The 2020 WNBA season will happen after all. On Monday, the league announced it has come to an agreement with the players on a plan to form a bubble environment at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. There will be a 22-game regular season, followed by a typical postseason schedule.
But while teams will be playing basketball this summer, the Las Vegas Aces are unfortunately going to do so without Kelsey Plum. The former No. 1 overall pick suffered a torn Achilles tendon last week and underwent season-ending surgery. With an open roster spot, the Aces immediately set out to look for a replacement.
They've found one in veteran guard Alex Bentley. Early on Tuesday afternoon, the Aces announced they've signed the former All-Star. "I'm extremely excited to join the Las Vegas Aces!" Bentley said in a statement. "Thanking God, the team and the entire Aces organization for this wonderful opportunity. Let's get it!"
A second-round pick back in 2013, Bentley spent her first seven seasons between the Atlanta Dream and Connecticut Sun. She played the past season and a half in Atlanta, helping them reach the semifinals in 2018 before they completely fell apart in 2019 and finished with the worst record in the league.
Once a solid scoring threat in the backcourt, Bentley has tailed off recently, and was especially disappointing last season. In 29 games, she averaged just nine points and three assists, while shooting a pitiful 30.7 percent from the field, and 23.5 percent from 3-point land.
Aces coach Bill Laimbeer is known to prefer veteran players, and there weren't exactly a ton of options out there for Las Vegas, but it's hard to see how this signing helps them that much. Bentley will shore up their point guard situation, but the biggest loss with Plum was her outside shooting, and Bentley does nothing to improve that; in fact, she makes it worse.
Last season, the Aces took just 15 3-pointers per game, which was last in the league, and Plum was their second-best shooter besides Kayla McBride. The threat of Plum's outside shot provided vital spacing around Cambage and Wilson, and it was little surprise the Aces' offense was much better when she was on the floor (plus-6.1 points per 100 possessions).
Bentley, meanwhile, is a career 29.6 percent 3-point shooter and is coming off a historically bad campaign, in which she became just the third player ever to take at least 4.7 3s per game, and shoot less than 25 percent on them, per Basketball Reference. She's just not going to be the same threat Plum was from outside.
Now, the Aces are still an incredibly talented team and remain one of the favorites for the 2020 title. But they have a glaring weakness in their lack of outside shooting and signing Bentley only made it worse.