2022 WNBA Offseason Grades


The 2022 WNBA off-season has been, well, crazy.  

We’ve seen big names changing jerseys, league-altering trades, and a few teams in an arms race for the 2022 title. These grades are not an indication of how good each team will be; rather, they are meant as an analysis of how much each team has improved with their off-season moves thus far. 

Without further ado, the off-season grades for each team in the WNBA, ranked from worst to best: 

*= a new coach this season 

Atlanta Dream: C- 

Notable Re-signings/Additions: Tiffany Hayes, Erica Wheeler, Monique Billings, Nia Coffey, Megan Walker, Kia Vaughn, Tanisha Wright* 

Notable Losses: Courtney Williams, Chennedy Carter, Elizabeth Williams, Crystal Bradford, Tianna Hawkins 

Up in the Air: Odyssey Sims, Candice Dupree 

Coming off a chaotic season in Atlanta, the Dream will look for some more stability in 2022. They’re hoping that Tanisha Wright can start to turn the team around as their new head coach, but she’ll have her work cut out for her. Courtney Williams, the team’s leading scorer last season, signed with Connecticut. Elizabeth Williams and Crystal Bradford have each left as well. Luckily, the team re-signed veteran Tiffany Hayes.  

Perhaps the situation with Chennedy Carter was untenable, but it is still disappointing to see such a promising young player leave the team. Erica Wheeler was a nice return via trade. Although, it’s unlikely she’ll be able to completely make up for the lost production.  


Dallas Wings: C+ 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally (team option), Tyasha Harris (team option), Bella Alarie (team option) 

Notable Losses:

The Wings signed Arike Ogunbowale through the 2025 season, securing the superstar as their franchise player moving forward. It was a no-brainer move. Ogunbowale is one of the best young talents in the league. 

But that’s all they did. Besides exercising a few team options, Dallas has not made a single other move. They’re stuck in the middle-class of the league. Last season, they barely made the playoffs, and lost handily to the eventual champion Sky. There’s an argument to be made that as a young team, they will improve next season. But with the rest of the league getting better, it’s tough to imagine a world in which the Wings are competing with the league’s elite.  


Indiana Fever: B- 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Bria Hartley, Lindsay Allen, Emma Cannon, Jazmine Jones, Victoria Vivians

Notable Losses: Kysre Gondrezick, Julie Allemand 

Up in the Air: Jessica Breland 

With Kysre Gondrezick being cut, the Fever have now gotten rid of their last two first round draft picks (the other being Lauren Cox). Both were picked in the top four. No matter how you look at it, that is an absolute failure. Especially for a team that needs to rebuild. 

On the other hand, the Fever pulled off a smart trade last week that resulted in them getting Bria Hartley and multiple draft picks. Hartley only played six games for the Mercury last year, but in her previous two healthy seasons, she averaged 12.2 points and almost four assists. She should be an offensive catalyst for a team that had the worst record in the league last season. The Fever also grabbed Jazmine Jones after she was waived by the Liberty, who will provide energy and leadership.  

Indiana will have three first round picks in April’s draft. Assuming they have learned from their previous draft mistakes, they’ll be able to set themselves up with a better team in 2022. 


Washington Mystics: B- 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Myisha Hines-Allen, Elizabeth Williams, Megan Gustafson, Tianna Hawkins, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough 

Notable Losses: Tina Charles, Emma Meesseman 

Up in the Air: Leilani Mitchell

Mystics fans rejoiced last week when Elena Delle Donne said she’ll be healthy and ready to go for the start of the 2022 season. While this wasn’t technically an offseason move, it was the most important piece of news for Washington this offseason. The last time we saw a healthy Delle Donne, she was holding the championship trophy. 

But the team lost Tina Charles, who won last year’s scoring title. When the team signed her last offseason, they envisioned a dynasty led by their two frontcourt stars. We never got to see that, and now Delle Donne will have to do it on her own. Elizabeth Williams was a nice pickup, but she won’t make up for everything Charles brought to the table.  


Minnesota Lynx: B 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry, Layshia Clarendon, Rachel Banham, Bridget Carleton 

Notable Losses:  

It’s been a positive offseason in Minnesota. Sylvia Fowles is returning for what is likely her last season. Layshia Clarendon is back. And Angel McCoughtry was signed away from Las Vegas. If all goes according to plan, they should be among the top teams in the league. 

The problem is, betting on “all going according to plan” is a significant risk. Fowles is 36. McCoughtry is 35 and has been injured a lot in the last few seasons. The team will also be without Napheesa Collier for much of the season. We should never bet on injuries, but asking an aging, oft-injured roster to play a full season and multiple playoff rounds is a big ask. We’ll see if the risk pays off.  


New York Liberty: B+ 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Stefanie Dolson, Rebecca Allen, Sandy Brondello* 

Notable Losses: Jazmine Jones, Leanna Odom 

Up in the air: Marine Johannes, Reshanda Gray 

While the Liberty didn’t make a huge splash, everything is going in the right direction. Their young core was already locked in for next season. They re-signed Rebecca Allen, who will play a key role off the bench for the team. Sandy Brondello will bring experience and a winning culture as the franchise’s new head coach.  

The team had one major need: a center. The team made one major signing: a center. Stefanie Dolson solves a lot of New York’s problems. She’s good at everything they struggled with last year. 

The Liberty haven’t yet jumped into contender status. But they reportedly had meetings with some big names (notably Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd). Simply getting those meetings bumps their grade from a B to a B+. Big things could be brewing in Brooklyn… 

Seattle Storm: B+ 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Mercedes Russell, Briann January, Gabby Williams, Stephanie Talbot 

Notable Losses: Katie Lou Samuelson, Jordin Canada 

The Storm look poised to make one last run in the Sue Bird era. Their core of Bird, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Lloyd, and Mercedes Russell will all be back. They traded Katie Lou Samuelson for Gabby Williams, and signed Briann January. All in all, a successful offseason. Expect Seattle to be right in the thick of things come playoff time. 

However, Stewart and Lloyd are each only signed through 2022. They both reportedly took meetings with the New York Liberty. Bird will almost assuredly retire at the end of this season. This could very well be the last year of prosperity in Seattle, at least for a while.  

Chicago Sky: A- 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Courtney Vandersloot, Kahleah Copper, Julie Allemand, Crystal Bradford, Emma Meesseman 

Notable Losses: Diamond DeShields, Stefanie Dolson 

Up in the Air (or, should I say, Up in the Sky): Allie Quigley (very likely to return), Astou Ndour-Fall 

After the Chicago Sky reportedly gave the best point guard in the league a “disrespectful offer,” the team was at risk of losing both Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. If that happened, Chicago would have been missing four of the most important players from their title team (Sloot, Quigs, Stefanie Dolson, and Diamond DeShields). Not optimal. 

However, on Friday, Vandersloot reportedly agreed to come back to the Sky on a one-year deal. Her wife, Allie Quigley, will almost assuredly follow suit and re-sign with Chicago. All seems mended in Chi-Town.

The Sky signed Crystal Bradford, who is a talented player, but a probable downgrade from DeShields. They also landed Emma Meesseman, who should slot in very well in the Dolson role.

Finals MVP Kahleah Copper re-signed to stay in the Windy City for multiple years. Julie Allemand was also a nice pickup, especially now that we know she won’t have to fill Vandersloot’s shoes. The Sky didn’t get much better, but they didn’t get worse. For a team that won the Finals last season, that’s really all you can ask for.

Los Angeles Sparks: A- 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Liz Cambage, Te’a Cooper, Jordin Canada, Chennedy Carter, Katie Lou Samuelson

Notable Losses: Erica Wheeler, Gabby Williams 

They’re swinging for the fences in Los Angeles. The only possible outcomes are a home run or a strikeout. 

After a disappointing season, the Sparks have made some major moves: Trading Erica Wheeler for Chennedy Carter, and (reportedly) signing Liz Cambage. They’ll also add Katie Lou Samuelson and Jordin Canada to the mix, along with re-signing Te’a Cooper. 

The team didn’t make the playoffs last season, and they’re running out of time to win with the Ogwumike sisters. Cambage is a major addition. Carter is young with a lot of potential. Both players raise the ceiling immensely for what this team can be.  

There is, of course, risk involved in bringing all these players together. Cambage and Carter are two of the more, shall we say, interesting personalities in the league. But the Sparks got better. By a lot.  


Las Vegas Aces: A- 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: A’ja Wilson, Riquna Williams, Kiah Stokes, Becky Hammon* 

Notable Losses: Liz Cambage, Angel McCoughtry 

Some may be surprised with this grade, since the Aces lost a star and didn’t acquire any new talent. But the team locked in their franchise player for another two years and are bringing back most of their 2021 team.  

The impact of signing A’ja Wilson can’t be overstated; she can be the best player in the league. If you have the best player in the league, you always have a shot at the title. Losing Liz Cambage does matter, but it’s not as big of a loss as you might think. The Aces were better in the 2020 season (in which Cambage did not play), with Wilson winning MVP and the team making the Finals.  

Becky Hammon is also the new coach for this team, and she should make a significant impact. When the rumors started that Hammon was open to taking a WNBA job, she was the most sought-after candidate. With a new coach and a superstar on a new deal, the Aces are not to be messed with. 


Connecticut Sun: A  

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Jonquel Jones, Courtney Williams, Natisha Hiedeman, Beatrice Mompremier 

Notable Losses: Briann January 

Just like the Aces, the Sun got a big commitment from their MVP. Jonquel Jones signed a new contract that will keep her in Connecticut for multiple years. Jones is in “best-player-in-the-league” territory, and as stated above, this automatically makes the Sun contenders.  

Connecticut was easily the best defense in the league last year. Now, they add Courtney Williams back into the mix. Williams is an All-Star who brings perimeter talent and an offensive spark. She led the Dream in scoring in 2021.  

The Sun had a disappointing early playoff exit, so look for them to be hungry to get to the Finals. With Jones and Williams, plus others like DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones, Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas, and Natisha Hiedeman, they certainly have the pieces they need to get there. 


Phoenix Mercury: A++ 

Notable Re-Signings/Additions: Tina Charles, Diamond DeShields, Sophie Cunningham, Kia Nurse, Shey Peddy, Vanessa Nygaard* 

Notable Losses: Bria Hartley 

So, let me get this straight. Last year’s runners-up are returning almost everyone on their roster, ADDING an All-Star level player, AND adding last year’s scoring champ? Are we sure they’re operating under the same rules as everyone else?  

Tina Charles is the single biggest signing of this offseason. Diamond DeShields is only entering her fifth season, and was an All-Star just two seasons ago. PLUS, they keep Sophie Cunningham, Kia Nurse, and Shey Peddy. 

They did have to trade Bria Hartley to Indiana to get DeShields. Hartley is a really nice player, but only appeared in six regular season games for Phoenix last season, so that’s not a huge loss. Oh yeah, and they’re adding all of this to Skylar Diggins-Smith (who was ninth in scoring last year), Brittney Griner (who was second in scoring last year), and the GOAT herself, Diana Taurasi. If you’re the opposing defense, who do you double team? Who do you leave open?  

The Mercury’s offseason has been a tier above everyone else’s. In turn, their roster is a tier above everyone else’s. Barring injury or something crazy, I’d be shocked if another team wins it all in 2022. 

About Jack Levenberg

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