2024 WNBA Power Rankings: Liberty, Sun are the league’s best

WNBA

Products You May Like

No, a Las Vegas Aces’ three-peat does not look inevitable. At least for now.

The first month of the 2024 WNBA season has not been defined by the domination of two titanic super teams fated for a Finals rematch. Instead, a number of squads remain viable contenders for the 2024 crown. With every team having played between 12 and 15 games, here’s how Swish Appeal’s staff assesses the standing of the W’s 12 teams.


1. New York Liberty (12-2)

Washington Mystics v New York Liberty

Leonie Fiebich and Jonquel Jones celebrate a recent Liberty win.
Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Jonquel Jones is BACK! And the New York Liberty might be the best team in the WNBA.

While New York trails the Connecticut Sun in overall record and net rating, the owners of the WNBA’s best offense are riding an eight-game winning streak that includes a victory over Connecticut, as well as an authoritative win over the Las Vegas Aces on Saturday. In that contest, Jones dropped a career-high 34 points, proving that after an uneven 2023 season—the product of adjusting to a new team and a slow recovery from an offseason injury—she remains one of the most talented, impactful players in the W. And possibly the linchpin for the long-awaited first title in franchise history?

2. Connecticut Sun (12-1)

Indiana Fever v Connecticut Sun

DiJonai Carrington’s leap on both ends of the floor has the Sun at the top of the standings.
Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images

The Connecticut Sun have the best record, best defense and best net rating in the league, but they’re not the best team? The disrespeCT never ends.

As Noa Dalzell has chronicled, although the Sun have been racking up wins, a few too many were going down to the wire, largely because of slow starts. Well, since dropping their lone game to the Liberty, the Sun have cured those concerns, exemplified by their most recent rout of the Dallas Wings.

3. Minnesota Lynx (10-3)

Minnesota Lynx v Phoenix Mercury

Kayla McBride and Natisha Hiedeman are hyped after (another) McBride 3-pointer.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In recent seasons, it appeared the Minnesota magic that defined the Lynx’s dynasty days had faded, as the team suffered through some uninspiring stretches while trying to establish a new identity. This season, everything has clicked into place, with head coach Cheryl Reeve optimizing returning players and new additions around the two-way star power of Napheesa Collier.

As Eric Nemchock has noted, the Lynx have been scorching hot from behind the arc, propelled by Kayla McBride making nearly half of her more than seven 3-point attempts per game. Even when that long-range shooting likely regresses, Minnesota has the foundation necessary to continue to win lots of games.

4. Las Vegas Aces (6-6)

New York Liberty v Las Vegas Aces

Despite a .500 record, it’s probably unwise to doubt A’ja Wilson and the Aces.
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

There’s a reason only one team in WNBA history has three-peated, and, prior to this season, only one other team has had the opportunity to do so. The Las Vegas Aces are trying to complete the feat in a 40-game season during an Olympic year, with their starting point guard missing the first 12 games (and counting?).

And yet, assuming Chelsea Gray eventually returns, does any team want to see the Aces in the playoffs? The emotion A’ja Wilson showed during her most recent postgame press conference suggests she will do everything in her power to take the back-to-back defending champs back to the mountain top.

5. Seattle Storm (9-5)

Los Angeles Sparks v Seattle Storm

Jordan Horston and Nneka Ogwumike were fired up during a recent Storm win.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

After a somewhat unsteady start to the season, the Seattle Storm have hit their stride and won eight of their last 10 games. If only they could find a way to beat Lynx.

Although Jewell Loyd and Skylar Diggins-Smith finding their strokes has helped the Storm look like the team they were expected to be, Nneka Ogwumike is the fulcrum of Seattle’s success, as Eric has highlighted. Jordan Horston emerging as a reliable off-the-bench option also strengthens a Storm second unit that entered the season with questions. Albeit in a loss, the second-year wing had her best game of the season on Sunday, with a high-activity 12 points, five steals, four rebounds and two blocks.

6. Phoenix Mercury (7-7)

Minnesota Lynx v Phoenix Mercury

Kahleah Copper is scoring the third-most points per game in the WNBA.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Four games with Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury have won three of them. Forthcoming games against the Liberty and Lynx will more definitively determine if the Griner-boosted Mercury can be considered a legitimate title contender.

For now, the BG-KFC combination looks like one no opponent wants to see in a short playoff series. On Sunday, Phoenix earned the wire-to-wire win over the Storm behind a combined 58 points from Griner and Kahleah Copper. It was Copper’s league-leading fifth game of at least 30 points. With Griner in the lineup, she’s been absurdly prolific and efficient, averaging almost 28 points per game on 48.1 percent shooting. Griner also is rounding towards top form, scoring at least 25 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2021.

7. Atlanta Dream (6-6)

Los Angeles Sparks v Atlanta Dream

Aerial Powers and Tina Charles rejoice over a score during a recent Dream game.
Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Inconsistency, again abounds for the Atlanta Dream, where a feel-good win over the Aces has been nullified by losses to the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever.

The hoped-for return of Jordin Canada, who should provide desperately-needed offensive organization and point-of-attack defensive pressure, leaves open the possibly that the Dream could coalesce into a team that is no longer less than the sum of its parts. Yet, it’s unreasonable to see Canada as a panacea; Atlanta must play with an intentionality on both ends of the floor that, far too often, has eluded them.

8. Los Angeles Sparks (4-10)

Minnesota Lynx v Los Angeles Sparks

Rookies Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson look like future stars for the Sparks.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

As Edwin Garcia has documented, the 2024 season has been a mixed bag thus far for the Los Angeles Sparks, with some encouraging wins balanced by blowout losses.

An indisputable bright spot, however, has been Dearica Hamby, who is putting together a career year in her 10th WNBA season. Rookies Cameron Brink, a present and future defensive force, and Rickea Jackson, already an effortless scorer, also look like the foundation of the next, great Sparks team. But for now, uneven contributions from the bench cap LA’s upside.

9. Chicago Sky (4-9)

WNBA: JUN 04 New York Liberty at Chicago Sky

Out of the WNBA in 2023, Chennedy Carter appears to have found a home with the Sky.
Photo by Melissa Tamez/ Icon Sportswire

In the middle of the free agency period, when Kahleah Copper surprisingly was traded to the Mercury, the Chicago Sky seemed liked the most lost organization in the WNBA. Well, head coach Teresa Weatherspoon swiftly has imposed a new direction—and it’s onward and upward. Even though the team has only won a third of their games, Chicago plays with a spirit and purpose that inspires optimism about the team’s future.

The rejuvenation of Chennedy Carter and the quick acclimations of top rookies Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso are the primary reasons for positivity. But as Zachary Draves has detailed, Weatherspoon is getting the best out of all of her players.

10. Dallas Wings (3-9)

Dallas Wings v Los Angeles Sparks

Arike Ogunbowale and the Dallas Wings have lost seven-straight games.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

The unfortunate injury absences of Satou Sabally and Natasha Howard seemingly would permit head coach Latricia Trammell to experiment with different lineup combinations, giving more players the opportunity to show what they might be able to contribute to a fully healthy Dallas Wings team.

Instead, Trammell has ridden the top six players in her rotation, even as the wins become more elusive. And on offense, Dallas increasingly has become the Arike Ogunbowale Show. When she has it going, it might be one of the most entertaining shows in sports. But, having Ogunbowale carry a high-usage and high-volume burden through a compressed schedule doesn’t seem sustainable. She currently has the lowest shooting percentages of her career, both from 3 and overall.

11. Indiana Fever (5-10)

Indiana Fever v Washington Mystics

Like everything for the Fever, the Caitlin Clark-Aliyah Boston partnership remains a work in progress.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

The Indiana Fever now have more wins (five) than non-national television games (four). Yet, despite winning three of their last four games, progress remains a slow process for the Fever, as Łukasz Muniowski recently wrote. That’s especially true on the defensive end, where Indiana’s league-worst defensive rating of 110.8 is more than six points worse than the second-worst mark.

After a dreadful defensive effort in a loss to the Sun, the Fever secured their win over their Dream with several key defensive stops down the stretch. However, their victory over the Sky was a product of a strong shooting performance, rather than further improved defense. Until Indiana demonstrates a consistent attention to detail on that end, it’s hard to see them advancing beyond the edge of the playoff picture.

12. Washington Mystics (2-12)

Washington Mystics v New York Liberty

Despite the Mystics’ record, don’t sleep on Aaliyah Edwards as a Rookie of the Year candidate.
Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Although they followed up their first win of the season with a second-straight victory, the Washington Mystics still sit in the league cellar. That they do not own the league’s worst net rating, however, suggests the team is better than their record. As Josh Felton has analyzed, the Mystics have been competitive in the majority of their losses, with promising developments, especially the play of Aaliyah Edwards, mixed in with mostly disappointing results.

Another injury absence for Brittney Sykes, on top of Shakira Austin’s continued management of a hip injury, indicates the Mystics are unlikely to generate much more winning momentum. In fact, it seems like general manager Mike Thibault might be happy to be Paiging the No. 1 pick in the 2025 WNBA Draft.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

3 stats that defined Ottawa’s Week 6 win over Edmonton
Changes Finally Make Reynolds Channel A Winner
Hernández: How Kei Kamara escaped Sierra Leone to star for LAFC
My Dear and Ballade Stakes
Rangers, D Schneider agree on contract extension