2023 WNBA League Pass Rankings

Coming to you live from my couch, from the void known as WNBA preseason. It’s strange here. Chilly. Dark. I await the delivery of a newspaper. How else will I know what’s happening? Did Betnijah Laney just hit a three-pointer? I think so, but I can’t say for sure. 

Fear not! Sunlight is about to flood our days and nights in the form of meaningful, watchable hoops. But which team will be the most watchable? Not the best—simply the most entertaining and enjoyable from a viewing perspective. These things are related. Good teams are generally more fun to watch. Bad teams make you consider mowing the lawn or tidying the living room. Still, there’s nuance in every crevice of this exercise. Power rankings are their own thing. League Pass rankings are a different ballgame entirely. 

First, some housekeeping. This list is entirely subjective. There is no formula, no concrete process in creating this list other than yours truly puzzling until his puzzler gets sore. Perhaps even more important: every team in the WNBA is extremely watchable. Some may bristle at seeing their favorite team near the bottom of this list. “What do you have against us?” I get it, but the answer is an emphatic, “Nothing!” I can name a million reasons to tune into every possible matchup this league has to offer. This is a celebration of the W’s immense talent and appeal—nothing more. 

With qualifiers out of the way, let’s dive in! 


12. Seattle Storm

Jewell Loyd is as electric as it gets on a basketball court. With the clock winding down and the score within a point or two, Loyd is the most lethal scorer in the league (Chelsea Gray also has a case). Her shot creation mesmerizes and astounds. She scoffs at good defense, knowing exceptional offense will always win out. Oh…Loyd is also a really good defender, going about her business with a casual intensity, if such a dynamic even exists. 

There’s more than just Loyd to be excited about with this roster. Now released from the stifling expectations of title contention due to the departure of Breanna Stewart and the retirement of Sue Bird, Storm fans can enjoy watching fun young players grow without stressing over wins and losses. Jordan Horston has a chance to lead all rookies in scoring. Ezi Magbegor continues to come into her own as a two-way force. Might we see Arella Guirantes or Kaila Charles earn a place in Noelle Quinn’s rotation? 

Ultimately, the Storm will struggle, and the game flow will be choppy. It’s tough not to lament what used to be. As I stated earlier, there is no bad spot on this list. The two paragraphs above outweigh everything outlined in this one, but it’s hard not to envision at least a sprinkling of melancholy outlining Seattle’s 2023 season, given the immense success of years past. 


11. Los Angeles Sparks 

Somehow, we’ve already arrived at the “teams I cannot wait to watch” portion of the program. What will it look like for the Sparks in 2023? It’s hard to say, with new head coach Curt Miller leading a roster full of fresh faces. 

Dearica Hamby provides the biggest boost on the excitement meter. A champion in Las Vegas, Hamby’s partnership with the Aces eroded due to alleged discrimination and mistreatment during Hamby’s pregnancy. Hamby recently gave birth to her second child, and she’s already back on court as the Sparks prepare for their most important season since the departures of Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray. More importantly, Hamby is one of the most popular personalities in the WNBA, a face for mothers across the league. Her comfort and happiness trump any on-court happenings. 

Joining Hamby as a new member of the Sparks is another former champion, Azurá Stevens. Both Hamby and Stevens ooze versatility. They defend multiple positions, move well in transition, slash to the hoop with ferocity, and knock down shots as needed. Watching Stevens and Hamby operate alongside Nneka Ogwumike will be a joy.

Shooting could be an issue for Los Angeles, which is why the team falls to No. 11 here. Lexie Brown will do her best to release some spacing-induced tension, but things will get crowded for the Sparks in the half-court. Can rookie Zia Cooke carve out enough minutes to find her own offensive rhythm? If the answer is yes, Los Angeles will be way more watchable. It’s rare to find young guards with a surplus of flair and heart; the South Carolina graduate has plenty of both. 

Extra points for some of the most vibrant jerseys in the league. Even more points for the debut of West-Coast Miller. The man was already dressing like a Californian while in Connecticut…imagine the fits we’ll get this year?! 


10. Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner is back!!! Literally nothing else matters. The joy that will fill every WNBA fan’s heart seeing Griner take the court for the first time this season is immeasurable. 

Outside of Griner, Phoenix’s roster is full of question marks. At the top of the list: does Skylar Diggins-Smith, who recently gave birth to her second child, factor into the Mercury’s future plans? Phoenix needs Diggins-Smith if it hopes to contend. One of the best guards in the league, Diggins-Smith is entering the final year of her max contract. 

Sophie Cunningham and Diana Taurasi have both been extended through 2024. Moriah Jefferson has signed through 2025. It’s tough to quibble with an organization that won three championships over an eight-year span, but it’s also tough to identify what the vision is for Phoenix’s future. 

My take? Let’s appreciate Griner’s return, celebrating one of the greatest players ever to grace a court, a person known for spreading joy wherever she goes. 


9. Dallas Wings

Speaking of teams whose plans for the future aren’t entirely clear—welcome to another season of Dallas Wings basketball! The difference between the Wings and the Mercury, and the reason Dallas places one spot higher, is that the young players on this team will be incredibly fun to watch. Will it all coalesce into winning basketball? Time will tell. But the journey will be entertaining regardless. 

New head coach Latricia Trammell offers hope of a grittier ballclub, one that competes as hard defensively as it does for points. 

Arike Ogunbowale is a dazzling scorer, owner of what I believe to be the two greatest shots in Final Four history. Can she take the next step as a playmaker, helping keep the machine churning when her isolation looks aren’t producing baskets? 

I’m excited to track the development of Veronica Burton and Teaira McCowan. The Wings’ point guard outlook is hazy, but this is Burton’s chance to seize the position. Known as a defensive menace, Burton will surprise folks with her offense once she feels comfortable amping up her aggressiveness. McCowan is equally promising as a two-way force. The No. 3 overall pick in 2019, McCowan is further along in her development, but last year was a glimpse into just how dominant she can be in the right setting. Dallas saw what I saw, signing the Mississippi State alum to a three-year deal that will pay her north of $200,000 in 2025

Satou Sabally is entering her final season before restricted free agency and has yet to find a groove in the WNBA. Is this her year? Will Maddy Siegrist continue to pour in bucket after bucket as she did at Villanova? Will the Wings provide their usual dose of drama, or will this mark a new dawn of Dallas basketball? 


8. Connecticut Sun

While we’re on the topic of new beginnings, let’s consider the Connecticut Sun. I firmly believe Connecticut will be the third or fourth best team in the league this season, trailing Las Vegas and New York, residing in tier two alongside Washington. So why do they fall to eighth? Because I’m biased, obviously! 

I kid, sort of. There’s something gritty in Connecticut’s water that has made this team so difficult to beat for nearly a decade, despite the fact that the journey isn’t always pretty. Alyssa Thomas embodies that dynamic perfectly. A player who can’t shoot has willed the Sun farther than anyone thought they’d go, time and again. Her passing, her “freight train transition offense,” her unyielding pick-and-roll defense—it’s all compelling and watchable. But it isn’t smooth. It isn’t as digestible as some of the teams still to be discussed, some of the teams who will win far fewer games. 

But, this is Ty Harris’ time! This is a perfect situation for Tiffany Hayes! 

I’m shocked that some have the Sun in the middle of the pack, prognostication-wise. This is clearly one of the four best rosters in the league. 


7. Minnesota Lynx

I could not be more excited for the Napheesa Collier / Diamond Miller era in Minnesota. They carry the weight here, because although the rest of the roster is primed to contribute in 2023, it lacks the pizzazz factor. 

This is Collier’s team, and getting to see her at 100 percent once again will bring back the fondest of memories. There may not be a more versatile, polished, “can do anything” superstar in the league. Collier has reportedly been hoisting bundles of threes in workouts, which should strike terror into the other 11 teams. Defensively, she’s the only person I’ve ever seen make Breanna Stewart look lost. Now, the Lynx are her team. How will Collier handle her newfound leadership role? I feel confident in saying she’ll handle it quite well. 

Miller is electric. Frame her moves in slow motion and jaws drop across the globe. Minnesota will have the option to play small, meaning that Miller is immediately walking into loads of responsibility on the boards and on defense. Observing how she handles this over her first few weeks in the league will be fascinating. 

The Lynx are one of the toughest teams to pin in terms of projected win totals, making them even more of an intriguing watch. Will they be a pesky playoff team? Will they struggle? High ceilings and low floors make for good TV. 


6. Indiana Fever

It’s a new era in Indiana. The Fever won’t be good, but for the first time in years, that pesky little detail won’t matter! Aliyah Boston is here to usher in a new era of Fever basketball and serve as the first face of the franchise since Tamika Catchings. Basketball-wise, it will be incredibly enjoyable to track Boston’s elite footwork and stellar defense at the pro level. No longer must she worry about four swarming defenders every time she catches the ball. There will be space in which to operate, and shooters flanking her behind the arc. Indiana will lose a bunch of games, but you won’t want to peel your eyes away from the process and the growth. 

There’s also intrigue here from the standpoint of, who fits squarely into Indiana’s vision for the future? Will NaLyssa Smith and Boston gel in the frontcourt, or will the fit be clunky? Is Lexie Hull ready for more responsibility? Is Kelsey Mitchell exactly what this team needs, or is her immense offensive talent better maximized elsewhere? 

I really hope Maya Caldwell gets a shot at consistent playing time. I’ve been impressed by her at every stop, but being on the fringes of WNBA rosters is a near impossible situation to navigate. If she can stick in one place for a full year, I don’t think she’ll look back. 


5. Chicago Sky

Kahleah Copper. Need I say more? NEED I SAY MORE?!?!

See Also

Okay, I’ll give you a little more. Dana Evans is about to make the leap, draining parking lot threes like they’re free throws. Marina Mabrey is what happens when you set fireworks off on a basketball court. She can score from anywhere on the floor and will talk loads of smack while doing it. Courtney Williams doesn’t appear to have a care in the world while hooping, and that’s what makes her so fun to root for. Others will emerge, making this team better than folks anticipated. 

Elite jerseys. Probably some fun James Wade moments. And, once again—the freaking FINALS MVP leading the charge. 


4. Washington Mystics

This might be too low. The Mystics will storm out of the gate, flaunting their camaraderie and cohesion, and everyone will wonder, “hmmm, maybe we can’t write Las Vegas and New York as the Finals matchup in pen.” If Elena Delle Donne is for real, feeling stronger than ever health-wise, we’re about to witness a special season in DC. 

It’s the other starters that excite me to no end. Ariel Atkins is one of my favorite players in this league, essential to Washington’s identity on and off the court. Natasha Cloud is the heartbeat of the ballclub and one of the best interviews in the game. Speaking of great interviews, Brittney Sykes is an absolute joy. She also might be the only 5’9” player in basketball history capable of blocking Brittney Griner. Sykes is good for one or two, “um, are my eyes deceiving me?” highlights per game. 

Then there’s Shakira Austin. Another delightful interview, Austin’s confidence is grounded in humility. At once, she’s incredibly respectful to the all-time greats and to the concept of outworking everyone, yet she’s assured in her belief that she’ll one day be among those all-time greats. That’s exactly what you want in a young franchise cornerstone. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Austin take a large leap in season two, following up a sterling rookie year. Her defensive potential is limitless and her offense isn’t far behind. 

Bonus points for any cherry-blossom-themed promotion, merch, court design, etc. Wait, these things don’t exist? Why? 


3. New York Liberty
2. Las Vegas Aces

So much has been written and will continue to be written about these two teams that I’ll keep it brief. Do I really need to sell you on the watchability of these rosters? Ten starters, ten All-Stars. Some of the greatest scorers, passers, and defenders of all time, playing together. Two large markets on opposite coasts with owners willing to spend. A’ja Wilson versus Breanna Stewart. Jonquel Jones in the big city. Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray reunited. 

Las Vegas enjoys the slightest of edges because its roster features fewer new faces, and thus, the product figures to be more polished from day one. New York will be unstoppable, but it may take a minute to hash some things out. I’m splitting hairs. Both teams will produce some of the best and most enthralling basketball we’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to clock the TV ratings when this matchup takes place. 


1. Atlanta Dream

CHOO-CHOO!!! All aboard the midnight train to Georgia! Your favorite WNBA roster awaits. 

There’s no fandom like that of a team so definitively on the rise, its ascension as unmistakable as a Rhyne Howard step-back jumper. No pressure to win a title today, or even tomorrow, but the potential for your core to eventually climb the mountaintop is evident. There’s also no better fandom than that of a team brimming with likable and dynamic players. Watching the Dream will be a joy every single time they take the court. I mean, where do we start?

We start with Howard. Duh! When Dream general manager Dan Padover took the job in Atlanta—fresh off winning back-to-back Executive of the Year awards in Las Vegas—he understood that nearly every championship team is anchored by a superstar. He learned this firsthand with A’ja Wilson and the Aces. What’s the most common way to attain such a talent? Holding the top pick in the draft. Atlanta didn’t have that, so Padover boarded the Executive Express, dealing the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 draft, a 2022 second rounder, and a 2023 pick swap for No. 1 in 2022. The trade allowed Atlanta to select Howard, to secure its superstar. She’s everything you’d want in a number one option, able to operate on and off the ball, scoring at will. Her shot creation is elite, making for must-watch TV. 

Now, the rest of the roster can keep up. Allisha Gray has never found herself in a better situation at the professional level. She won’t eat up the majority of Atlanta’s touches, but she’ll make the most of her opportunities. Gray hit a career-high 40.8 percent from three on a career-high 4.8 attempts per game in 2022. She paired that with elite perimeter defense, and the ability to get a bucket wherever she was on the floor. 

This exercise is about watchability, and no pair of rookies will be more fun to follow than Haley Jones and Laeticia Amihere. Is this the year Aari McDonald makes the jump? Is this the year Cheyenne Parker returns to form? Will Naz Hillmon one day be known as the best second-round pick in the league? 

The Dream hired the perfect coach for this franchise overhaul ahead of 2022. Tanisha Wright will have this joyful roster maximizing its talents. 

Atlanta, a future WNBA champion? A man can dream. 


Stats as of 5/18/23 and courtesy of Basketball Reference.

© 2023 Winsidr. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top