The 2023 WNBA season is finally upon us and this could be one of the more interesting league campaigns to date. The Las Vegas Aces are the reigning champions, defeating the Connecticut Sun 3-1 in the WNBA Finals last September.
Armed with a loaded roster, the Aces are the favorites to repeat with +125 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook. Assembling a strong squad of their own in the offseason, the New York Liberty sit right behind Vegas with +135 odds to win it all later this summer.
Below we will unveil our initial power rankings heading into this season, which will change throughout the season.
1. Las Vegas Aces
2022 Results: 26-10, WNBA Champions
The reigning champions check in at No. 1 and it’s going to be difficult to knock them off their perch this season. With a stacked lineup that already included two-time MVP A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, and 2022 Most Improved Player Jackie Young, the franchise made a major move in the offseason by signing former MVP Candace Parker to a one-year deal. That move officially earned them the “superteam” label and further cemented their chances at hoisting back-to-back titles.
The last WNBA team to repeat as champions were the Lisa Leslie-led Los Angeles Sparks, who went back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. There’s a strong chance the Aces could pull that off this September.
2. New York Liberty
2022 Result: 16-20, First-round playoff exit
The Liberty emerged in the offseason as another “superteam” that could potentially counter Las Vegas. The team made a few offseason moves that should propel them to the top fas, notably making a pair of major signings in former MVP Breanna Stewart and veteran guard Courtney Vandersloot. These signing came just a few weeks after a monster three-team January deal where they dealt veteran Natasha Howard and got back former MVP Jonquel Jones. And just this week, they locked rising star Sabrina Ionescu into a multi-year deal through 2025.
Should things go according to plan, New York should find themselves duking it out with Vegas for the title later this summer.
3. Washington Mystics
2022 Result: 22-14, First-round playoff exit
The Mystics return their primary core from last season and that could be enough for them to give a serious challenge to both of the aforementioned “superteams.” A main catalyst for the team’s success will be having a fully healthy Elena Delle Donne back on the court. After missing nearly the entirety of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the two-time MVP suited up and played 25 games during the regular season last year. Meanwhile, Ariel Atkins is hitting her prime after making back-to-back All-Star Game appearances and 2022 first-round pick Shakira Austin projects to improve this season.
4. Dallas Wings
2022 Result: 18-18, First-round playoff exit
Dallas will have a new look this year under after making several changes in the offseason, notably hiring Los Angeles Sparks assistant Laticia Trammell as the new head coach. The Wings were active on the trade carousel in January, notably moving the likes of Allisha Gray and Kayla Thornton while acquiring Natasha Howard and Diamond DeShields. Armed with plenty of capital in the WNBA Draft, they used the No. 3 pick on prolific scorer Maddy Siegrist and the No. 5 pick on Lou Lopez Senechal. Combining all of these new faces with an established star like Arike Ogunbowale could make for an interesting Wings team that could contend.
5. Connecticut Sun
2022 Result: 25-11, WNBA Finals runner-up
After coming short of achieving the franchise’s first WNBA title, the Sun lost some critical pieces in the offseason. Notably, head coach Curt Miller left to take the Los Angeles Sparks job and former MVP Jonquel Jones was traded to the Liberty. Courtney Williams also left in free agency, singing with Chicago . However, the team did ship the No. 6 pick in the draft to Atlanta to get back veteran scorer Tiffany Hayes. She should fit right into a lineup that returns the core of Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones and that should allow for the Sun to make another crack at a postseason run.
6. Seattle Storm
2022 Results: 22-14, Second-round playoff exit
The Storm will have major holes to fill this year with the departure of Breanna Stewart to New York and the retirement of Sue Bird. That opens the door for Jewell Lloyd to run the show in the Pacific Northwest while former MVP Tina Charles can continue to provide a veteran presence. Former All-Star Kia Nurse provides depth while draftees Jordan Horston and Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu could make impacts in their first year. It’s never easy to replace legends like Stewart and Bird, but Seattle should be fine.
7. Phoenix Mercury
2022 Result: 15-21, First-round playoff exit
The biggest offseason development for not just the Mercury, but the entire league was center Brittney Griner returning home after being wrongfully detained in Russia for 10 months. The entire league rallied behind her cause to bring her home last year and she will suit up and play this season. Phoenix also got more good news with veteran guard Diana Taurasi waiving off retirement speculation to return for another year. However, depth may hold the Mercury back this year with star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith on maternity leave and Diamond DeShields being traded to Dallas.
8. Minnesota Lynx
2022 Result: 14-22, Missed playoffs
The Lynx missed the postseason last season for the first time since 2010 and it has come time for the league’s winningest franchise of the 2010’s to rebuild. The team bid farewell to former MVP Sylvia Fowles, who retired in the offseason. They also lost Moriah Jefferson to Phoenix in free agency. However, two-time All-Star Napheesa Collier will be back after missing most of the 2022 season due to her pregnancy. They also used the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft on dynamic shooting guard Diamond Miller. Minnesota is going through a transition period, but could be competitive by the end of the season.
9. Los Angeles Sparks
2022 Results: 13-23, Missed playoffs
L.A. is in the middle of its rebuild and made a few moves in the offseason that could get the franchise back to competing for the postseason. The team hired Curt Miller from Connecticut as its new head coach and acquired two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby from the Las Vegas Aces. The Sparks also used its first-round draft pick on All-American shooting guard Zia Cooke from South Carolina. They’re doing an effective job at surrounding Nneka Ogwumike with talent and we could see the team break through this year.
10. Chicago Sky
2022 Result: 26-10, Second-round playoff exit
Last season, Chicago fell short of successfully defending its title from the season prior. Now the franchise may have to reset expectations. The offseason was defined by the departures of critical pieces like Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, and Azura Stevens, along with Allie Quigley electing to sit out for the entire season. The acquisitions of Marina Mabrey, Courtney Williams, and Isabelle Harrison should provide some nice cover for Kahleah Cooper, but the Sky seem to be closer to a rebuild than contention.
11. Atlanta Dream
2022 Results: 14-22, Missed playoffs
Atlanta has finished well below .500 for each of the last four seasons and there’s reason to be optimistic for an upswing for this year. Rhyne Howard should take a step forward after winning Rookie of the Year last season and the team made a nice offseason trade acquisition for former Rookie of the Year Allisha Gray. Rookie guard Haley Jones should also get plenty of run in her first season out of Stanford. While this team may still not be ready for the postseason, they should take the requisite steps forward this year.
12. Indiana Fever
2022 Results: 5-31, Missed playoffs
Indiana has wandered the wilderness since 2017 and will most likely finish at the bottom of the league standings once again. However, the team may finally have a young core to build around, starting with 2023 No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston at center. Kelsey Mitchell averaged a career high in points and assists and could be hitting her prime while NaLyssa Smith was effective as a rookie last year. Throw in the signing of a veteran guard like Erica Wheeler and the Fever could finally trend up.