We’re back with our fourth edition of the 2023 Winsidr Power Rankings, with just days until the All-Star break! And I’m back this time—Owen Pence filled in flawlessly for Volume 3—with our final check-in before the midway point.
If this is your first time reading our rankings, welcome; if it’s not, welcome back! As a refresher for how this works, we do this somewhat differently from other sites. While the words are mine, the rankings themselves are aggregated by our entire staff. You’re not just reading my takes, but the averages of where the entire Winsidr staff believes the teams shake out. Throughout the season, we will periodically poll our staff to compare each team’s standing with how they’ve performed since our most recent check-in.
Enough preamble, let’s get into it!
12. Phoenix Mercury (4-14, No. 12 last rankings)
It continues to be a tough campaign for the Mercury, who are losing by a league-worst 8.2 points per game (PPG). Two major stats stand out, as a team: last in rebounding, last in turnovers. Several players beyond Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi are putting together strong campaigns: Michaela Onyenwere is having a career year, and Sug Sutton has been terrific. Roster depth, however, remains an issue for this squad; they simply aren’t getting enough contribution from their reserves. With Skylar Diggins-Smith still out indefinitely, the turnaround will have to come from those players currently suiting up.
11. Seattle Storm (4-14, No. 10 last rankings)
Yes, Seattle’s been losing lately, but they’re still putting out a fun, engaging product whenever they take the floor. Most games, there’s a different young player flashing her potential: one night it’ll be Ivana Dojkić, the next Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, the next Jordan Horston. Twice in the last two weeks, they stayed close in difficult matchups because of sheer will, a pair of 48-rebound performances against Minnesota and New York. Gabby Williams is nearing a return after signing back last month, which adds another hardworking leader to the squad; the veterans on this team have been doing their best to maintain positivity despite the tough results, and everyone seems to be keeping their heads up. That might be tested, though, as Jewell Loyd, the W’s top scorer, injured her ankle on Saturday afternoon in their tight loss to New York. We’re still awaiting news on the severity, but the road might get even tougher in the short-term.
10. Indiana Fever (5-14, No. 8 last rankings)
We were feeling so great about the Fever two weeks ago, and it has been… anything but that ever since. At last check-in, they were 5-8, Aliyah Boston had just been named an All-Star starter, and they looked like they were finally turning the corner in close games. They’ve lost all six contests since, and the vibes are not good. Though the players themselves deny any rift, Twitter fingers are flying. Whether it’s secondary stress from that or from the compounding losses, shoulders are sagging in the huddle lately. Hopefully, the players can regroup during the short hiatus and come back refocused and refreshed.
9. Los Angeles Sparks (7-12, No. 5 last rankings)
At every check-in to this point, the Sparks have been either at .500 or a game off it. Well, the wheels have fallen off now. On a five-game losing streak since our last check-in, the Sparks are floundering, though it’s hard to blame them. Nobody has battled more injuries than Los Angeles, and it’s not even particularly close.
That doesn’t even take into account that they’d initially planned on having Steph Talbot and Katie Lou Samuelson rostered for the season. They’ve valiantly weathered nonstop illness and injury, despite inconsistent lineups and ever-changing rotations, but it’s caught up lately. Still, the talent is there; hopefully, Los Angeles can use the short break to recuperate enough to turn it around once again in the second half.
8. Chicago Sky (8-11, No. 9 last rankings)
James Wade is out as coach and GM, taking an assistant coach job with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. It was an abrupt shift, but it’s difficult to fault anyone for making a choice they feel is best for their family and career. On the court, the Sky continue to search for consistency. At the time of our last rankings, they’d lost six in a row but started this two-week stretch with three straight wins before dropping back-to-back games by double digits to the red hot Atlanta Dream. Courtney Williams continues to be tremendous, adding a Player of the Week honor to her accolades, and her distribution has kept them close most nights. However, this team will need to find more buckets beyond what she’s creating.
7. Minnesota Lynx (9-10, No. 11 last rankings)
Break up the Minnesota Lynx. After starting the year 0-6, they’ve nearly climbed all the way back to .500 on the back of an MVPhee campaign. Minnesota has won eight of their last 11, scrambling back into the middle of the pack despite being outscored by 19 points during that stretch. They’ve yet to win a game by more than 11 points this season, but they are managing to pull out the close ones. Napheesa Collier is a major reason why. In the last 11 contests, she’s averaging 23.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 stocks (steals plus blocks) per game. Across the league, those numbers rank tied for second, eighth, and fourth, respectively.
6. Atlanta Dream (10-8, No. 7 last rankings)
The Dream are hot again. They’d baffled us, losing three in a row following upset wins on the road over both New York and Connecticut, but have now tallied Ws in five straight. Both Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker are All-Star bound, and Rhyne Howard has been making a case as this year’s largest snub.
Rhyne Howard’s last 5 games (@AtlantaDream 5-0)
4.8 apg to 1.4 TO’s
55.8/47.6/83 shooting splits while taking over 8 threes per game
— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) July 10, 2023
In the game immediately following her omission, Howard put up an ultra-efficient 43 points on 70 percent shooting—the second-most points in franchise history, as well as tops in her young career—in a statement win over the Sparks. Yes, the last four games were wins over two struggling teams in Los Angeles and Chicago, but it’s not easy to win back-to-back sets in this league, and Atlanta has done it twice in a row after splitting a pair with Washington.
5. Dallas Wings (10-9, No. 6 last rankings)
The Wings have been on the rise lately, winning four of five. They’re overcoming some inefficiency by completely beasting on the boards, first in the W in both offensive and total rebounds per game (RPG) by a large margin. With that effort on the glass, Dallas averages more than three shot attempts than the next closest team, generating possessions at a high clip. Satou Sabally (9.3 RPG), Teaira McCowan (9.0 RPG), Natasha Howard (8.2 RPG), and Kalani Brown (6.9 RPG) have headed that effort, and the team is enjoying the dividends of that work. They were +11 in rebounding last week when they handed the Aces just their second defeat of the season, with a multiple-possession effort in the final seconds to seal the upset.
4. Washington Mystics (10-8, No. 4 last rankings)
We’ve seen glimpses from the Mystics, of the potential they have to take over a game, to play their style of basketball in a way that completely disarms opponents. Some nights, though, the inefficiencies on the roster are tough to overcome. Shooting from deep has continued to be an issue, and back-to-back poor shooting nights contributed to losses in Atlanta (3-of-18, 16.7 percent) and Dallas (4-of-25, 16.0 percent). Injuries have started to pile up, as well. First, they lost Shakira Austin to a hip injury. Now, Natasha Cloud has missed time, and Elena Delle Donne has battled an ankle injury, which she re-injured upon Sunday’s return.
3. Connecticut Sun (14-5, No. 2 last rankings)
The Sun, improbably, continue to roll following Bri Jones’ season-ending injury. Okay, maybe it’s tough to say improbably, because this is a franchise that has proven, year after year, that they’re going to compile wins. Alyssa Thomas is a nightly triple-double threat, and DeWanna Bonner is having a career renaissance; both are rightly Vegas bound for All-Star festivities. The depth this season has come in clutch, and that hasn’t been a staple of Connecticut teams in recent seasons. It’s unfortunate that they are relied upon so heavily, but things are still looking Sunny in Uncasville.
2. New York Liberty (13-4, No. 3 last rankings)
For the first time in a while, the Liberty have leapfrogged the Connecticut Sun in our rankings, putting them second to just Las Vegas. Part of that might be the fact that they’ve now won both ends of the series against the Sun, and sit in the driver’s seat to represent the Eastern Conference in the Commissioner’s Cup—they’ll seal their spot if they can beat the Fever in Indy on Wednesday to close out their first half. New York still has its flaws, with rebounding, bench production, and finishing games being the largest challenges to date, but we’ve also seen flashes of what this team can be when clicking. Currently pushing the all-time record for assists per contest, while also hitting more threes per night while also shooting the highest percentage in the league from deep, the offensive potential is all there. To outclass the Aces, though, they’ll need to get better at the little things.
1. Las Vegas Aces (17-2, No. 1 last rankings)
Yes, the Aces lost a second game, but they largely continue to roll. In this latest stretch, they cruised to blowouts over both the Liberty and Sun, hosting both in Las Vegas and bludgeoning them before the home crowd. Four Aces will represent their city in the All-Star game, all chosen by captain A’ja Wilson. Eleven of Vegas’ 17 wins have been by 13 or more points, and we’re approaching the midpoint of the season with lots of WNBA team records in play. As it’s been all season, the trophy looks like it’s theirs to lose.
Largest Climb: Minnesota Lynx (+4 spots)
Largest Fall: Los Angeles Sparks (-4 spots)
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