I can't believe the WNBA tips off Saturday, and the real shocker is that this year is the WNBA's historic 20th season. It seems like yesterday I was doing WNBA numbers in Las Vegas for the first season and the bosses were making fun of me for just watching the WNBA.
The WNBA Draft is in the books, and many of teams drafted well. So far we have seen some epic and shocking trades for the upcoming season. Our friends over at William Hill of Las Vegas were one of the first books to throw out future odds on who will win it all for the 2016 WNBA season. I believe that this WNBA season is wide open and I have five teams that can bring home the title. Last year the Minnesota Lynx beat the Indiana Fever three out of five games, and the Western Conference has won the WNBA title three straight years.
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Here is the list of WNBA teams and their odds to win it all, along with a small analysis on how they will do in the upcoming WNBA Season.
Odds provided by William Hill Las Vegas
Phoenix Mercury 2-1
(Last Year Record: 20-14) The ladies in Phoenix have a stacked roster, and now you bring back Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor. The bench play is their only question mark on this team, and they drafted well with some young depth. Last year the Mercury had 20 wins with a short roster, and this year I see them battling Minnesota for the top spot in the West.
Minnesota Lynx 5-2
(Last Year Record: 22-12) The defending 2015 WNBA champs again will be a force to be reckoned with, but I do see some weak spots this year. The Lynx didn't have a first-round draft pick, and I'm sorry ladies but your core players are not getting younger. The Lynx do have emerging star Anna Cruz on the team, and boy did she step up last year. I see her playing some outstanding basketball this year. If the Lynx stay healthy, watching them battle Phoenix will be fun this year.
Chicago Sky 4-1
(Last Year Record: 21-13) I know both the Western Conference teams above the Chicago Sky will get all the buzz, but the Sky have the roster to compete and win it all. Not only do the Sky have the best player in the league in Elena Delle Donne, but they got a steal in the draft with Imani Boyette from Texas. I know Delle Donne will have another monster season, but look for Erika de Souza to continue to be the anchor on defense. I believe getting the Chicago Sky at 4-1 is great value.
New York Liberty 6-1
(Last Year Record: 23-11) I keep on forgetting that the New York Liberty had the best record in the league last year, but this year could be different. The Liberty have an all-around roster, and picking up Adut Bulgak in the draft will help, but I see the Eastern Conference champs coming out of Chicago. I'm a bit shocked that the Liberty odds were not around 8-1 or higher as again I believe the Sky and maybe even the Fever could be better.
Indiana Fever 10-1
(Last Year Record: 20-14) Yes, I believe the Fever are better than last year's team that went to the WNBA Finals, and they will be fun to watch. Tamika Catchings again will carry this team, and first-round pick Tiffany Mitchell will produce for the Fever quickly and she could be one of the biggest steals in the draft. Indiana will win 20-plus games this year, and I see them battling the Sky for the top team in the Eastern Conference. Indiana at 10-1 is a great price, and if they make it to the playoffs you hedge off some of this price throughout the postseason.
Washington Mystics 10-1
(Last Year Record: 18-16) Is it me or is the WNBA stacked with great talent at the center position? The Mystics will be led by breakout center Emma Meesseman, and if she can stay out of foul trouble this team could be a surprise team in the league. They grabbed Kahleah Copper in the draft and not only does she play outstanding defense but her offense will be much needed right away. Washington at 10-1 is intriguing, but with the Eastern Conference being so competitive the Mystics might have to wait a year.
Los Angeles Sparks 15-1
(Last Year Record: 14-20) This Sparks team this year will be a mystery team because they have so many question marks. On draft night the Sparks picked up Chelsea Gray, who, if healthy, should produce, and right now the Sparks need help because this team is not getting younger. Can forward Nneka Ogwumike step up her game this year is the big question, because if she does and Candace Parker has a decent year this Sparks team can pull off some upsets all season long.
Atlanta Dream 20-1
(Last Year Record: 15-19)
The Atlanta Dream had one heck of a great night at the WNBA Draft and this team has great balance of youth and veteran players. The Dream's success will be as long as Schoni Schimmel and Angel McCoughtry will carry them, and if the young players contribute early then this team will be competitive. Their depth will keep them in games, but I don't see them competing in the Eastern Conference.
Dallas Wings 25-1
(Last Year Record: 18-16) The Dallas Wings were the Tulsa Shock last year and this team will be fun to watch all season long. Last year Skylar Diggins tore her ACL and when she went out so did the team, but this year the Wings will be no sleeper in the West. A healthy Diggins and rookie Aerial Powers from Michigan State will provide offense, and also throw in a healthy Odyssey Sims as well. Too bad the Dallas Wings play in the Western Conference! I know the Dallas Wings don't have the team like Phoenix and Minnesota, but at 25-1 anything can happen, and these odds are pretty good.
Connecticut Sun 25-1
Last Year Record: 15-19)
The Sun had a great draft and they grabbed a close friend from the University of Connecticut, Morgan Tuck, and she will be used early in the season. The Sun are very young and their youth will be their downfall. I see another long WNBA season for the Sun, but in the next couple of years this team will be a force. The Sun at 25-1 is a bit too kind as I thought the Sun should be around 35-1 or higher.
Seattle Storm 40-1
(Last Year Record: 10-24)
There was no drama on who the Seattle Storm would take with the No. 1 pick in the draft. No brainer they took Breanna Stewart, who enters the WNBA after having one of the most incredible college careers ever. Throw in last year's rookie great Ramu Tokashiki and long-time great Sue Bird and this Seattle team could be a bit of a surprise when all said and done. But too bad the Seattle Storm play in the Western Conference.
San Antonio Silver Stars 100-1
(Last Year Record: 8-26) The San Antonio Silver Stars drafted Moriah Jefferson and she will help out fellow guard Kayla McBride this 20th season, but I think the Stars are in for another long year. San Antonio will be the worst team in the league, but again here is a team that has drafted well and in the next couple of years they will be out of the cellar.
This will be a weird WNBA season because we have a break for the Olympics and we have a new playoff format. Break or no break and new playoff format, we are looking for a great 20th WNBA Season. My prediction for the upcoming WNBA Season:
Eastern Conference Winner: Chicago Sky
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