Are you wanting to start following the WNBA and looking for a team to call your own? If the answer is yes, then look no further than this handy preseason guide. If the answer is no, then consider why you hate good basketball and just keep reading anyway since you’re already here.
This is part one in a three-part series leading up to the 2022 season tip off on Friday, May 6th. I’ll be giving you a rundown of the basics you should know for every single team to help you decide whether or not they’re deserving of your undying loyalty. There’s 12 teams in the league (expansion now, please), so we’ll discuss 4 teams at a time.
Let’s get started.
2021 RECAP: It would be appropriate for me to just say “MESS” here and leave it at that, but I’ll provide a little more context. The Dream had new ownership, no general manager, and no head coach last season, and the effects of this disarray were alarming.
Infighting erupted among some of the best players in the locker room, and the team never recovered. They missed the postseason with an abysmal 8-24 record. To make matters worse, and I assure you this is completely true, two players were suspended by the league a month after the WNBA finals for taking part in a literal brawl at a food truck in the parking lot of a local Atlanta club.
PROS: All the major players involved in the aforementioned mess are not on the team anymore, so 2022 could definitely be a bit of a clean slate for the Dream. They now have both a general manager and a coach—fantastic start, I know—plus they added the dynamic incoming rookie Rhyne Howard with the first overall pick in the draft. The bar is so low it’s beneath the floor, the foundation, and the bedrock of the earth, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.
CONS: Turning over a new leaf means there may be an adjustment period, so who knows how they’ll handle their new look and feel as a team. These young players could be very entertaining, but they could also be very chaotic.
2021 RECAP: This is as good as it gets, folks. The Sky are the reigning champions after a thrilling playoff run starting from the 6th seed. The Chicago-Phoenix finals series was a fun one, and I feel especially bad for anybody who missed the moment that gave us the iconic Kahleah Copper vs. Sophie Cunnigham photo (I’m begging you to look this up if you haven’t seen it already).
PROS: There are so many easily rootable players on this team who are all looking to run it back. Copper was one of the most exciting players in the league last season, and she will likely carry her 2021 Finals MVP energy with her into this year. The Sky’s backcourt is led by top tier guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, whose partnership you’ll be even more impressed by when you realize they’re married to each other.
Oh yeah, and having basketball legend Candace Parker on your team helps, too.
CONS: Do you really want to just hop on a bandwagon?
2021 RECAP: The Sun finished the regular season with a league-best 26-6 record thanks largely in part to 2021’s MVP Jonquel Jones and COY Curt Miller. The postseason took a sharp turn, however, as they only managed to win one game in their matchup against the Sky after their #1 seed gave them a bye straight to the semifinals.
PROS: While Jones is incredible in her own right, she’s also got a lot of weapons surrounding her. There’s a high likelihood that DeWanna Bonner or Brionna Jones could take over the game at any given moment. And if you like your basketball teams to double as a reality dating show, then you’ll be happy to learn that there’s not one but two sets of girlfriend teammates over in Connecticut.
CONS: The jury is still out on whether or not the Sun can actually get the job done in crunch time, so picking them as your team may leave you with a lot of high hopes and hurt feelings. They’ve also got one of the worst color schemes in the league, so if you’re really into wearing team apparel, you might want to keep moving.
2021 RECAP: Despite having a sub-.500 record in the regular season, the Wings secured the 7th seed in the playoffs, but their postseason didn’t get very far off the ground after they ran into the knife-wielding monster that is the Sky in the first round. The Wings still exceeded a lot of expectations, though, since it was coach Vickie Johnson’s first year with the team while they were—and still are—also the youngest squad in the league.
PROS: I have two words for you: Arike Ogunbowale. The fourth-year guard is an electric scoring machine that’s impossible to take your eyes off. Seriously, she has this innate ability to consistently hit game winners as if it were as natural and easy as supporting women’s sports (see what I did there?).
Newly acquired center Teaira McCowan, who ranked among the league’s top 5 in blocks per game last year, will also be one to watch alongside other fun returners like Allisha Gray and Marina Mabrey. The best case scenario for a Wings fan this year will be having your low expectations slightly surpassed for a surprising and enjoyable ride.
CONS: I have two words for you: Greg Bibb. The president and CEO of the Wings has got to have at least one of the guys from Impractical Jokers in his ear telling him to sabotage his own team at all times. The man is a menace whose nonsensical decisions are actually Dallas’s biggest rival.