the final day of the season. Coach/GM Cheryl Reeve candidly assessed post-season that a lot of the buttons she’s tried to push for 2022 in terms of roster building haven’t worked. Also, forward Napheesa Collier played only four games in 2022 after giving birth to her daughter. She is expected to return to her usual routine in 2023. Collier, Kayla McBride and Authority in the air All have contracts for 2023, but Lynx will need more help inside. Going back to post-season would be a very positive step. The things the Lynx had expected during their reigns could no longer be taken for granted.

ten. Phoenix Mercury
2022 record: 15-21
Result: Losing Las Vegas in the first round
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 7

Even if you don’t take into account that longtime Mercury star Griner is in jail thousands of miles away, it’s still been a dramatic season for Phoenix. From Tina Charles’ contractual divorce mid-season, to Taurasi’s season-ending injury, to Skylar Diggins-Smith left the team for personal reasons while Mercury was fighting for a playoff spot, freshman coach Vanessa Nygaard had full of her hands. Diggins-Smith, Diamond DeShields and Brianna Turner are contract Mercury players for 2023. It seems hard to believe that Diggins-Smith and Nygaard can co-exist for another season, so what will Mercury do with that?

11. Indiana Fever
2022 record: 5-31
Result: Missed playoffs
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 12

The Fever parted ways with coach Marianne Stanley at the start of the 2022 season but that hasn’t changed anything. Indiana is very young, and while Fever is up against at least challenging teams, they just don’t have enough talent to do so. Their next coach must help nurture that growth in 2023. Draft pick #2 NaLyssa Smith had a solid season (13.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG), but Fever needed the lottery to get their way so they could add a potential franchise-changing player such as South Carolina card player Aliyah Boston.

twelfth. Los Angeles Sparks
Record 2022:> 13-23
Result: Missed playoffs
Regular Season Ending Strength Rating: 11

The Sparks only have two key players under contract for next season to protect Chen Kennedy Carter and forward Katie Lou Samuelson – and none of them double the average score by 2022. Face-of-the-franchise Nneka Ogwumike is one of the unrestricted free agents. With so much to learn, you’d think Sparks felt the urge to hire a new GM – but you never know with this franchise. The Sparks haven’t had that position since coach/GM Derek Fisher was fired in June. Will the Sparks try to replace the coach/GM with one again, or will they hire for both jobs? Before 2021-22, the Sparks hadn’t missed the knockout stages two years in a row since 1997-98, the league’s first two seasons. The franchise looks like it’s at a crossroads.

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