WNBA Power Rankings: Mystics take over the top spot as star Elena Delle Donne leads in early All-Star voting
The first-place Mystics are being represented well after the first return of votes. All-Star voting ends on Tuesday, July 9
The 2019 WNBA All-Star Game is set for Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, July 27. This is the 16th edition of the event, and will be the first time that the game will be played in Vegas after the Aces' move there in 2018. This is, however, the second time the Aces franchise will be hosts, the first being in 2011 when they were still in San Antonio and called the Stars.
Once again, the format will feature 22 players selected regardless of conference affiliation. The 10 starters will be voted on by a combination of fan, player and media voting, while coaches will select the reserves. The two players who receive the most votes will be named captains, and will select their teams during an All-Star Draft at a later date.
Following the first voting returns, Elena Delle Donne (20,337) and A'ja Wilson (15,379) were in the lead, but Liz Cambage (12,756) and Jonquel Jones (12,494) weren't far behind. I do not have an official media vote, but ahead of the end of voting on July 9th, here are the 10 players I would select as starters.
G: Odyssey Sims, Minnesota Lynx
G: Kayla McBride, Las Vegas Aces
G: Kristi Toliver, Washington Mystics
G: Erica Wheeler, Indiana Fever
F: Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics
F: Natasha Howard, Seattle Storm
F: Jonquel Jones, Connecticut Sun
F: Liz Cambage, Las Vegas Aces
F: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx
F: Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury
Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver have been instrumental in leading the Mystics to the best record in the league heading into this week of action. Together, they're combining for nearly 30 points per game, and their ability to shoot the ball from behind the arc is one of the main reasons the Mystics have by far the best offense in the league.
Another team surging in the standings is the Aces, who have been led by yet another stellar frontcourt-backcourt duo in Liz Cambage and Kayla McBride. Cambage got off to a bit of a slow start in her first season with the Aces, but has returned to her dominant ways lately, while McBride has been steady all season long while providing key shooting from the outside.
1. Washington Mystics (9-4) -- last week No. 2
Delle Donne-less loss to the Sparks on Sunday aside, the Mystics have now established themselves as the best team in the WNBA. Their loss against the Sparks snapped a five-game winning streak that probably would have been extended to six if their game against the Aces wasn't halted. Most impressive about their recent play has been their defense, which is second in the league despite questions about it coming into the season.
2. Las Vegas Aces (9-5) -- last week No. 4
Though their current three-game winning streak may be a bit phony considering they were getting blown out when their contest with the Mystics was stopped due to an earthquake, the Aces have started to put things together and are now tied for second place at 9-5. One cause for concern, though, is Kelsey Plum's shooting, which has plummeted off a cliff. She's just 10-of-48 from the field over her past seven games.
3. Connecticut Sun (9-6) -- last week No. 1
Long winning and losing streaks have been the theme in the WNBA lately, and the Sun extended their skid to four games on Saturday by dropping their first home game of the season to the Lynx. Nothing much has been going right during the downturn, but the biggest issue has been their defense, which has been getting torched.
4. Minnesota Lynx (8-6) -- last week No. 7
The Lynx are back on track. After handing the Sun their first home loss of the season, they completed a perfect 2-0 week and have now won four out of five games. They're up to 8-6 on the season, just a game and a half behind the Mystics for the best record in the league, and own the third-best net rating.
5. Los Angeles Sparks (7-6) -- last week No. 9
It's been difficult to get a feel for this WNBA season because so many teams keep having wild swings in form, and the Sparks are perhaps the most emblematic. Currently they're in the midst of one of the most impressive runs any team has had this season, extending their winning streak to three by crushing the league-leading Mystics on Sunday.
6. Chicago Sky (7-7) -- last week No. 3
The Sky are yet another team who have been quite up and down this season, and on Sunday snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over the Wings. The fact that their defense is among the worst in the league isn't much of a surprise, but the bigger concern is their sputtering offense.
7. Seattle Storm (8-8) -- last week No. 5
It's unfair to say the wheels are coming off for the Storm, because they've remained quite competitive, but they have lost three out of four games now after dropping both of their contests this week. With Jewell Loyd now on the shelf due to an ankle injury, perhaps they've finally found their limit in terms of how many injuries they can deal with.
8. Phoenix Mercury (6-6) -- last week No. 8
The Mercury almost collapsed down the stretch against the Dream on Sunday, but managed to hold on to secure the win and a 1-1 week. They've now won four of their last five games thanks in large part to Brittney Griner, who has surged into the lead in the scoring race behind two straight 30-point nights.
9. New York Liberty (7-8) -- last week No. 10
What a roller coaster this Liberty season has been. They've already had four-game losing and winning streaks, the latter of which was snapped on Sunday in ugly fashion against the Aces. It's going to be interesting to see how this team does now that Eurobasket is over. They have a bunch of returning players, and some big roster decisions to make.
10. Indiana Fever (6-9) -- last week No. 6
Well, the Fever have firmly established that they're better than the Wings this season. They snapped their four-game losing streak with a 20-point win over Dallas in their only game this week. They're now 3-0 against the Wings this season, with an average margin of victory of 13 points. They're 3-9 against everyone else.
11. Dallas Wings (4-9) -- last week No. 11
It was a winless week for the Wings, who dropped to 4-9 on the season, which has them in 11th place. There's been some positive signs, as Arike Ogunbowale continues to look more comfortable, but also some negative ones, with Azura Stevens hitting the injured list with a foot injury.
12. Atlanta Dream (3-10) -- last week No. 12
The Dream managed to snap their second four-game losing streak of the season this week with a road win over the Storm, so it wasn't all bad news, but they still went just 1-2 on their three-game road trip this week to drop to 3-10. Still in last place, it's the same story for this team; they can't score, and their once-stout defense is among the worst in the league.
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