Sharing Is Caring: Have the Dream, Fever, and Wings Fixed Their Facilitation Issues?

It’s no secret the Atlanta Dream, Dallas Wings, and Indiana Fever all had facilitation issues last season. Their assist percentages were 12th, 11th, and ninth, respectively. Their assist ratios were the three worst in the league. On assisted two-pointers made, Dallas was ninth, Indiana was 11th, and Atlanta 12th. Assisted threes weren’t any better, with Atlanta placing 10th and Dallas 11th. In all, they were the three worst teams in assists per game (APG) last season.  

As the 2023 WNBA season nears, have these playoff-hopeful teams fixed their passing problems?


Atlanta Dream

Why They Have 

Atlanta acquired a veteran guard, Danielle Robinson, to help take pressure off rising star Rhyne Howard to facilitate the offense. Robinson, ironically acquired from Indiana in exchange for Kristy Wallace, has 4.2 APG for her career and 3.8 APG last season. In theory, Robinson should be able to bring the ball up, which will help create more off-ball looks for Howard and allow Atlanta to get into a rhythm offensively. Additionally, Robinson can score a bit herself, so teams can’t sink off her to help on Howard.

The Dream also drafted Stanford phenom Haley Jones in last month’s draft to mitigate some of their facilitation woes. Her career 4.0 APG may not look like much, but she did improve each year and will likely be given the reins of the second unit to help the Dream’s offense be more consistent throughout the year.

Why They Haven’t

While Robinson and Jones are fine enough additions, they only move the needle slightly for a team that struggled mightily in the assist department last season. The team does have incumbent Aari McDonald as its true floor general, but her 2.3 career APG and on/off numbers leave much to be desired. The team also added Allisha Gray this offseason, but she averages 2.0 APG on her career and will likely be asked to score more than facilitate. Even if the Dream want her passing more, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference.  Relying on Robinson and Jones, a solid yet unspectacular vet and a rookie, to solve a prominent issue like this is a tall order. 


Indiana Fever

Why They Have

Like Atlanta, the Fever have added a couple of point guards in hopes of improving on their 2022 numbers. While the Fever lost Robinson, Destanni Henderson, and Tiffany Mitchell in the backcourt, they added local Hoosier Grace Berger to help in the facilitation department. Berger showed the capacity to facilitate offense on one of the best college teams in the country last season.  Additionally, the Fever acquired Wallace—who had her moments in her inaugural season in the W—in the aforementioned trade. Look for new head coach Christie Sides to use Berger and Wallace as floor generals to get the Fever into their offensive sets.

Why They Haven’t

Relying on a rookie and a second year player is asking for trouble. If the Fever are going to take another step toward contention, they’re going to need some offensive flow. The floor generals are young and fairly unproven, leaving a lot of unknowns in the backcourt. Speaking of unknowns, we don’t know yet what Sides is planning for Indiana’s offense. In training camp, the team’s focus has been “pouring into” one another. Let’s hope that means this team is pouring in the assists, but right now there are too many question marks.


Dallas Wings

Why They Have

The Wings lost Marina Mabrey. That certainly hurts plenty in the scoring department, and she is also a decent passer that the Wings will no longer have on their roster. 

Like their counterparts, the Wings drafted and added backcourt pieces to help improve their ball movement. Crystal Dangerfield arrived via trade from New York, and Lou Lopez Sénéchal was the fifth overall selection in last month’s draft. Both are proven facilitators, especially Dangerfield. She worked masterfully in New York last season in helping off-ball scoring threat Sabrina Ionescu have her best season so far. The hope is that Sénéchal can recover from her knee injury with some time left in the season to be a difference maker.

See Also

We also can’t forget about second-year guard Veronica Burton. Burton showed flashes of brilliance last season, especially on the defensive side. She hopefully can take a step forward offensively under head coach Latricia Trammell’s guidance. 

This fleet of potential facilitators, plus the improved scoring additions of Natasha Howard and Diamond DeShields, should help the Wings’ chances in 2023.

Why They Haven’t

Burton’s 1.9 APG last season doesn’t leave much hope for that improving. Her lack of offensive game may only be affecting the scoring side, but it’s possible it also contributes to her facilitation. Dangerfield is a decent enough piece, but she doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence with a career APG under 3.0. Sénéchal may not even play this season due to injury, and even if she does, she isn’t likely to be executing at full strength. Additionally, under half of DeShields’ buckets last season were assisted, and while she is on a new team this season, there’s no guarantee DeShields’ assisted buckets go up. This team needs to score more, but the Wings’ personnel may mean more create-your-own-shot offense rather than ball movement. 


All stats as of 5/17. Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of

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