WNBA Season Preview Part 3:New York, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington

Arial Atkins playing

Welcome to Part 3 of my season preview! Yes this part 3 is coming out after these teams have played between 1 and 2 games, but oh well, it is still very early in the season. Things happen when you write a blog as a hobby. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

New York Liberty


Courtney Vandersloot PG

Sabrina Ionescu SG

Betnijah Laney SF

Breanna Stewart PF

Jonquel Jones C


Stefanie Dolson Big

Kayla Thornton Wing

Marine Johannès Guard


This team will score in bunches basically no matter who is playing, so the ceiling will be dictated by the defense. To that end, does Kayla Thornton ever supplant Betnijah Laney as the fifth player on the court in key moments. Or does the team go all offense all the time with Marine Johannès. It is genuinely an open question that likely needs to be decided by experimentation in the playoffs. Which of the Johannès, Laney, Thornton trio helps the Liberty play acceptable defense and amzing offense will be key to this team being able to defeat the Aces. How New York guards Chelsea Gray, and to a lesser extent Kelsey Plum, will be the key thing to watch when the Liberty and Aces meet up in the regular season.

Phoenix Mercury


Moriah Jefferson PG

Diana Taurasi SG

Sophie Cunningham SF

Brianna Turner PF

Brittney Griner C


Sug Sutton guard

Micheala Onyenwere wing

Megan Gustafson big


Other than the obvious of how does Griner look, which after two games is surprisingly good, who off the bench on this team will contribute to winning? This might be the thinnest of the teams who are not rebuilding in the W of players who have shown an ability to contribute in the W. Other than Turner and Cunningham, the Mercury starters are not players who should be relied on for heavy minutes so the bench should be playing. Given the lack of experience and proven contributions, the Mercury should be looking at the waiver wire and seeing who might be waiting a call and better than some of their bench options. I would, however, not recommend the Mercury trade their first round pick in 2024 or 2025 for a quick fix, since Caitlin Clark + Britney Griner would be something to see. 



Mercedes Russell C

Ezi Magbegor PF

Kia Nurse SF

Jewell Loyd SG

Ivana Dojkic or Jade Melbourne PG


Jordan Horston wing

Sami Whitcomb guard

Jade Melbourne or Ivana Dojkic guard


Who on this team besides Jewell and Ezi will be playing on their next good team in 2025 or 2026? Similar to the questions for the Fever and the Lynx, this is where teams that have little hope this season or next of winning a playoff round reside. That’s why I have the Storm starting either Dojkic, a 25 year old rookie from Croatia, or Melbourne, a 20 year old rookie from Australia. The team should also be seeing which of Kaila Charles or Arella Guirantes could be contributors off the bench on a better team. Can they keep Jewell Loyd happy enough to re-sgn with them and still be bad enough to get a top draft pick? If a couple of their current players look very promising, but don’t help win games yet, that would be ideal in helping them thread that needle.



Natasha Cloud PG

Ariel Atkins SG

Brittney Sykes SF

Elena Delle Donne PF

Shakira Austin C


Tianna Hawkins Big

Li Meng Wing

Kristi Toliver Guard


How does this team score enough to keep up with either the Aces or the Liberty in the second round of the playoffs? They should be good enough to be at least top 4  in the league and win a round of the playoffs. But can they keep up with the Aces or Liberty? A healthy EDD gives you a high floor as an offense, but she can not single-handedly beat the Aces or Liberty. While Sykes was a great pickup for the team’s defense, her lack of shooting becomes more of a hindrance in the playoffs. Neither the Aces nor Liberty are going to guard any of the Mystics starters outside of Atkins and EDD beyond the 3 point line. A possible adjustment would be seeing what can Toliver provide in place of Sykes in key moments. While the defense would suffer, the Mystics would still have multiple good defenders on the court and hopefully enough spacing. 

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