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WNBA power rankings: Sky looks to defend their title

The Chicago Sky surprised everybody by winning the WNBA Finals last season, but they won’t surprise anybody this time around.

Candace Parker #3 of the Chicago Sky walks backcourt during Game Four of the WNBA Finals against the Phoenix Mercury at Wintrust Arena on October 17, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

With the 2022 WNBA regular season scheduled to tip-off on Friday, it’s a good time to look at where each team stands after an exciting offseason. The Chicago Sky surprisingly won the WNBA Finals over the Phoenix Mercury in four games. Candace Parker and Co. took the tough road to get to the finals, but it was worth it in the end.

However, the Sky should expect everybody’s best shot this season as the rest of the league tries to dethrone them. Along with Chicago, don’t be surprised to see the Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces, Seattle Storm, and Phoenix Mercury in the running to make another deep playoff run. Below we will unveil our initial power rankings heading into this season, which will change throughout the spring and summer.

1. Chicago Sky

The Sky finished last season with the second-best record in the East at 16-16 and ended up winning the whole thing. Chicago brings back most of their roster from last season, except Diamond DeShields (Phoenix) and Stefanie Dolson (New York).

The Sky also signed Emma Meeseman, which will give them another shooter to pair with Allie Quigley on the perimeter. With the core of Parker, Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, and Kahleah Copper still intact, do not be surprised to see James Wade’s crew be back in the WNBA Finals.

2. Connecticut Sun

The Sun lost in the conference semifinals to the Sky last season after finishing with the league’s best record (26-6). Connecticut will be one of the best teams this season in the WNBA as they bring back last year’s roster and added Courtney Williams.

Jonquel Jones is coming off of an MVP season, where she averaged 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. She also shot 51.5% from the field and 36.2% from three. When you combine her production, along with what you get from DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones, Alyssa Thomas, and DiJonai Carrington, this is a team that should be playing in the finals.

3. Las Vegas Aces

The Aces will be in the running for the title and are the favorite to win it this year, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Las Vegas made a major in the offseason, hiring six-time WNBA All-Star and former Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon to be their new head coach.

Hammon steps into a situation in Vegas, where she has 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and an outstanding collection of guards in Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, Kesley Plum, and Riquna Williams. We can’t forget about Dearica Hamby, who is coming off of her first All-Star Game appearance last season.

4. Phoenix Mercury

The Mercury are looking to get back to the WNBA Finals this year after losing in four games to the Sky. Phoenix shockingly parted ways with Sandy Brondello after the 2021 season and hired Vanessa Nygaard to be the new head coach.

Nygaard will be looking to lead this veteran squad that added both Diamond DeShields and Tina Charles in free agency. DeShields and Charles will help out Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith on both sides of the ball. Also, the Mercury and the rest of the league hopes that we’ll see Brittney Griner soon back in United States safely.

5. Seattle Storm

The Storm will look to get Sue Bird to a WNBA Finals in her final season in the WNBA. Bird is wrapping up an illustrious 19-year career, all with the Storm. Seattle will always be a tough out as they have Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd, who proved that she can be a bonafide star in this league.

6. Minnesota Lynx

While all the attention is on Bird and what she’s done in the league, we also cannot forget that this is Sylvia Fowles’ final season. Fowles has been one the cornerstone players in the WNBA for countless years and is one of the league’s best centers.

Last season, she averaged 16.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, which is something she hasn't done since 2018 (17.7 ppg, 11.9 rpg). Along with Fowles, the Lynx still have Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride, Angel McCoughtry, and Aerial Powers.

7. Washington Mystics

The Mystics could be a sleeper to make it to the WNBA Finals. They are completely healthy and have the veteran experience led by Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, Alysha Clark, Tianna Hawkins, and Myisha Hines-Allen. Mike Thibault will have his team ready to play and if EDD can return to 2019 form, watch out for Washington.

8. New York Liberty

The Liberty will try to go further than they did last season with new head coach Sandy Brondello on the sidelines. The Liberty are led by Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu, who played a significant role in New York’s success last season.

The Liberty also have last year’s Rookie of the Year in Michaela Onyenwere and emerging second-year guard DiDi Richards. Then in free agency, they added Stef Dolson, who will help out in the frontcourt with Natasha Howard.

9. Dallas Wings

The Wings made the playoffs last season, thanks to the fantastic play of Arike Ogunbowale, who is a certified bucket every time she steps on the floor. Last year, Ogunbowale averaged 18.7 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. She also shot a career-high 37.6% from three-point range.

Along with Ogunbowale, opposing teams also have to worry about Marina Mabrey, Satou Sabally, and Allisha Gray. The Wings signed Teaira McCowan, who could be an x-factor for this team.

10. Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks could be a really good team this season, if they can gel with all the new faces they added to the team. Los Angeles added All-Star center Liz Cambage in free agency and acquired dynamic guard Chennedy Carter in a trade.

Cambage and Carter could help the Sparks be more competitive than they were last season and make a playoff push. Los Angeles also has Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, and Amanda Zahui B. Derek Fisher has the roster to do some damage, let’s see if it comes to fruition.

11. Indiana Fever

The Fever will try to improve from last year’s record of 6-26, which was the worst in the WNBA. Indiana has a few young players on their roster to be excited about in Destanni Henderson, NaLyssa Smith, and Lexie Hull.

However, the Fever also has a solid core of veteran play led by Kelsey Mitchell, who can score from anywhere on the perimeter. She averaged 17.8 points per game and will be the team’s leading scorer this season.

12. Atlanta Dream

The Dream are another young team in transition under new head coach Tanisha Wright. Atlanta will look for rookies Rhyne Howard, Naz Hillmon, and second-year guard Aari McDonald to be the future building blocks. But do not sleep on the veterans such as Tiffany Hayes, Erica Wheeler, and Monique Billings, who can score and will help this team improve from 2021.