So you’ve decided to support the WNBA this season. First, I’m happy you’re here (but really what took you so long?), and second, let’s get you a team now.
This is part two in the three part rooting interest guide to help you decide which team you want to ride with through the glorious highs and lows of professional basketball. With less than a week until the 2022 season starts on Friday, May 6th, it’s getting down to crunch time.
The last iteration of this guide covered the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, and Dallas Wings, so we’re continuing where we left off to check the credentials of four more teams.
2021 RECAP: Look, I won’t sugarcoat this: the Fever were the worst team in the league last season. There’s not much to say that can defend a .188 winning percentage. I have no idea what head coach Marianne Stanley thought she was drawing up over there on the sidelines, but there’s a high probability it may be time to get a new prescription for those glasses.
The highlight of their year, though, was a new Stranger Things-themed jersey that at least made them look extremely cool while they lost.
PROS: The 2022 draft a couple of weeks ago was basically just the Indiana Fever show since they had four picks in the first round alone. They even managed to steal South Carolina star Destanni Henderson in the second round, as well. Henny could probably singlehandedly keep the vibes on point even if the team’s actual basketball is lackluster.
If you go with Indiana, you’d definitely always be rooting for the underdog, and everybody loves an underdog right?
CONS: The Fever gonna Fever. That’s been the case for quite a while now, and it would probably take a divine act to change at this point.
Las Vegas Aces
2021 RECAP: 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson led the Aces to the second seed in the playoffs averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds per game. The team had a double bye straight to the semifinals, but they lost to the Phoenix Mercury in a series that lasted all 5 games.
Coached by former bad boy Bill Laimbeer, Vegas made serious postseason runs the last several years but just couldn’t ever get the job done. They didn’t really try beating people up on the court, but—especially with Liz Cambage in their arsenal—maybe they should have considered it.
PROS: Laimbeer and Cambage may not be part of the team anymore, but the Aces added a new weapon who will make more money than anyone in the history of the WNBA without ever even having to suit up. In the offseason, Vegas signed 6x WNBA All-Star and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon to a million dollar head coaching contract (your loss, NBA). The Hammon hire alone would understandably be enough for loads of people to jump on the Aces hype train, but this team really is a whole Swiss Army knife.
I could talk all day about the many dynamic players on this roster, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just shout out veteran point guard Chelsea Gray, elite social media follow Dearica Hamby, and the human equivalent of a magician’s bag of tricks, Kelsey Plum. They really have all the pieces you could want in a legitimate title contender, so to quote the great philosopher Michael Jordan, “the ceiling is the roof” with this squad.
CONS: Even with the slight changes and returning ammunition, there’s definitely still a chance the Aces come up short once again. They might have some of the same “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” energy as the Connecticut Sun. And being a bridesmaid costs too much time and energy just to stand around at somebody else’s party in the ugliest dress you’ve ever seen.
Los Angeles Sparks
2021 RECAP: This was a bit of a rough one as The Sparks were the worst team in the Western Conference. It was a rebuilding year, and injuries plagued quite a few key players, including veteran star and WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike. They closed the regular season out with a 12-20 record, falling outside of playoff contention.
PROS: One of the biggest strengths of this team is their defense. The Sparks will be a nightmare for most offenses, especially with Brittney Sykes constantly running around like she’s been struck by lightning, chomping at the bit to steal any ball within a 10 foot radius. So let the church say “defense wins championships.”
They’ve acquired a lot of marquee names this past offseason like Liz Cambage, Jordin Canada, and Chennedy Carter. The chemistry between the new players and the returning players is seemingly already off the charts. All of the big personalities on this team—which, I suppose, might just be regular-sized personalities in Hollywood—will at least guarantee that the 2022 season should be a fun ride.
CONS: Head coach and general manager Derek Fisher has not really proven to be the guy you want leading the charge in your camp. He made some questionable decisions with Candace Parker, to say the least, so she left the organization after 13 years and won a championship in her first season with a different team. Any man who fumbles the bag that hard with a player that important should be watched with at least one eye at all times.
You’re also probably going to want to say a few prayers for Nneka’s knees just to be safe.
2021 RECAP: A season that was at times made sort of rocky by injuries and losing streaks was salvaged into a decent showcase by the end. Team leader Sylvia Fowles was awarded the 2021 DPOY award after finishing in the league’s top 2 in rebounds, blocks, and steals. The Lynx were the third overall seed in the playoffs and earned a bye to the second round, but they became just another casualty in the Chicago Sky’s wake.
PROS: Fowles has announced that this year will be her final season, and there’s no way she’s going to go out quietly. The Lynx could absolutely make a real run for the title, which would be a perfect send off for her 15-year career before she accomplishes her post-retirement goal of becoming—wait for it—a funeral director.
Wings Aerial Powers and Layshia Clarendon will also be huge factors in a championship mission. Here’s a fun fact: Clarendon is actually the WNBA’s first openly non-binary player and does incredible trans rights activism work when they aren’t in the gym. So if you’re feeling especially sick of J.K. Rowling’s foolishness in the news lately, Clarendon is a great player to declare your unconditional love for on and off the court.
CONS: 2019 ROY Napheesa Collier will miss at least part of the season to give birth to her first child in May. While this is obviously an incredible thing from a personal standpoint, this is not great news for any selfish Lynx fan. Collier might only sit out for a few weeks, or she might be gone for the entire season.
If you’re extremely out of the loop on the WNBA, then you probably also associate the Lynx with one specific person: Maya Moore. Let me rip the band aid and just tell you that Moore took a break from playing basketball in 2019, and it’s not looking like she’s going to make any kind of triumphant return within our lifetimes. Yes, we’re all very sad about it, but we’ve got to stop living in a fantasy land.