WNBA period is below: Breaking down contenders, pretenders

WNBA season is here: Breaking down contenders, pretenders

Immediately after navigating through the obstacles triggered by the coronavirus pandemic about the previous four months, the WNBA is poised to kick off the 2020 period, though far more than a dozen players have opted out for either overall health issues or to spend time battling for social justice. Teams documented to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the very first 7 days of July and the shortened 22-recreation season begins Saturday. Here’s a seem at the league landscape:

Top contenders

Washington Mystics: The defending champions are missing LaToya Sanders, Natasha Cloud and Tina Charles, who all opted out, while reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne, who has Lyme Disease but was denied a medical exemption to sit out, has not fully commited to enjoying. The Mystics will rely on 2019 Finals MVP Emma Meeseman, who averaged 21.8 points for each match in the 2019 postseason.

Seattle Storm: Showcasing 2018 league MVP Breanna Stewart, who skipped final period with a torn Achilles, guards Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd and ahead Natasha Howard, Seattle will be formidable in the West.

Los Angeles Sparks: G Brittney Sykes, F/C Kristine Anigew and G Seimone Augustus will direct LA, though the Sparks will overlook Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Oliver, who the two opted out.

Sabrina Ionescu
Sabrina IonescuAP

Chicago Sky: With Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Diamond DeShields in the backcourt, the Sky function one of the league’s very best trios.

The next degree

Phoenix Mercury: Diana Taurasi is again right after missing past period due to injuries and the team acquired star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith to go with All-Star centre Brittney Griner. Having said that, dropping forwards DeWanna Bonner (traded) and Jessica Breland (decide-out) could damage their title possibilities.

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Connecticut Sunshine: F Alyssa Thomas and G Jasmine Thomas will be substantial assets to DeWanna Bonner, a 3-time All-Star who comes East immediately after 10 seasons in Phoenix. But lacking All-Star Jonquel Jones (opt-out), Briann January (choose-out) and Natisha Hiedeman (quarantining) will harm their shot at a second straight finals run.

Las Vegas Aces: Not acquiring Liz Cambage and Kelsey Plum, who both opted out, will damage, but with star F A’ja Wilson, the Aces have a good chance at the playoffs.

Minnesota Lynx: Looking to make the playoffs for a 10th straight season, the Lynx are led by reigning rookie of the year Napheesa Collier and 2017 MVP Sylvia Fowles, nevertheless the no cost-company loss of longtime guard Seimone Augustus may possibly be high-priced.

Bottom dwellers

Atlanta Dream: The Desire were now a single of the WNBA’s worst groups and now will be absent returning starters Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes, who each opted out.

Indiana Fever: With veteran All-Star Candice Dupree and guards Kelsey Mitchell and Victoria Vivians, the Fever have a likelihood to surprise.

New York Liberty: Though No. 1 draft decide on Sabrina Ionescu may lift the Liberty in the future, remaining without Asia Durr (opt-out) and Rebecca Allen (choose-out) could possibly be an insurmountable challenge for an really youthful crew.

Dallas Wings: The Wings are dedicated to rebuilding all over next-yr star Arike Ogunbowale following investing Diggins-Smith in the course of the offseason.

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