1. Seattle Storm (21-11 last year)
Yes, Chicago has its title core back. Yes, Connecticut is finally healthy. But when Seattle has forward Breanna Stewart healthy, the Storm wins. It's kinda that simple. With the best player in the world the Storm won it all in 2018 and 2020. Without Stewart? Not so much, including last season, when she was injured late and missed the playoffs. Well, she's back, at least for now; many assume Stewart will head to New York once Sue Bird has retired. The core of Stewart and guards Bird and Jewell Loyd is intact. Watch out.
2. Chicago Sky (16-16)
They're all back. The Sky re-signed wing Kahleah Copper and guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley and added forward Emma Meesseman, the finals MVP for Washington in 2019, and guard Julie Allemand. Candace Parker is still an MVP candidate. This team finished .500 last year before catching fire late. Expect a more dominant start this season, and a chance for the Sky to become the first WNBA team to repeat as league champions since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002.
3. Connecticut Sun (26-6)
This could, finally, be the Sun's year. Star post Jonquel Jones has been re-signed, long term. The Sun added Courtney Williams, who will provide more offense than Briann January, whom Williams replaces. Perhaps most importantly, Alyssa Thomas should be back to 100 percent. The core of Jones, Thomas and DeWanna Bonner is an intimidating one. The Sun has reached at least the semifinals three straight years, and was runner-up in 2019. This could be the year.
4. Las Vegas Aces (24-8)
The Aces will look like a very different team than the post-dominant team of the last few years. Becky Hammon has replaced Bill Laimbeer as coach, and there is a new GM. Center Liz Cambage is gone. But that might be OK. Hammon wants to run a more up-tempo, spread-out offense anchored by A'ja Wilson in the post. The team's personnel, which includes forward Dearica Hamby and guards Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum seems tailor-made for Hammon's offense.
5. Minnesota Lynx (22-10)
Coach and GM Cheryl Reeve has done her best to try to give center Sylvia Fowles another title in the final year of her storied career. Will it be enough? Forward Angel McCoughtry has been added. Guard Aerial Powers ended last season strong and much is expected of her. The Lynx will have to wait for Kayla McBride to return from Europe, and might not have Napheesa Collier (pregnancy) this season. At best, she'll be a late arrival.
6. Phoenix Mercury (19-13)
All-Star center Brittney Griner is still detained in Russia. But the Mercury, runners up last season, with new head coach Vanessa Nygaard, has loaded up for a run to get guard Diana Taurasi her fourth title. Key additions: Center Tina Charles, last year's top scorer, and guard Diamond DeShields. Those additions, along with Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith, make the Mercury serious title contenders.
7. Washington Mystics (12-20)
If star wing Elena Delle Donne is healthy, really healthy after missing all of 2020 and most of 2021 with a back injury, then this ranking is likely low. Delle Donne says she's healthy, but time will quickly tell. If she's back, with forward Alysha Clark also back after missing last year with a foot injury? Playing with guard Ariel Atkins and forward Myisha Hines-Allen? This is a dangerous team, even with Emma Meesseman gone.
8. Los Angeles Sparks (12-20)
The Sparks went hard in free agency. They signed center Liz Cambage and traded for guard Chennedy Carter and wing Katie Lou Samuelson. Forward Nneka Ogwumike, a former MVP, is healthy. This is an intriguing mix of talent. It will all come down to how all these players mix together. Carter was limited to 11 games in Atlanta last year before being suspended. Cambage brings a little baggage to L.A. as well.
9. New York Liberty (12-20)
Sandy Brondello has moved from Phoenix to the New York, and inherits a young talented team that includes 2021 rookie of the year forward Michaela Onyenwere and guard Sabrina Ionescu. The Liberty has proven winners in post Natasha Howard and incoming center Stefanie Dolson, both of whom have won titles elsewhere. Add in Betnijah Laney and this is a talented group.
10. Dallas Wings (14-18)
This is a talented team that has proven for years it can score, but has yet to prove it can defend at a level necessary to make a jump in the standings. Guard Arike Ogunbowale is one of the most talented offensive players in the league. There is talent with guard Allisha Gray and forward Satou Sabally. The addition of center Teaira McCowan gives the Wings a rim protector.
11. Atlanta Dream (8-24)
After missing the playoffs for a third straight season, Atlanta is starting over with a new coach in Tanisha Wright and Rhyne Howard, the 6-2 forward drafted first overall in the 2022 draft. This is a team starting over. And in a league as tough and balanced as it has ever been, it will be difficult for the Dream to make significant strides this season.
12. Indiana Fever (6-26)
Five straight seasons without a playoff appearance was enough for the Fever to reset. Lin Dunn, who coached the Fever to the 2012 title, is back as GM. She cleared house and is now starting over with youth after becoming the first team in WNBA history to have four of the top 10 picks in the draft. That haul included No. 2 pick forward NaLyssa Smith as well as forward Emily Engstler (fourth overall), guard Lexie Hull (sixth) and forward/center Queen Egbo (10th).