WNBA Season Preview 2017

WNBA Season Preview 2017

WNBA Season Preview 2017

WNBA Season Preview 2017

The WNBA or Women’s National Basketball Association has been formed back in April 1996, as a female version of the best-known basketball league in the world, the NBA. Despite not being as well known as the NBA, there is no denying that it’s well represented and for some bettors, it’s a to-go sport to bet on during summer when most of the sports leagues are on a break. I will not go into details of how the WNBA works and how it compares to NBA, however, I will give a short description of the teams which will appear in the WNBA.

Atlanta Dream

2016 season: 17-17

Atlanta Dream are going into this season with a huge problem. Angel McCoughtry decided to “rest” during this season. She stated; “I know this decision will allow me to come back and play to the best of my ability.” You can read her letter here. Her decision might help her team in the long run, but as for this season.. it will be hard to replace a player which averaged 19.5ppg 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals. There is no denying that McCoughtry carried her team last season and without her I expect them to struggle. However, not everything is black. Atlanta Dream have got some promising players on the roster. Williams, Clarendon and Hayes all showed a great improvement in the last season so we can expect them to shine this year. Calling out how will this team perform before we see them in action is hard, mostly due to their lead offensive player missing (Angel). Now their job is to find a way to build their offence without her, however, they do have some big players which will benefit them in the paint.

Connecticut Sun

2016 season: 14-20

Last season, Connecticut Sun just missed the playoffs after losing to Indiana Fever in Eastern Conference finals. This year they will try again and get to the playoffs. To be fair, they do not come off as a playoffs team to me, we can expect them to give their best any maybe even surprise me. First, let’s touch their record last season. It’s not remarkable by any means, but to be fair, they did play better in the second half of the season. This is one of the reasons I see potential in this team. As stated before, they are not ready for playoffs yet, but I do feel as they do have a bright future ahead. As for transfers, there have been some moves, but quite frankly the best “moves” made were the re-signing of their own players. I might also mention, Suns signed Brionna Jones in the draft. Some question if a slower, physical centre fits in a team also a singing like this contradicts the playstyle that Miller prefers, which is much more active with a lot of running and spacing. However, we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out.


Dallas Wings

2016 season: 11-23

2016 season: 11-23Not the best season behind them, which is kind of sad as they are a “new” team. Well, they were renamed from Tulsa Shock, so they are not that new to be fair. Nevertheless, much more was expected from them as they did manage to get into playoffs a year prior. Not the best season behind them, which is kind of sad as they are a “new” team. Well, they were renamed from Tulsa Shock, so they are not that new to be fair. Nevertheless, much more was expected from them as they did manage to get into playoffs a year prior. A big reason why they failed to perform better is their defence. On the bright side, Wings offence is not that bad, so if they find a way to perform better on their side of the court they could go a long way. With a lot of new faces on and off the court, we can expect a completely new Wings this season. And that is not by any means bad news. I expect to see much improved Dallas this year and them reaching playoffs wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

Chicago Sky

2016 season: 18-16 (knocked out of semi-finals)

The story at Chicago Sky is similar to one at Atlanta Dream. Chicago Sky will go into next season without their leading scorer Delle Donne. This will most likely spell trouble for Chicago as she was their top scorer for several seasons now and finding a suitable replacement won’t be easy. The fact that Chicago Sky did not get into playoffs prior to drafting Delle Donne, but managed to get to the playoffs for four consecutive times since her arrival only proves my point how valuable she was to the team. Chicago traded Delle Donne for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper and the no.2 pick in the 2017 draft. If that was a good move it’s up for debate. With the no.2 pick in the draft, Sky drafted Alaina Coates, who sadly won’t be playing in this season due to the knee injury and surgery prior to the draft and needs time to recover. If that’s not enough, Jamierra Faulkner is also injured and will miss the season. All in all, Chicago Sky has a lot of problems to deal with and I do not expect them to be as big of a powerhouse as they were last season.


Indiana Fever

2016 season: 17-17

Last season for Fever sadly ended in the first round of the playoffs, but on the bright side, they are still holding a record for the most consecutive appearances in the playoffs (12). Holding a record like that is great, but winning the league surely tastes sweeter. Last season for Fever sadly ended in the first round of the playoffs, but on the bright side, they are still holding a record for the most consecutive appearances in the playoffs (12). Holding a record like that is great, but winning the league surely tastes sweeter. This year they are stepping into 2017 season with confidence. The trio Coleman, January and Dupree under the guidance of experienced coach Pokey Chatman can easily get into playoffs for the 13th time. In addition to those 3 veterans, Fever will also have very capable young players in Mitchell and McCall. Some were concerned about the departure of Catchings and White (coach), but in my opinion, Fever did a good job in rebuilding the team. With that in mind, I see no reason why we won’t see them in the playoffs once again.


Los Angeles Sparks

2016 season: 28-8 (Champions)

After a superb season last year, LA Sparks will give their best to repeat their success. With the title last season, they have now won 3 titles in club history. Some may say last season was Candace Parker’s season and they wouldn’t’ be wrong. The finals MVP had a great season throughout, but we mustn’t forget about Nneka Oguwmike, who was arguably one of the best players in the league and due to her superb performances, she was named the MVP of 2016 season. There are many more players worth mentioning, such as Alana Beard, Essence Carson, Chelsea Gray.. as they all contributed a lot to their team’s success. As mentioned before, we can expect Sparks to be a strong candidate for this year’s champions, however, they must not underestimate other teams. Especially Lynx.


Minnesota Lynx

2016 season: 28-6

One of (if not THE) best teams in the WNBA, holding 3 titles up till now (2011;2013,2015). For anyone who believes in historical trends, this should be their year to win the title once again, as they seem to do so every 2nd year. Well, this just might be the case this year as Lynx are coming into 2017 season stronger than ever and hungry for revenge after losing the finals match in game 5.

Lynx will have a well-rested team. Moore, Whalen and Augustus all took the offseason to rest and recover, with Burson only playing for 2 months overseas. There will also be new faces in the team; Pierson, Jones and Osahor. All in all, Lynx are not to be underestimated. I wouldn’t be surprised if they repeat their record and win 28 games, maybe even go further and get their title. To be fair we can expect them to appear in the finals, but nothing is 100%. Anyway, it is worth to follow how Lynx perform this season.


New York Liberty

2016 Season: 21-13

Liberty had a good season last year, finishing first in Eastern Conference, but unfortunately were knocked out of the 2nd round of the playoffs after a 101:94 defeat against Phoenix Mercury. This season, Liberty will say goodbye to some of their players (Cash; who announced retirement, Wright, Swords, Schimmel. However, we will see some new faces; Hartley and Vaughn. Being without Wright might cause some problems, but I expect Price and Zellous to fill the role just fine. Despite some moves, they are not necessarily bad for Liberty. Vaughn is a great addition to the team and we can’t forget about Zauhi B, who had a great season abroad and Allen, who is a good scorer and will most likely be a leading scorer for Liberty this season. All in all, Liberty did not lose any “power” with roster changes and I expect them to have a good season ahead. They just might finish in the top of Eastern Conference again, however, they will have a tough job against Lynx and Spark. Anyway, a top 5 finish is expected.


Phoenix Mercury

2016 Season: 16-18

Many people expected them to win the season, as they seemed very strong on the paper. However, they failed to do so. Mercury finished 4th in the West and were defeated in WNBA semi-finals. This season we will follow a completely different team as only 3 players from last season’s roster will return. Changing most of your roster seems as a bold move that just might pay off. With all the moves the idea was to increase the size in the paint, which is a completely different approach from what we are used to. We saw many other WNBA teams changing their tactics for this season and so this season should be different to watch, at least from each teams perspective. Prediction how this team will play in the season is quite a hard task. They are capable of being very strong, as they did perform very well in the offseason. But how will they perform when the time comes? We will just have to wait and see. If all goes well we can expect some great basketball from them.


San Antonio Stars

Season 2016: 7-24

As the record suggests, they did not have a great season behind them. In other words, they finished last in the West and last in the WNBA. The result was not that surprising to be fair, as they had the worst record in the league for the past 2 seasons. It’s clear something needs to be done, as they were not the same since Becky Hammon left the squad. If that was not enough, they suffered another blow when Robinson was injured with Achilles tear, which ended her season. There have been many changes in the team for the upcoming season. Vickie Johnson was promoted to head coach, which in my opinion is a great decision, as she is very familiar with the franchise and the team. Robinson was transferred to Phoenix Mercury in exchange for 1st round pick (Kelsey Plum) and Harrison, Ndour was traded to Chicago Sky for dos Santos in addition, San Antonio drafted Nia Coffey as a no. 5 pick. The game might be dependent on Plum and Coffey, but don’t let their age make you think they are not capable of shining in the WNBA. They are more than capable of carrying this team a long way if everything plays out as it should. San Antonio does come off as a team which could easily be underrated and that can work in their favour. In my eyes, San Antonio is capable of great things and they will surprise many who doubt in them.


Seattle Storm

2016 Season: 16-18

This will without a doubt be one of the most important seasons for Seattle Storm, as they will be hosting All-Star game in July. With that in mind, fans expect great things from Seattle this season. As it was the previous season, Seattle’s success will be dependent on Bird, Loyd and Steward and if they can perform at their best, there is a bright future ahead for Storm. The player with the most potential out of those 3 is surely Loyd, who has seen a huge increase in her ability to score (16.5ppg last season). Of course, we cannot forget about Steward, who averaged 18.3ppg as a rookie! If she can grow as fast as Loyd did, we are watching the next WNBA star. As for my expectation for this season; as said before, it will really depend on those 3 players. Many great teams in NBA were in the same position, with 3-star players who were capable of carrying the team to greatness and I would not be surprised if the same happens for Storm. There will be some teams they will surely struggle with, but I do expect them to at least appear in the playoffs.


Washington Mystic

2016 Season: 13-21

I have said that for a few teams before, and same can be said for Mystic; they are stepping into a new season with quite a lot of new faces. One of the biggest changes is the arrival of Delle Donne from Chicago Sky. The former MVP will surely bring a breath of fresh air into this team and hopefully, they will be able to perform better than the disappointing 2016 season. But that’s not all. Mystic signed Kristi Toliver, who played a big part in Los Angeles Sparks and they also brought Walker-Kimbrough into their roster. With a lot of great players arriving at Mystic, many have high expectations and so do I.This tea surely shouldn’t be underestimated, but it will all come down to how will these 3 players fit into the play style. It would be disappointing if they don’t improve their last season, but we will just have to wait and see.


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