The Las Vegas Aces didn't get off to a terrible start this summer. If anything, it was more just a bit disappointing considering they have arguably the most talent in the league and were considered a main title contender. But since opening up 2-2, they've been borderline unstoppable, and look every bit the elite club they were expected to be this season.
They've won five games in a row and eight of their last nine to improve to 10-3 on the season, which has them all alone in second place. And it hasn't been like they're just scraping by, either. Five of those wins have come by 20-plus points; the rest of the teams in the league combined have 10 wins by 20-plus points.
With the first month of the season now in the books, the Aces are first in offensive rating (108.1), first in defensive rating (94.3) and first in net rating (plus-13.9). While they haven't been the best or most consistent team the whole way through, they have looked the most dominant when they're at their best.
As expected, the depth of talent is now shining through. A'ja Wilson and Liz Cambage are commanding the paint, Chelsea Gray has taken control of the offense, Kelsey Plum and Riquna Williams are providing just enough outside shooting to keep teams honest and Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby are doing a little bit of everything.
The 1-3 combined record against the Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm is all that's kept this from being a perfect opening third of the season for the Aces. They are, without a doubt, one of the teams to beat.
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1. Seattle Storm (12-2) -- Last week No. 1
Weeks don't get much easier than the one the Storm just had, as they beat the Sun without Jonquel Jones, and the Fever twice. They've now won five games in a row, all by double digits, and sit all alone in first place at 12-2. An added benefit of those easy wins is that head coach Noelle Quinn has been able to get her star players some much-needed rest after they were carrying heavy workloads to start the season.
2. Las Vegas Aces (10-3) -- Last week No. 3
The Aces are on fire. They've won five in a row and eight of their last nine to surge into second place at 10-3. They lead the league in offensive, defensive and net rating and have six different players averaging double figures in scoring -- tied for the most in the league. The first few weeks may have been a bit rocky, but we're seeing now why the Aces were one of the title favorites coming into the season.
3. Connecticut Sun (8-4) -- Last week No. 2
In what comes as little surprise, the Sun don't look all that great without Jonquel Jones. The early-season MVP candidate is overseas competing in EuroBasket with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sun are 0-2 in the two games she's missed. They're just going to have to try and tread water until she gets back sometime later this month.
4. Chicago Sky (6-7) -- Last week No. 6
Turns out it's helpful to have your best players on the court. The Sky have won four in a row since Candace Parker returned from an ankle injury, and are now 5-0 with her in the lineup this season. It hasn't just been Parker, however, as Allie Quigley (hamstring injury) and Stefanie Dolson (national team commitment) are back as well. With their full team again, the Sky have quickly climbed back to sixth place in the standings, and should be in the top four in no time.
5. Minnesota Lynx (5-6) -- Last week No. 5
Some good, some bad for the Lynx lately. They're now 5-3 since their awful start, Napheesa Collier is rounding into form and Layshia Clarendon has been a nice pickup to help solidify the backcourt. On the flip side, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa are both out indefinitely and they absolutely cannot stop turning the ball over. Since the start of June, they have a 21.9 turnover percentage.
6. Washington Mystics (5-6) -- Last week No. 7
The Mystics split a two-game series with the Dream this week, and have now won three of their last four to improve to 5-6 on the season. Things obviously haven't gone to plan for them, but if they can hang around .500 until Elena Delle Donne gets back, they'll give themselves a chance to make some noise after the Olympic break. That's when their star is now expected to return from offseason back surgery.
7. Phoenix Mercury (5-7) -- Last week No. 4
Phoenix had been largely holding things together without Diana Taurasi, but they've now lost four straight games -- their longest losing streak since 2019 -- to fall to 5-7 on the season. The good news for them is they're about to get a little bit of a break. After Friday's matchup with the Sparks, they won't play again for nine days. That should give them a chance to rest and regroup.
8. Los Angeles Sparks (5-5) -- Last week No. 11
It hasn't always been pretty -- all five of their losses are by double digits and they have the second-worst offense in the league -- but the Sparks deserve a lot of credit for continuing to grind out wins despite all of their injuries. They're currently in a tie for fourth place, and one of only five teams at or above .500. Few would have expected that given the way their season started.
9. Dallas Wings (5-7) -- Last week No. 8
Two straight losses to end the week for the Wings, as they've dropped to 5-7 on the season. One potentially worrying trend for them is Marina Mabrey's cold streak. After an incredibly hot start she's just 12 of 47 from the field in the last four games, and as a result their offense has dropped down to eighth in the league during that stretch.
10. New York Liberty (6-6) -- Last week No. 10
Things are really starting to fall apart for the Liberty. They went out West and were absolutely destroyed by the Aces in back-to-back games, and have now lost five of their last six. Natasha Howard is still out with a knee injury and Sabrina Ionescu has missed time due to an ankle problem. While Ionescu did return last game and played a brief role off the bench, it's going to be rough for the Liberty if she's limited and Howard is out.
11. Atlanta Dream (5-7) -- Last week No. 9
While the Dream did finally snap a four-game losing streak with a win over the Mystics, they then lost to them a few days later. After that little run earlier in the season, the Dream are now 1-5 since the start of June. Some of that is playing a much tougher schedule, some of that is Chennedy Carter's absence and some of that is an inability to get stops.
12. Indiana Fever (1-13) -- Last week No. 12
Look, there's really just not a whole lot to say at this point. At least they finally lost a game by single digits? Not only is this team bad, but they're on pace to be historically bad. They still only have one win as we approach the midway point of the season, and their minus-17.5 net rating would be the second-worst in league history.