This year’s WNBA playoffs It feels very open. The Aces entered the playoffs as big favorites, but each of the top five seeds has a realistic chance of winning it all.
Las Vegas has been the front-runner for the league’s best offense of the year. The gap between the Aces No. 1 offense and the league’s No. 2 offense (3.8 points per 100 possessions) is larger than the gap between the league’s No. 2 and No. 6 offense. Vegas’ defense is a bit shaky, ranking sixth among the league’s 12 teams. Will Las Vegas’ emphasis on offense tempo continue to pay off when the game slows down in the playoffs?
The Sky and Suns feel like the two most balanced teams in the league. The Suns lead the league with a +9.5 net rating (the Ace is second with a +7.7). Connecticut was the favorite to win last year, but was beaten by Chicago in the semifinals. Before their incredible playoffs, the Sky were just .500 in last year’s regular season. This year, the Sky have been an elite team all season, holding on to the No. 1 seed until their penultimate game. The Sky have plenty of veterans — Candace Parker and Allie Quigley are 36, Courtney Vandersloot is 33 — but it’s doubtful they’ve worked too hard this year’s regular season . What Chicago needs to watch out for is Parker’s 3-point shooting: She finished the regular season 3-for-20 from the field. If the Sky are going to win it all, they need Parker to hit a 3-pointer on her pick-and-roll attempt.
Liberty feels like the biggest threat to opening a first-round upset. Former No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu had a solid third season as forwards Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney toughened New York’s interior. Can New York really beat the defending champs in the first round? I doubt it, but it’s not an easy series for Chicago.
The winner of the Storm-Mystics series will also receive the title. As I detail in this article, Stewart is my MVP pick, and Jewell Lloyd is one of the toughest guards in the league. Dale Donne still has the potential to be a top-three player when fully healthy, and Washington has been very strong on the court this year. Adding Tina Charles to the Storm midseason adds more offensive firepower to the team.
First round prediction:
Trump is at Mercury II.
A Storm on Mystics in Three Minutes.
Two-thirds of the free sky .
The sun is above the wings.
Four trump cards against the Storm.
five points within the sky.
WNB Finals Prediction:
Three out of five ace.