WNBA preseason power rankings: Can anyone catch the Las Vegas Aces?

Earlier this month, the Las Vegas Aces debuted a documentary chronicling their 2023 title run called “Aces vs. Everybody.” A season later, that tagline is an accurate descriptor of the state of the league in 2024. Las Vegas is back, ready to defend its title yet again, and the rest of the WNBA is chasing the standard set by A’ja Wilson and company in the desert.

One reason to be excited about the upcoming season is that so many teams are indeed chasing the Aces. Rather than wait out the super-team in Las Vegas, more challengers are coming for the WNBA crown in 2024, as eight other franchises tried to meaningfully improve during the offseason.

In a way, it makes sense for teams to go all in this season, before expansion redistributes the talent pool in 2025 and before a potential new collective bargaining agreement changes roster building in 2026. Right now, organizations are at least familiar with the terms of engagement and what it takes to succeed in this particular WNBA landscape. Nevertheless, the two-time champion Aces still loom as the final boss, meaning the first power rankings of 2024 once again will begin in Las Vegas.

Reminder: This is an indication of how these teams stack up now, not where they project to finish at the end of the season.

1. Las Vegas Aces

The Aces have the best player in the WNBA in Wilson, along with three more in the top 15: Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. They have three veteran rotation players in Alysha Clark, Sydney Colson and Kiah Stokes who understand their roles to a tee, including protecting the paint, defending a variety of positions and providing leadership in practice and from the bench. They’ve also added a lot of younger talent, headlined by stretch big Megan Gustafson and 2024 draftees Dyaisha Fair and Kate Martin, who add more scoring and versatility. Add in the best coach in the WNBA in Becky Hammon, a proven taskmaster who helps Las Vegas consistently elevate its level in the postseason, and this isn’t just the best team in the league — it’s one of the best in WNBA history.

The 2023 runners-up worked to bolster their bench in the offseason. They added playmakers with size (Ivana Dojkic and Leonie Fiebich) and upgraded overall athleticism with Kennedy Burke, Marquesha Davis and Jaylyn Sherrod. More options down the roster should help during the regular season, but ultimately, the success of New York will come down to its starting lineup being better. The Liberty’s best five were outplayed by Las Vegas during the finals, and they’ll have to hope that a year of chemistry — plus a full healthy season from Jonquel Jones — helps them deal better with adversity in their second go-round.


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The Sun bring back their dominant frontcourt trio of DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones for a fifth straight season, though Thomas and Jones have missed large chunks of previous seasons due to injury. Nevertheless, the institutional knowledge shared by these three gives Connecticut a leg up to start the year. The Sun’s upside, as always, comes down to the production of their guards. Tiffany Hayes was Connecticut’s best perimeter player in the playoffs, but she’s gone, forcing Ty Harris, DiJonai Carrington and Tiffany Mitchell to take steps forward. Rachel Banham may end up being the most consequential offseason addition with her ability to heat up from deep.

The Storm are where the Liberty were at this time last year: a newly assembled super-team trying to jumpstart the process of developing continuity. Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor have been in Seattle for the entirety of their careers, which includes one title run, and Loyd and new point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith spent a year together at Notre Dame. However, that was more than a decade ago, and they’re also incorporating Nneka Ogwumike. Despite familiarity, expecting the Storm to start the season on fire is unreasonable. Nevertheless, their core four present an enviable balance of shot creation, floor spacing, finishing in the paint and defending their position. Furthermore, Noelle Quinn showed she was up to the challenge of coaching in the playoffs during Seattle’s epic 2022 semifinal series against the Aces. There’s a lot to like if the pieces come together in time.

Satou Sabally’s injury complicates matters for the Wings, but they should be stable enough to begin the season with three returning starters and better defense at point guard, thanks to Jacy Sheldon. Jaelyn Brown has also popped as a backcourt option, giving 2023 draftees Maddy Siegrist, Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Stephanie Soares more time to find their footing. Dallas’ frontcourt size is still incredibly challenging for most opponents, and without Sabally, the rest of the league could be treated to jumbo lineups of Natasha Howard, Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown.

This ranking mostly comes down to two factors: Napheesa Collier is a top-five player in the league in my estimation, and coach Cheryl Reeve always finds a way to put a roster together. The Lynx finally have an actual point guard to start the season in Courtney Williams and a high-quality backup in Natisha Hiedeman. They have shooting at nearly every position and can play two deep everywhere but center. I’m concerned whether Alanna Smith will hold up as a full-time five, and the frontcourt depth is a little light, but the perimeter firepower is formidable, especially if Diamond Miller takes a step in her sophomore season.

The Fever probably have the brightest future of any team, except maybe the Aces, but it will take some time to get there. For now, they seem certain to score well; the quartet of Caitlin Clark, Kelsey Mitchell, NaLyssa Smith and Aliyah Boston poses too many challenges for opposing defenses. With so much youth on the roster, Indiana will be able to push the pace and tire out opponents. However, the Fever are equally likely to concede points. No one in the starting five is renowned for her defense, and even Boston — a national defensive player of the year in college — was powerless to lift Indiana beyond 11th in defensive rating in 2023. It will be interesting to see if coach Christie Sides favors more defensive-minded players like Kristy Wallace, Grace Berger and Celeste Taylor in the early going to build a defensive foundation or if she lets scorers figure out both sides of the ball.


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I try not to react too heavily to preseason results — each team has different priorities coming in, and it’s difficult to make conclusions based on those disparate objectives. However, watching Atlanta blow a double-digit lead felt all too familiar and made me newly disappointed about the Dream’s offseason. Rhyne Howard and Allisha Gray are excellent, and their internal improvement could take Atlanta to the next level. But it’s possible, at least until Jordin Canada comes back from injury, that this is still an undisciplined team that will go through huge lulls and give away winnable games. The Dream’s inconsistency makes them hard to trust.

The Mercury put together an impressive top six this offseason, but the gap between those rotation players and their seven to 11 is stark. If Brittney Griner and/or Diana Taurasi miss time, which is to be expected considering their injury histories and age, Phoenix will be relying on completely unproven players for minutes.  It’s worth noting that Griner missed the final preseason game and was using a scooter with a boot on her left foot. The Mercury have some serious offensive upside, and when shots are falling — especially at the Footprint Center, where they have a tremendous home-court advantage — they can look impressive. However, the Mercury are also small, with a couple of wings masquerading as power forwards, so rebounding could be a problem, especially since that has never been Griner’s best skill. With a new head coach and a lot of new additions, a messy start could be in store, but the talent is there to move up the standings during the season.

10. Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks are ostensibly attempting a rebuild, but Curt Miller doesn’t coach teams to lose. They’ll compete defensively, their starting five can hang with just about anyone, and Dearica Hamby looks poised to return to All-Star status after the league’s most impressive individual preseason performance. Beyond starters, Miller will have to work hard to find productive combinations with lots of young players and journeywomen. Los Angeles also doesn’t have a traditional center and could struggle with rim protection or guarding bigger fives.

The Sky have interesting young talent, and they’re certain to play hard under first-year coach Teresa Weatherspoon. However, spacing will be an issue, which makes things harder on their young bigs. Also, all of their best veterans are frontcourt players, and Chicago can’t give Elizabeth Williams, Brianna Turner and Isabelle Harrison all significant minutes, especially because Angel Reese and eventually Kamilla Cardoso need to get on the floor. Ideally, the Sky will use this season to determine if Dana Evans can be a starting point guard on a playoff team and to expand Reese’s offensive toolkit. I have no doubt her rebounding will translate, and she’ll score on plenty of putbacks, but this is a good time to clean up her finishing around the basket.


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The Mystics struggled to score last season, and that was when they featured one of the greatest offensive players of all time in Elena Delle Donne. Suffice it to say, that side of the ball could be a slog for Washington. The defensive personnel is strong, bookended by Brittney Sykes and Shakira Austin, but the Mystics’ offense will make things much harder for their defense. Will Eric Thibault lean on his veterans or go with a youth movement right away? Losing games wouldn’t be so bad for Washington’s future aspirations, but a second-year coach who was originally hired to lead a contender might not be willing to embrace tanking so easily.

(Photo of A’ja Wilson: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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