The 2019 WNBA season has FINALLY arrived and we are about to experience the most pivotal season in league history. Injuries have devoured the league’s biggest stars and the 2019 draft just saw a new crop of potential stars enter the chat.
Before we run through some power rankings and award predictions, let’s quickly go through some of the biggest storylines entering 2019:
- Missing Superstars. You could make the argument that the four biggest stars in the WNBA are gone right now.
The defending MVP, Brenna Stewart, tore her achilles playing in a war torn nation.
The most decorated and accomplished player, Maya Moore, is taking a year off to follow her ministry and invest more time in her faith. God bless her.
The greatest shooter in WNBA history, Diana Taurasi, is out 10-12 weeks recovering from a back injury.
The most recognizable star, Skylar Diggins, decided to be super selfish and like, go create life so she’s out pregaming for Mother’s Day 2020.
And, oh just a few days ago it was reported that Sue Bird is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
- Brand New Commish: it’s 2019 and the WNBA has announced their first ever commissioner, Cathy Engelbert.
Something as simple as having a ‘commissioner’ does so much heavy lifting for helping grow and legitimize this league. Major American professional sports leagues don’t have presidents. They have commissioners. Good shit.
- Biggest trade ever?: Liz Cambage was the most dominant scorer in the league last season and promptly demanded a trade out of Dallas. Superstar shit. You wouldn’t get it.
Also, yes, I know I just asked if that was the biggest trade ever ignoring that Elena Delle Donne did the same thing two years ago. We’ll get to Elena later. Can we all live in the present please? Liz Cambage is our Shaquille O’Neal. I can’t remember all the way back to 2017. ‘Pre-Liz’ is all a blur.
POWER RANKINGS TYME YO.
12. Dallas Wings
I have a personal vendetta against Dallas this season as I will openly be rooting for their demise.
Just days before the start of the regular season, the Wings cut the 2019 National Player of the Year from Iowa, Megan Gustafson. This would be the perfect time to attempt to have a productive conversation about WNBA expansion as it’s absolutely ridiculous that the best college basketball player and automatic bucket-getter, can’t make a roster due to a simple lack of roster spots in a 12-team league.
Instead of that productive convo, I’m going double middle fingers at Dallas. Now we know why Liz Cambage wanted out and Skyler Diggins would rather fertilize eggs than play for Dallas this season.
Oh, plus they have the worst jerseys in the league. Bo0o Dallas.
11. Chicago Sky
New head coach. New general manager. Rebuilding SZN. James Wade is Cheryl Reeve’s former assistant in Minnesota so he knows what it feels like to be around a dynasty.
Chicago finished 3rd in 3-point shooting last season thanks to the reigning 3-point shooting contest winner, Allie Quigley. Anddd they just drafted UConn sharpshooter, Katie Lou Samuelson so they will be living behind the arc with assists leader, Courtney Vandersloot, feeding everyone.
Basketball purists are sick.
10. Indiana Fever
The Fever finished dead last in both rebounds and blocks in 2018.
Enter Teaira McCowan
Let. The. Bodies. Hit. The. Floor.
9. Seattle Storm
Breanna Stewart tore her achilles. Sue Bird has a knee injury. Their head coach, Dan Hughes, is out with cancer. It’s safe to say that the Seattle Storm won’t be back-to-back champs.
Again, another great time to have a productive conversation about the amount of money these women make. The best player in the league tore her achilles playing in a country without wifi because she needs to play basketball all year round in order to make slightly more than a substitute teacher.
Yes, the WNBA isn’t profitable yet but let’s not be naive about how businesses work. Netflix losses millions upon millions annually but they understand that in order to make that money back down the road, they need to spend money on talent.
If the WNBA wants to make money, they need to invest in their players and incentivize high school and college athletes to aspire to become WNBA players. Build stars from the ground up. Pay the homies.
8. Los Angeles Sparks
The Sparks acquired ESPN NBA analyst, Chiney Ogwumike, to join her sister Nneka and further her broadcasting career. Maybe play some basketball too on the side.
The world needs Chiney and Candace Parker to join forces and start their own NBA show outside of the creepy men like Isiah Thomas and Jason Kidd that work at NBA TV.
Speaking of creepy men that work at NBA TV, Derek Fisher is the new Sparks head coach. Did you see him coach the Knicks? I saw him coach the Knicks. Why is he coaching again?
[insert mandatory Matt Barnes joke]
7. New York Liberty
Stockton/Malone. Nash/Stoudemire. Magic/Kareem. Jerry West/Wilt Chamberlain.
And now Asia Durr/Tina Charles have been brought together, by the will of god, one would assume, to take over the WNBA.
Sometimes you need to bring in a new puppy to help invigorate your old dog and bring some energy back into their life. Tina Charles is the best power forward in the NBA and Asia Durr’s intensity is going to give Tina a shot of cocai—I mean, adrenaline.
6. Minnesota Lynx
Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen are gone. These aren’t your parents Lynx’s. But fret not, future Hall of Famer, Sylvia Fowles, is still very much in Minnesota. She’d be the best player on the Timberwolves right now.
And she’s not alone. She’s brought along some young guns. The Lynx drafted Napheesa Collier from UConn, who is the best all-around player and an absolute STEAL in the draft and Jessica Shephard from Notre Dame, who transformed into Draymond Green in the March Madness tournament locking down players defensively and pushing fast breaks. The Lynx will forever be a fun team to watch.
5. Atlanta Dream
It’s almost disrespectful that I failed to mention that Angel McCoughtry might miss the entire season with a knee injury of her own. I’m ashamed of myself.
Angel McCoughtry is such an automatic bucket that she was a failsafe for this offense. Things break down, give Angel the rock and job back on D. Repeat.
But keep an eye on Tiffany Hayes. Hayes is going to need to step up to fill the scoring hole and the woman who scored 17 a game last year is ready to fill the void.
4. Phoenix Mercury
With Diana Taurasi expected to miss about 2 months of the season, let’s talk about DeWanna Bonner, the secret engine that will lead this team to a deep playoff run.
Sure, Taurasi will drain a contested 3-pointer in your face and then tell you to suck her dick and Britney Griner’s presence in the paint completely eliminates all inside scoring of the opposition
But Dewanna Bonner is an All Star who averaged 17 points and 7.2 rebounds. She’s the most versatile player on the floor at all times. I stil feel like there’s one more level she can jump to this season.
3. Connecticut Sun
Do you know which team led the WNBA in points last season? Kind of a dumb question, I reckon. You can clearly see I’m about to talk about the Sun. So obviously the answer is Connecticut. YOU trying writing a WNBA 2019 season preview. I dare you.
Sure, Chiney Ogwumike was their leading scorer but good riddance. More opportunities for Alyssa Thomas and Jonquel Jones to get buckets. Everyone purchase Alyssa Thomas stock. She might fuck around and lead the Sun to a title. You heard it here first, FOLKS.
2. Washington Mystics
You could make the argument that Elena Delle Donne would’ve won the chip last season if her legs didn’t explode in the postseason. Now the Mystics are bringing back Belgian brawler, Emma Meesseman, who is a 6-foot-4 39% career 3-point shooter and will swat your weak shit at the rim.
With Seattle and Phoenix limping into 2019, Washington’s championship window shattered wide open like Stone Cold Steve Austin is stomping down the ramp ready to raise hell.
1. Las Vegas Aces
The 2018 WNBA leading scorer and the third best scorer are now sharing the same front court in Las Vegas. This is the best front court in WNBA history.
There are women with size in this league but none of them have the offensive skills and footwork of Liz Cambage and A’Ja Wilson.
Should probably mention they also have 26-year old phenom shooting guard, Kayla McBride who averaged 18 points last season.
Double any of those players. Go for it. See what happens. Actually, I’ll spoil the ending. They dish the ball out to the perimeter to Kelsey Plum, who shot 43% from behind the arc last year.
Everyone is dead, the Las Vegas Aces killed them.
2019 Award Predictions.:
- MVP: Elena Delle Donne. Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore have been taking food from Delle Donne’s mouth for years. 2019 belongs to Elena.
- Rookie of the Year: Napheesa Collier. Don’t believe me, just watch.
- Scoring Leader: Tina Charles. GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO.
- Most Improved: Kelsey Plum. The second-year sharpshooter is suddenly on a super team which means all eyes are on her. She will get some respect on her name.
- All-WNBA First Team: C Liz Cambage F Elena Delle Donne F Tina Charles G Tiffany Hayes G Jewell Loyd
And finally, your 2019 WNBA Champions…
Las Vegas. Obviously. Duh.