The WNBA is a veteran-led league, however there’s additionally numerous promising younger expertise, together with the much-anticipated return of 2018 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart. The Seattle Storm ahead leads our checklist of the highest 25 gamers age 25 or youthful coming into the 2020 WNBA season.
There are a couple of caveats. Solely gamers at the moment within the bubble in Bradenton, Florida, are eligible. Gamers akin to New York’s Asia Durr and Las Vegas’ Kelsey Plum, who aren’t enjoying this season, aren’t on the checklist.
And so long as they’re 25 as we speak — even when they will flip 26 throughout the season — these gamers have been included.
4 rookies made the lower, based mostly on how we mission they will do that season.
She’ll flip 26 in late August, and look what she has already achieved regardless of lacking final season due to a torn Achilles. She was the 2016 Rookie of the Yr and gained MVP honors and a WNBA championship in 2018. She might choose up her second MVP and title this 12 months.
Her stats went down a bit after her 2018 Rookie of the Yr season, however that was attributed to heart Liz Cambage becoming a member of the Aces. Wilson stays the franchise’s key participant, and can have a much bigger load once more with Cambage not enjoying this season.
We all know how dynamically gifted she is offensively. She will be able to enhance her effectivity there, together with changing into a stronger defensive participant. DeShields ought to be one of many league’s most enjoyable gamers to observe as she continues getting higher.
The Lynx have been thrilled to get her with the No. 6 choose in 2019, and he or she went on to be Rookie of the Yr. Collier is aware of what works for her, and he or she does not drive something. Simply as was the case at UConn, she has proven she will not get rattled as a professional.
She needed to do every part within the backcourt final 12 months, but nonetheless was third within the league in scoring. It was a really shut race between Ogunbowale and Collier for rookie of the 12 months. This season, the Wings produce other gamers who can run the purpose and assist take a number of the load off of her.
In simply her third WNBA season, she’s thought-about a veteran on a younger Liberty crew that has seven rookies. Nurse may very well be an enormous a part of the Liberty’s future as they use this season to determine a brand new tradition beneath first-year coach Walt Hopkins.
No, she’s not scoring on the degree she did at Ohio State. However she made progress in her second season final 12 months, and will make extra this season beneath new coach Marianne Stanley. Mitchell stated she’s anticipating so much from herself this season, and she will ship.
8. Satou Sabally, Dallas Wings
We’re going a bit out on a limb to place a rookie who hasn’t performed within the WNBA but within the high 10 — and it isn’t even the No. 1 choose. Sabally, the No. 2 general choose, left the Oregon Geese after her junior 12 months as a result of she felt she was prepared for the professional sport. It will likely be thrilling to see how shortly she makes an impression.
A starter her first two seasons, she was a key a part of the Mystics’ 2019 championship. She’s not a flashy participant, only a constant presence who will be counted on to fill her position offensively and be a dependable defender.
10. Teaira McCowan, Indiana Fever
She had a really strong rookie season and will proceed to turn out to be an much more dominant drive within the paint. Stanley has coached many sturdy put up gamers, and her expertise is probably going to assist McCowan.
11. Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty
All eyes shall be on the highest choose as she and the Liberty face Seattle in Saturday’s first sport of this season (ESPN, midday ET). There aren’t numerous expectations for the youthful Liberty, however there shall be for Ionescu after being the nationwide school participant of the 12 months.
12. Jordin Canada, Seattle Storm
Final 12 months, with veteran level guard Sue Chicken out, Canada began all however one sport, and helped the Storm attain the second spherical of the playoffs. She has developed numerous confidence it doesn’t matter what position she performs for the Storm.
13. Allisha Grey, Dallas Wings
She has been a gentle perimeter presence in her three seasons for the Wings, and now can assist the crew actually set up itself with a number of gifted younger gamers. She stated she has labored arduous within the offseason to raised create her personal pictures and be a stronger one-on-one participant.
14. Tiffany Mitchell, Indiana Fever
Mitchell has been a quietly constant presence in 4 seasons for the Fever, and he or she’s wanting ahead to working with Stanley and persevering with to enhance. Stanley will put an enormous emphasis on protection, the place Mitchell could make vital contributions.
Together with her pace and fast set off, Carter might create her shot in opposition to anybody in school whereas at Texas A&M. We’ll see if she will do the identical factor on the professional degree. Like Sabally, she was an early entry into the draft as a junior. She ought to get numerous court docket time for the Dream.
16. Jackie Younger, Las Vegas Aces
She was the No. 1 choose final season however wasn’t in place to pile up large numbers on a crew with a number of different threats. She centered on distributing the ball and transforming her shot, which ought to serve her effectively within the coming years as she turns into extra of a scorer.
17. Victoria Vivians, Indiana Fever
She missed final season after struggling an ACL tear whereas enjoying abroad, and the Fever shall be glad to have her again, particularly from past the arc. She made 65 3-pointers as a rookie in 2018, and at 6-foot-1 she’s arduous to cease there.
18. Mercedes Russell, Seattle Storm
Alternative knocked with Breanna Stewart out final season, and Russell responded by contributing to the Storm’s put up sport. At 6-6, she higher used her measurement to her benefit and improved from a rookie season in 2018 when she averaged simply 1.7 factors and 1.Four rebounds.
19. Gabby Williams, Chicago Sky
An undersized ahead at UConn who did slightly of every part for the Huskies, she has offered an identical position with Chicago. Her numbers went down final 12 months from her rookie season, however Williams has the power to impression video games in numerous methods, together with merely along with her vitality degree.
She did not get a lot court docket time till round July final season, when different gamers’ accidents opened a door. She then labored her method into the beginning lineup for 12 video games, and simply saved bettering. The Mercury assume she is able to choose up the place she left off and have an enormous 12 months.
21. Lexie Brown, Minnesota Lynx
She did not get numerous enjoying time as a rookie in Connecticut in 2018, so the commerce to the Lynx revitalized her. A robust 3-point shooter, she made 52 treys final 12 months and will turn out to be a much bigger issue this season.
22. Astou Ndour, Dallas Wings
She made her WNBA debut in 2014 in San Antonio when she was only a 19-year-old from Spain. Essentially the most video games she has ever performed in her 4 WNBA seasons is 30, in 2016. However after the previous two seasons in Chicago, she’ll be making an attempt to play a bigger position with the Wings.
23. Monique Billings, Atlanta Dream
It is a new-look Dream this 12 months, and perhaps that may assist Billings — in her third season in Atlanta — take one other step ahead. Rebounding is her power, and he or she shall be a part of what may very well be a younger put up crew with promise.
24. Azurá Stevens, Chicago Sky
After an excellent begin as a rookie — averaging 8.9 factors and 4.6 rebounds — she performed solely 9 video games final 12 months resulting from damage after which was traded to the Sky. It is a good time for a recent begin for Stevens, who along with her measurement and mobility ought to assistance on protection particularly.
25. Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm
She was the Storm’s first-round draft choose in 2019, however is making her WNBA debut now and would be the youngest participant within the bubble. She has performed professionally already in Australia, and at 6-Four has good size and athleticism. And she or he’ll have nice gamers to be taught from in Seattle.