With all of the injuries and absences teams are dealing with, there's still plenty of uncertainty around the WNBA. One thing that is clear, however, is that the Connecticut Sun are really good.
While most of the league hovers around .500 as they try to figure things out, the Sun are surging. They're undefeated in June, rattling off six straight wins to improve their league-best record to 8-1, and have already opened up a two and a half game lead for the top spot.
After winning 21 games in each of the last two seasons, the Sun are on pace for 30 wins this time around, and look capable of grabbing a top-two seed. Which, as they know all too well after falling in the single-elimination second round in each of the past two postseasons, is vital.
Jonquel Jones has led the way, establishing herself as an MVP candidate by putting up career numbers across the board. Back in the starting lineup after the Chiney Ogwumike trade, Jones is averaging 17.2 points, 12 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, and hasn't even started shooting the ball all that well from 3 yet. Once she gets going from behind the arc, watch out.
But for all of Jones' prowess on both sides of the ball, it's been a true team effort from the Sun -- or at least from their starting lineup, who have used their health and familiarity with each other to get off to a tremendous start. The starting five is crushing teams, boasting a plus-18.4 net rating, though if there's one area of concern for the Sun, it's their bench.
Head coach Curt Miller has spent all season shuffling players around in an effort to find bench units that work. So far, no lineup besides the starters have played more than 10 minutes together, and few heavy bench lineups have found success, in large part due to their reserves' lack of shooting. So far it hasn't mattered, because they've stayed healthy and the starters are just that good, but it is something to pay attention to as the season rolls along.
1. Connecticut Sun (8-1) -- No movement
The Sun keep cruising along, completing yet another perfect week to extend their winning streak to six games and improve their record to a league-best 8-1. Their starting lineup is still crushing teams, but one area to watch is Curt Miller's continued shuffling of bench units. No lineup besides the starters has played more than 10 minutes together.
2. Las Vegas Aces (4-3) -- Up 6
The Aces haven't always looked super impressive, but for all the growing pains they boast the best net rating in the league and sit in third place at 4-3. They're still a work in progress, especially on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see if their defense is for real, or just a reflection of who they've played.
3. Chicago Sky (4-2) -- Up 6
At least for the moment, the Sky have taken control of second place after extending their winning streak to three games this week. They haven't had the toughest schedule, but there have been some encouraging signs that this team is moving in the right direction, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
4. Los Angeles Sparks (4-3) -- No movement
One step forward, one step back. That's what we've seen from the Sparks this season, and it continued this week with a dominant win over the Mercury, followed by a surprising home loss to the Liberty. The good news is that even as they try to figure things out, they're still 4-3, which is tied for third in the league, and Candace Parker should be back soon.
5. Seattle Storm (5-4) -- No movement
Adding to their injury problems, second-year point guard Jordin Canada is now out indefinitely after suffering a bone bruise during their win over the Mystics. While they don't have the firepower to consistently beat elite teams, the Storm proved yet again this week that they can compete with anyone.
6. Washington Mystics (4-3) -- Down 4
Following a string of recent gun violence incidents, Natasha Cloud announced after the Mystics' loss that, with the support of her teammates, she will be enforcing a media blackout. Until she gets what she believes is an acceptable response from local politicians, she will only answer questions about gun violence.
7. New York Liberty (3-5) -- Up 3
What a turnaround for the Liberty. After an 0-4 start, they've now won three out of four, including wins over the Aces, Lynx and Sparks. The most encouraging thing about their recent success is that they've done it despite Tina Charles struggling. From Kia Nurse to Asia Durr to Amanda Zahui B., members of the supporting cast have stepped up big time.
8. Indiana Fever (4-4) -- Down 2
Surprisingly, this was the first losing week of the season for the Fever, who continue to be far more competitive than anyone expected. They've still only beat the Liberty and Wings, but wins are wins. Easily the most impressive aspect of their start has been their offense, which is second in the league behind only the high-powered Mystics.
9. Minnesota Lynx (4-5) -- Down 6
After a hot start, the Lynx are starting to come back down to earth. They went winless this week and have now lost four in a row, though the encouraging sign is those losses are by a combined 19 points, which shows they're still competitive. The defense is still there, but finding consistent offense is proving problematic.
10. Phoenix Mercury (2-4) -- Down 3
After an up and down start to the season, the Mercury have just been down lately. They've lost two in a row as their defense continues to collapse and have fallen to 10th in the league at 2-4. Regardless of Diana Taurasi's absence, the Mercury have been one of the most disappointing teams this season.
11. Dallas Wings (1-5) -- Up 1
There are no longer any winless teams in the league, as the Wings secured their first victory with a big comeback win over the Dream on Saturday night. At this point it's pretty clear that they're going to struggle this season -- at the very least until Skylar Diggins-Smith returns -- but it was nice to see them finally get a win.
12. Atlanta Dream (1-5) -- Down 1
Only one game for the Dream this week, but it wasn't encouraging, as they collapsed in the second half against a previously winless Wings team. Their offense is still at a historically bad level, in large part because they can't shoot -- 25 percent from 3 -- but also because they have the second-worst turnover rate in the league.