WNBA

WNBA Power Rankings: Storming Towards the All-Star Game

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We are through six weeks. The US Women’s National Team has been announced so now there is some clarity with regards to All-Star selections. This week’s power rankings will also serve as a way to acknowledge our leading candidates for All-Star spots.

12. Indiana Fever (1-14)

Last Week: Lost to Seattle Storm 87-70, Lost to Seattle Storm 79-69, Lost to Washington Mystics 82-77

Next Week: 6/24 vs. Dallas Wings

All-Star selections currently feel out of place for the brand of basketball that the Fever are dealing with right now. With still only one win on the season they are not really able to look at individual or team accolades. With only one game this week, perhaps the Fever will be able to collect themselves and get back in the winning column. Kelsey Mitchell is the closest thing the Fever have to an All-Star at the moment, but with so much depth in the league, it is just not her time.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (5-7)

Last Week: Beat Phoenix Mercury 85-80, Lost to Phoenix Mercury 80-66, Lost to New York Liberty 76-73

Next Week: 6/24 vs. Washington Mystics, 6/27 at Phoenix Mercury

There was plenty of uproar when Nneka Ogwumike was not named to the National Team. Some tried to make the excuse that health could be the issue but her recovery from injury lines up with when the team will be heading over. Diana Taurasi has played one less game than Ogwumike and still made the team. Without much to root for on the court for the Sparks at the moment (despite a nice win this week against the Mercury), sending Nneka Ogwumike to the All-Star Game is the least fans can do to give her a chance to show the Olympic committee how wrong they were.

10. Atlanta Dream (5-7)

Last Week: Lost to Washington Mystics 96-93

Next Week: 6/23 vs. Minnesota Lynx, 6/26 vs. New York Liberty

The Dream cannot seem to catch a break with injuries, with the news this week that Tiffany Hayes will be out for more than a month. With the roster continuing to be depleted, it is increasingly tough for them to stay afloat in the standings. Hayes still has a clear case to be named an All-Star, but with only four guard spots available she is going to lose out to her teammate. Courtney Williams has been an absolute bucket this year, averaging 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and 42.6 percent from distance.

9. Washington Mystics (6-6)

Last Week: Beat Atlanta Dream 96-93, Beat Indiana Fever 82-77

Next Week: 6/22 at Seattle Storm, 6/24 at Los Angeles Sparks, 6/26 at Dallas Wings

Tina Charles has been exceptional for the Washington Mystics so far, averaging 24.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. She was rightfully selected to be on the National Team. Ariel Atkins will join her, adding a 45.2 percent shooter from distance to the fold. That leaves Myisha Hines-Allen as the most likely member of the team to make it as an All-Star. So far this season she is averaging 14.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She does plenty of the dirty work while the two Olympians get the accolades but is a star in her own right.

8. Phoenix Mercury (6-7)

Last Week: Lost to Los Angeles Sparks 85-80, Beat Los Angeles Sparks 80-66

Next Week: 6/27 vs. Los Angeles Sparks

Phoenix is something of a flawed team when it comes to on-court consistency throughout the season so far and they will be unlikely to get an All-Star. However, that is not because of a lack of talent. Skylar Diggins-Smith has been one of the best players in the league thus far. Brittney Griner will be one of the best bigs in the game until she calls it a career. Diana Taurasi has only played four games but is a living legend. However, all three of them will be making their way to Tokyo for the Olympics so they are not eligible.

7. Minnesota Lynx (5-7)

Last Week: Lost to Chicago Sky 105-89, Beat Dallas Wings 85-73, Lost to Dallas Wings 95-77

Next Week: 6/23 at Atlanta Dream, 6/25 vs. Las Vegas Aces

The Lynx seem currently incapable of stringing together consistent weeks. In their first meeting with the Wings, they put on a dominant performance that was nowhere near as close as the 12-point final margin would indicate. Days later, against the same team, they were rarely within 20 points. Their two best players (Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier) are representing the United States in the Olympics, leaving them without an All-Star representative. Layshia Clarendon is the closest to it, but they have more important things to deal with. Like convincing the Lynx to sign them beyond the hardship exception, which they deserve.

6. Dallas Wings (6-7)

Last Week: Lost to Minnesota Lynx 85-73, Beat Minnesota Lynx 95-77

Next Week: 6/22 at Connecticut Sun, 6/24 at Indiana Fever, 6/26 vs. Washington Mystics

As anyone who listens to Leading with the W (shameless plug) knows, the Wings are slowly but surely turning things around and have the talent to make a deeper push than where they currently stand. Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally and Marina Mabrey have all had All-Star caliber seasons. If the rotations of Vickie Johnson ever get consistent, the team should be in a position to succeed. Soon, the headlines around the team will be more about winning than PR messes and head athletic trainers quitting. The second game against the Lynx this week was the perfect example of what this team is fully capable of.

5. New York Liberty (7-6)

Last Week: Lost to Las Vegas Aces 100-78, Lost to Las Vegas Aces 103-76, Beat Los Angeles Sparks 76-73

Next Week: 6/22 vs. Chicago Sky, 6/24 vs. Chicago Sky, 6/26 at Atlanta Dream

Suddenly, the Liberty have come back down to earth as losers of five of their last seven games. Sabrina Ionescu (who should be an All-Star) missed some of those games but also the competition simply became stiffer. Three of those losses came against the Aces, who are a matchup nightmare for even the healthiest of teams. Ionescu and Betnijah Laney should make the All-Star game regardless of their record slipping as they have developed into one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league today. Laney has a real case to be named back-to-back Most Improved Player in the league and Ionescu is an elite guard rebounder and passer.

4. Chicago Sky (7-7)

Last Week: Beat Minnesota Lynx 105-89, Beat Connecticut Sun 81-75, Beat Connecticut Sun 91-81

Next Week:  6/22 at New York Liberty, 6/24 at New York Liberty, 6/27 at Connecticut Sun

All of a sudden, the Chicago Sky are back to .500 and look like the contender fans thought they may before the season started. Funny enough, bringing Candace Parker and Allie Quigley back on the court adds more dynamism to them as a two-way team. Unfortunately, they are so well-rounded that it is tough to pick an All-Star. Kahleah Copper has been their strongest scorer (14.1 points per game) but is not one of the four best available guards. Courtney Vandersloot leads the league in assists per game (8.5) by a full 2.1 dimes but even still she comes up just short. They are playing for more than individual accolades.

3. Connecticut Sun (8-5)

Last Week: Lost to Chicago Sky 81-75, Lost to Chicago Sky 91-81

Next Week: 6/22 vs. Dallas Wings, 6/27 vs. Chicago Sky

The Sun have struggled since Jonquel Jones went overseas to play in Eurobasket, unable to win a game with the presumptive MVP of the league. She is a no-doubt All-Star, as she is second in the league in scoring (21.6 points per game), first in rebounds (10.4) and is the best shooter in the league by volume (48.9 percent on 4.7 3-point attempts per game). Her teammate, DeWanna Bonner, should be joining her as an All-Star. She has thrived in Connecticut whether she is sharing the court with Alyssa Thomas last year or Jones this year. When Jones returns to the court, the Sun will be back near the top of the standings.

2. Las Vegas Aces (10-3)

Last Week: Beat New York Liberty 100-78, Beat New York Liberty 103-76

Next Week: 6/25 at Minnesota Lynx, 6/27 vs. Seattle Storm

The only thing keeping the Aces from being number one is that the Storm simply refuse to lose. The Aces are finding their stride as a team and obliterated the Liberty in back-to-back games this week. A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray will be representing the United States so they cannot be named All-Stars. JiSu Park and Liz Cambage were also announced as representatives for their countries in Tokyo and Cambage deserves to represent the Aces in the All-Star Game. She is second in the league in blocks (2.0 per game) and second in the league in field goal percentage for anyone attempting at least two shots per game (60.5 percent).

1. Seattle Storm (12-2)

Last Week: Beat Indiana Fever 87-70, Beat Indiana Fever 79-69

Next Week: 6/22 vs. Washington Mystics, 6/27 at Las Vegas Aces

Seattle just never stops winning, claiming five games in a row and nine of their last 10. So far, no one in the league appears to be their equal and they are being appropriately recognized with three members of the Storm going to the Olympics. Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird have all been stellar this season and Bird is going for her fifth Olympic gold medal, a historic achievement. Before all of that, this week gives fans a treat to see the Aces and the Storm go head-to-head for (among possibly more important things) number one on this list next week.

About Corey Rausch

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