Dream Dreaming of a Fruitful Future


The Atlanta Dream, one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the WNBA, have the playoffs in their sight this season.

Atlanta looks to build on last year, where they exceeded all expectations. For the longest time, the Dream seemed to be stuck in limbo, not being very competitive. They finally found an identity last year under first-year head coach Tanisha Wright.

In just her first year coaching, Wright coached Atlanta to a 14-22 record, just one game short from their first playoff berth since 2018. She had some major help from the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, Rhyne Howard. Howard averaged 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. She made the All-Star team and won the Rookie of the Year Award. Howard is the key to the team’s future success.

A New Face

Atlanta not re-signing Erica Wheeler seemed like it would be a major loss. That was until a draft-night trade with the Dallas Wings that sent the Dream’s No. 3 pick and a future 2025 first-round pick to Dallas in exchange for the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year, Allisha Gray.

Gray will be an excellent pairing with Howard in the backcourt. Last season, Gray averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds on 40.8% shooting from three. That is now two elite shooters on the perimeter for the Dream and a top-five backcourt in the WNBA.

The Rooks

After making the draft-night trade, the Dream still had two top-ten picks in the draft. With the sixth choice in the draft, Atlanta selected the versatile guard from Stanford, Haley Jones. With the eighth pick, they selected 6-foot-4 forward from South Carolina, Laeticia Amihere.

Jones averaged 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in her senior season at Stanford. The Dream are very talented at the guard position, so she will have a lot of mentors this season. Jones’ playing time will probably be limited a decent amount, much like Aari McDonald’s rookie season, but she will provide in those minutes. She will add a tough defensive presence that Coach Wright will love. Jones is the perfect fit for Wright’s system.

Amihere came off the bench for South Carolina last year, but that is only because she played behind the first-overall pick in the draft, Aliyah Boston. Laeticia has incredible upside. She has the size to be a force defensively inside, and she has a nice handle for her size. Amihere looks comfortable in any role on the court. This year, she gets the chance to learn from a seasoned veteran of the league, Cheyenne Parker.

These rookies are in perfect position to become great players in this league and contribute to the bright future of the Atlanta Dream.

Dream Still Promising After Game 1 Loss

The Dream didn’t get the outcome they wanted in their season opener as they lost to the Dallas Wings, 85-78. There are some positives to take away, though. Atlanta weathered the storm that was Arike Ogunbowale, who had 20 points in the first half! Atlanta was down by 17 at the half after losing the second quarter 26-12.

Allisha Gray looked worrisome as she didn’t score a single point in the first half. Coach Wright made some critical adjustments at the half as the Dream looked like a completely different team in the second half. Even though they fell short, the Dream cut into Dallas’ lead and only lost by seven.

Gray was able to turn it up and finish the game with 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Rhyne Howard looked great as she scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. All of that with the all-defensive player, Natasha Howard, as her primary defender. Cheyenne Parker looked dominant inside with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Atlanta will have to build on that second-half momentum going forward. Tanisha Wright showed excellent coaching, Allisha Gray seemed to find her comfort zone within the offense and Rhyne Howard looked like the superstar she is.

A Dream Season?

The Atlanta Dream are building a dynasty. The only thing is, they are in the very early stages of that process. The Dream will ideally finish right around .500 and return to the playoffs this year.

Atlanta Dream fans finally have something to be excited about with this team. They have something to be excited about for a long time with this young core.

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About Jared Schmehl

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