WNBA

The Lead’s Top 25 WNBA Players for 2024

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The Lead’s Michael Tolliver contributed to this article. 

Heading into the highly anticipated 2024 WNBA season, take a dive into our top 25 player rankings.

This was a difficult exercise after the top-two spots. Realistically, there’s probably at least 10 players who could be as high as third if we were to do this exercise over again at the end of the season. That’s what makes this league so wildly entertaining.

Once you’re done reading this, head on over to wherever you get your podcasts and listen to The 6th Podcast of the Year‘s top 25 players, hosted by The Lead’s own, Snap Wilson, Robocoko and MJ Tolliver.

1. A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Aces

Most WNBA fans would agree there is a clear top-two players in the league, and you can’t go wrong with having either one of them in the top spot.

With that being said, A’ja Wilson gets the edge here, having just led her team to back-to-back WNBA Championships. The Las Vegas Aces are a star-studded juggernaut, but Wilson is the cog in the machine that keeps them going.

Defenders might know exactly what Wilson is going to do on offense, and most of the time, it simply doesn’t matter. The southpaw is so incredibly strong and her ability to finish through contact is unmatched. In addition, Wilson’s defensive prowess is always on display, as she’s the best defender at her position in the world. Her size and strength present a tough matchup for anyone on both sides of the ball. She has that aforementioned strength, but she also has a silky smooth finesse to her game that’s beautiful to watch.

She’s a perennial MVP candidate. This year will be no different.

2. Breanna Stewart, New York Liberty

To no one’s surprise, reigning MVP Breanna Stewart comes in at number two.

Stewart is one of the game’s most decorated players, having won four consecutive National Championships at UConn, as well as two WNBA championships with the Seattle Storm. Now playing for the New York Liberty, Stewart’s skillset is one you might replicate if you created a MyPlayer on 2K.

There’s really nothing on the court she can’t do. She’ll hit you with a post move one play, and the next time down the court she’ll step out and drain a three. On defense, Stewart uses her 7-foot-1 wing span to swat shots and get her hands in passing lanes.

Stewart, however, is coming off the worst stretch of her career in the 2023 playoffs. She couldn’t find the bottom of the bucket, which isn’t something fans are accustomed to seeing from her. She’ll be looking to prove that was nothing but a fluke.

Just like Wilson, Stewart always finds herself in the MVP conversations. However, no one has won back-to-back MVPs since Cynthia Cooper did it following the league’s inception in 1997 and 1998. Can Stewart join that club?

3. Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun

In the closest MVP race in league history, Stewart narrowly edged Connecticut Sun superstar, Alyssa Thomas.

Thomas actually received more first-place votes than Stewart, but she had seven less total voting points. In 2023, Thomas nearly averaged a triple-double, with 15.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. Thomas takes a lot of pride on the defensive end, as well. She can guard multiple positions on the court and is versatile as just about anyone in the league defensively.

All of Thomas’ work happens around the rim. She can’t step out much further than around 15 feet, due to labra tears in each of her shoulders. There’s no jump shot in sight for Thomas. Instead, you’ll see her signature push shot, which can be a bit jarring the first time you see it happen. It’s why her efficiency is so low and probably why she ultimately came up short in MVP voting.

Her game is very unique, and has more limitations than probably any other top-10 player— but she always finds a way to help her team be successful.

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4. Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx

Need a sleeper MVP pick this season? Here it is.

Napheesa Collier keeps getting better and better. She’s consistently in MVP conversations, but just a tier below the top two or three candidates every year. Last year was Collier’s best season yet with the Minnesota Lynx. Despite missing most of the prior season following the birth of baby Mila, she bounced back in a big way, averaging 21.5 points per game. That was good for fourth most in the entire league. Phee is also a rebounding machine, and an excellent defender. There’s a fluidity to Collier’s game that you only see from the best in the league.

Although her three-point shot was a little off last year, Collier needs to be guarded from long range. If she can find her shot again, like she did her first two seasons in the league, she will absolutely be a serious MVP contender.

One piece of business that might hold Collier back this season is roster construction. Similar to last year, the Lynx don’t have a true, dominant center on their team, the way they did when Sylvia Fowles roamed the paint, and they’ve stacked up on power forwards. So Collier will either be playing center, or will be playing next to another power forward acting as a pseudo center.

It would also behoove Cheryl Reeve to acquire a true ball distributor at the point-guard position to get her best player the ball! We’ll see if playing with Courtney Williams, who although she is not a true point guard, was an outstanding passer last year, benefits Collier at all.

5. Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

Coming off her return season last year, expect Brittney Griner to become one of the players we marvel at in 2024.

She has all the experience and tools to be successful. The Phoenix Mercury have now surrounded her with teammates that will help her be the best version of herself. She won’t need to sport a top six usage rate again since the floor will feature multiple playmakers and shot creators. She should see better spacing that should lead to less double and triple teams unless opposing teams want to pay the price. And even if she is double or triple teamed, she’s become adept at passing out of them and finding her teammates.

Don’t let last year’s record fool you. She’s still arguably a “Top 5, Not 5” player in this league. Prepare to see her put on her mask and gloves, then perform surgery on the floor. We may not see an uptick in her scoring output with the new additions, but we should be sure to see higher efficiency numbers and a better plus/minus. She has range all the way out to just inside the perimeter and is a beast on the elbows. Making this a well-oiled machine will simply come down to the coaching staff putting her in the best position to succeed within the offense.

She’ll miss the start of the season with a broken toe, but a temporary setback is sure not to break her top-five status.

6. Jonquel Jones, New York Liberty

Entering the 2023 season, Jonquel Jones made the decision to leave the Connecticut Sun and sign with the New York Liberty.

This decision paired her with Breanna Stewart in the front court. As was the case the season prior, however, JJ’s minutes were way down, leaving fans confused once again. She played just 25 minutes per game last season, and there were many games where she just didn’t look right when she was on the court. But as a former MVP in 2021, we know that when JJ is at her best, she’s borderline unstoppable. And that came to fruition during the 2023 playoffs when JJ asserted her dominance and was the Liberty’s best player throughout their playoff run.

JJ’s length and athleticism is what sets her apart from a lot of other players. She’s another big who’s capable of stepping out to the three point line and knocking down a big shot. She’s a great offensive rebounder. Some games when the offense is stagnant, it feels like her team’s best offense is to throw up a shot and let JJ clean up the mess. She matches up well defensively against the league’s best, and has also flashed as a distributor from time to time.

After last season, you can expect JJ to want to remind everyone that she’s a former MVP.

7. Nneka Ogwumike, Seattle Storm

One of the most underrated players in recent years has been none other than former Los Angeles Sparks superstar, Nneka Ogwumike.

She’s been the best player on her team since the tragic Derek Fisher fallout, as WNBA fans might recall. She’s been a top player for years but she just hasn’t been able to get her team over the hump due to roster construction and injury-riddled seasons the Sparks suffered. Now, she’s the new Vanguard of the Seattle Storm.

Packed with experience as a WNBA Champion and MVP, she will bring knowledge to her new team and help raise the game of her teammates. She’s been a leader by example in multiple ways. She doesn’t ever cry or complain— she just shows up. She will be a silent assassin this year now that she has the opportunity to make another championship run.

8. Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm

One of the league’s most prolific scorers, Jewell Loyd is coming off an epic season in which she led the league in scoring at 24.7 points per game.

She’s the first guard on this list for a reason. For someone who’s been used to winning, last year was a little different for Loyd. Her Seattle Storm finished 11th in the standings with a 11-29 record. That record would’ve been a lot worse without Loyd.

Loyd’s ability to create space for herself allows her to fire away from a distance. She’s a career 35.9% three-point shooter, and also is a value-added passer. Loyd is a good on-ball defender and is able to more than hold her own against the shifty guards in the league.

And now, she’ll be paired in the backcourt with another great defensive guard in Skylar Diggins-Smith, taking some of the defensive burden off Loyd. Expect her scoring to be down a bit from last year, with the addition of two other stars who can fill it up in the top 10 on the list joining her on the Storm.

She won’t have to carry the entire load, which will only benefit the team as a whole.

9. Chelsea Gray, Las Vegas Aces

In her ninth season in the league, Chelsea Gray had the best season of her career in 2023 with the Las Vegas Aces.

Before that, she had the best postseason run in the history of professional basketball (look away Seattle Storm and Connecticut Sun fans), en route to a WNBA Finals MVP Award. Gray is on a heater, for lack of better words. She’s known as The Point Gawd. All you have to do is watch one game and you’d see why. Her flashy behind the back or no look passes are unmatched and she often finds herself on highlight reels because of it.

Gray has that killer instinct and is never too scared to take a big shot. She also has size and strength that isn’t common at the point guard position. This gives her an advantage in a lot of matchups, and boy does she know how to exploit it.

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10. Skylar Diggins-Smith, Seattle Storm

The third player from the Storm on this list, and in the top ten, is Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Returning from a season off following the birth of her child, Diggins-Smith is playing with a chip on her shoulder, after feeling slighted by her former team, the Phoenix Mercury.

The last time we saw Diggins-Smith in 2022, she averaged 19.7 points and 5.5 assists per game. She’s able to initiate offense, and with the likes of Loyd and Ogwumike sharing the court with her, there will be no shortage of offense. Diggins-Smith is a hard-nosed defender. Her and Loyd as a backcourt pairing has the potential to be a potent tandem on both sides of the ball. Diggins-Smith has shown flashes throughout her career of being an efficient scorer, although in 2022 those numbers were a bit down.

11. Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas Aces

There’s only one “Boombox Baby” of the WNBA— the amazing Kelsey Plum.

She’s armed with unlimited ammo when it comes to her shot-making abilities and always makes the big one when it’s needed. Plum is one of the best in the league at getting downhill and slithering her way to the rim. She’s more than capable of carrying a massive portion of the Aces’ offense on her own, but she’ll distribute the ball with the best of them too. On the Aces, there’s no shortage of players to pass the rock to.

Plum will once again be duking it out with her own teammates for a spot on All-WNBA teams.

12. Aliyah Boston, Indiana Fever

How many players can say that they were in the top five in field-goal percentage as a rookie? Well, that’s exactly what Aliyah Boston did.

She has been a menace on the boards and great at rising to the occasion. She’s already had a couple physical wars with greats like A’ja Wilson, and has been very reliable in big moments.

This season should be really interesting cause we all know who Indiana drafted with the No. 1 pick. The spacing that will be provided by the new acquisitions will certainly help Aliyah see a numbers uptick and even more efficiency at the rim. Not to mention the pick-and-roll game that will be on display between Boston and Caitlin Clark.

The W will certainly need to be alerted if Aliyah has been working on jump shot. If she adds a consistent three-point shot to her game, it won’t be surprising if she’s a top-five player in the league.

13. Jackie Young, Las Vegas Aces

They all cried around and asked why.

Why did the Aces draft Jackie Young at No. 1? What did they see in her for them to think that she will bring them success? Are you not entertained?! Jackie Young looks to be capable of being an MVP in this league. It’s unclear what exactly Becky Hammon did to unlock a new level to Young’s game, but ever since Hammon arrived, Young has been an assassin.

You can’t even call her a silent assassin, because her impact and presence have been LOUD. She was a 44.9% shooter from distance last season, while taking five threes a game.

Young is super quick and has lately come equipped with sniper rounds that devastate opposing teams when they least expect it. She would be the No. 1 option on many other teams if she wasn’t in Vegas. Young could be the very piece many teams could use now to win a championship this upcoming season.

That’s how much impact she’s capable of having. She’s incredibly strong and provides unmatched size on the perimeter.

14. Brionna Jones, Connecticut Sun

Brionna Jones is coming off an Achilles tear that cost her the majority of the 2023 season.

If not for that injury, Jones would likely be higher on this list. The Connecticut Sun big has cemented herself as one of the top-five centers in the league. She’s the queen of efficiency, and an excellent rebounder. Since Jones’ career really took off in 2020, she’s been one of the best offensive rebounders in the league. What Jones does well, she does about as well as anyone.

The three-point shot isn’t a part of Jones’ game, however, so she is primarily paintbound offensively. She doesn’t provide much rim protection, as Jones isn’t quite as athletic as the other top centers in the league, which is what sets them apart.

15. Allisha Gray, Atlanta Dream

One of the few players in the league capable of getting her own shot, getting teammates in a flow, and controlling the offense if her number is called, Gray has established herself as an all-league-caliber player.

She’s a three-level scorer who continues to improve. We’ve seen her individual game flourish over the last season and it should only get better with some of the additions the Atlanta Dream have made. She will have the opportunity to play directly to her strengths and no longer overextend herself to cover other team needs.

Gray is one of the best defensive guards in the league. She has active hands and is a great on-ball defender. Paired with Rhyne Howard, these two are a formidable duo for opponents.

16. Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream

There’s no reason why anyone familiar with the WNBA shouldn’t know about the fearless Atlanta Dreamer that is Rhyne Howard.

She’s plays with such a hunger, aggression and will to win. She keeps getting better and better every season and will be alongside improved roster depth that can relieve her from wearing so many hats on offense. Now that Howard will have a true point guard and more wing depth, it only makes her constant ascension more terrifying for the rest of the league. She will have more freedom from defenses loading up on her. She may also show us some playmaking chops this season that we haven’t seen.

If Howard can find some greater efficiency, expect her to be much higher on this list next season.

17. Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty

While it took her a season to gain her footing after an injury-ridden rookie year, Sabrina Ionescu has established herself as an offensive force in the league.

She shot 44.8% from three on 7.9 attempts last season, while averaging 17 points to go along with 5.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. It helps that she’s surrounded by fellow All-Stars on the New York Liberty, but Ionescu would shine wherever she played.

The biggest knock on her game is her defense. She’s not the quickest moving laterally and struggles to keep up with the league’s top guards. We saw that on full display against Las Vegas, who have a dynamite backcourt. Even with the defensive struggles, Ionescu’s offense easily propelled her onto this list.

18. DeWanna Bonner, Connecticut Sun

DeWanna Bonner had a remarkable 14th season in the league.

It was a season in which she was asked to do A LOT. When Brionna Jones went down with an injury early in the season, Connecticut stuck with a smaller lineup. This meant Bonner was tasked with guarding players like Breanna Stewart. It’s not easy to expend that much energy on the defensive end and still show out on the offensive end. Yet, she averaged 17.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Bonner knocked in a career-high 41 points last season against the Aces. She also climbed to sixth on the WNBA All-Time scoring list. While it might feel like Bonner is nearing the end of her career, she hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

19. Kelsey Mitchell, Indiana Fever

If there’s one player who has kept the Indiana Fever afloat through those years of turmoil, it’s Kelsey Mitchell.

Mitchell has been on some bad Fever teams since her career began in 2018. In spite of that, Mitchell has steadily increased her play every year, and now she will hopefully reap the benefits, as there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Indiana Fever to get out of the basement. Mitchell is one of those players you might not have heard about because of the team she played on, not because she wasn’t balling out on a nightly basis.

Since 2020, Mitchell hasn’t averaged less than 17.8 points. She’s a great shooter, and when she starts feeling it… good luck. With a lot of defensive attention being paid to a certain rookie, she will have even more opportunities to pour it in. Mitchell can be a bit turnover prone, but that also might be a product of the teams she’s played on.

20. Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings

One of the game’s big shot makers, Arike Ogunbowale has a flare for the dramatic.

That’s been the case for her entire career. She’s averaged 20.2 points per game throughout her career. Ogunbowale is flashy and a highlight-reel player. When she’s hot, she’s one of the most entertaining players in the league. Arike can shoot her team back into a game. Similarly, she can also shoot her team out of a game. Shot selection has been one of the biggest issues with her game. She’ll settle for deep fade-away threes, or heavily contested midrange shots. This has led to some inefficient offense for Dallas.

21. Kahleah Copper, Phoenix Mercury

A former Finals MVP and Euroleague MVP, the relocation from Chicago to the Phoenix Mercury was unexpected for fans of Kahleah Copper.

She’s been a big contributor on every team she’s been on, and she should flourish alongside BG and her new teammates in Phoenix. The trade to ship Copper to Phoenix was arguably the most mind-boggling move of the entire offseason.

She is a champion and a player that is full of heart and hunger. She’s been the reason that Chicago was able to have the success they had during the championship run. Copper has one of the most explosive first steps in the league, leaving her defenders in the dust. She went from being the No. 1 option last year, to a team with multiple potential All-Stars.

Copper has a history of being turnover prone and making some questionable decisions with the ball in her hands. We’ll see if that changes at all with more talent surrounding her.

22. Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm

Last season, Ezi Magbegor exploded onto the scene for the Seattle Storm.

She’s one of the league’s young, rising stars. Magbegor is a defensive juggernaut and a player who will find herself on a number of All-Defensive teams before her career is over. She averaged 13.8 points per game, to go along with 8.1 boards. Most importantly, Magbegor has ranked second in the league in blocks per game the last two seasons. If her offensive game develops to go along with her defensive game, we’ll be talking about Ezi as a top player in the league soon enough.

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23. Courtney Vandersloot, New York Liberty

One of the Point Gods, Courtney Vandersloot is best known for her dimes.

She’s led the league in assists seven different times in her career, including last year, with the New York Liberty.

It’s hard to argue against that.

While Vandersloot isn’t a volume scorer, she’s a more than respectable shooter. Similar to Ionescu, defense isn’t exactly her specialty. You might be thinking, “well that’s a problem since the two of them are on the same team,” and yes, you are correct. Vandersloot is another player likely nearing the end of her career, but it won’t be surprising if she leads the league in assists all the way up until her final season.

24. Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

You may or may not have heard of this one.

She’s one of the most gifted players we’ve seen grace the women’s college game, and perhaps soon the WNBA, as well. That’s right, it’s Caitlin Clark. Clark is now on an Indiana Fever team that has exactly what she needs to have immediate success in this league. It’s unimaginable to think of what she will be like in the next three years, because she’s already a problem.

Once she adjusts to the physicality of certain players that will guard her in this league, she will once again be unguardable. There will be an adjustment period for Clark. She’s going to be guarded by players that are a lot stronger and quicker. Similarly, she’s going to have to guard players that are a lot stronger and quicker. Once she settles in, we’ll see her on the highlight reels hitting logo threes and making full court passes once again. Her offensive game appears limitless.

25. Teaira McCowan, Dallas Wings

Standing at 6-foot-7, Teaira McCowan is on the rise for the Dallas Wings.

She’s led the league in offensive rebounds per game in every season since 2020, her sophomore season. McCowan is able to clean up a lot of misses for Dallas and also has shown flashes as a rim protector. One area that McCowan can improve is at the free-throw line. A player of her size is going to visit the charity stripe often, and she’s just a career 64.9% shooter from the line.

*note: Satou Sabally was left off this list, as she will not make her season debut until after the Olympic break following a shoulder injury.

About Kayla Dos Santos

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