Though the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury are making strong cases of their own, the Atlanta Dream have been the most disappointing team this season.
A semi-finalist last season, the Dream started off this campaign with an opening-night win over the Dallas Wings, but have proceeded to win just one game since on their way to a 2-7 record. More so than just the losses is the way they've been playing.
Though never expected to be all that great on offense, they're bordering on historically bad on that end of the floor, while their once-elite defense has been at times the worst in the league. "We have to have energy all 40 minutes," veteran point guard Renee Montgomery exhorted in the huddle after their loss to the Washington Mystics on Sunday. As the losses continue to mount, the Dream are finding it tougher and tougher to show up for all four quarters.
Of course, it must be noted that they're playing without Angel McCoughtry, one of the best players in the history of the WNBA. Not only an elite scorer who could help prevent their brutal scoring droughts that often extend for minutes at a time, McCoughtry is one of the best defensive players in the league as well.
Speaking of McCoughtry, she gave an interview to The Athletic this week in which she detailed some serious concerns regarding her rehab, insinuating that the Dream not only mishandled it, but tried to trade her in the middle of the process. To that end, McCoughtry is understandably frustrated, and appears happy to take her time and make sure she doesn't return until she's convinced she's 100 percent, which may not be until September.
The Dream are a mess right now, and it's hard to see how things get significantly better any time soon.
1. Connecticut Sun (9-2) -- last week No. 1
The Sun finally had an off night and slipped up against a red-hot Sky team, ending their seven-game winning streak. Even the best teams are going to have nights like that sometimes, though, and it's still pretty clear that the Sun are the best team in the WNBA right now.
2. Washington Mystics (7-3) -- last week No. 7
Talk about a response. After a rough week that ended with blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter at home, the Mystics re-established themselves as an elite squad with perhaps the most impressive week we've seen from any team this season. They went on the road and proceeded to crush the Sparks, Aces and Dream by an average of 22.6 points.
3. Chicago Sky (6-3) -- last week No. 3
Their win on Sunday over the first-place Sun was tremendous, and a showcase of the incredible offensive potential this team has. That they've been putting things together on the defensive end, however, has been more impressive after years of languishing on that side of the ball. They're already nearly halfway to last season's win total.
4. Las Vegas Aces (5-4) -- last week No. 2
Not sure we learned much about the Aces this week. They looked out of sorts against the Mystics at home, then bounced back a few days later with a blowout win over a bad Wings team. It's always been clear that they're better than the bottom tier teams, but they've yet to show any sort of consistency against other good teams.
5. Seattle Storm (7-4) -- last week No. 5
While the Sun have been the best team this season, the Storm have by far been the most impressive. Given the injuries they're dealing with, they really have no business being in this position, but they just keep grinding out wins. We're a month into the season now, and they're still in fourth place at 7-4.
6. Indiana Fever (5-6) -- last week No. 8
It's no surprise that the Fever have started to come back down to earth after their hot start. As improved as they look, four of their five wins are still over the Liberty and Wings. One player whose hot start seems for real, though, is Erica Wheeler. The fifth-year point guard is putting together a career season and has been one of the most fun players to watch in the league.
7. Minnesota Lynx (5-5) -- last week No. 9
Only one game for the Lynx this week and they finally ended their four-game losing streak with a win over the Liberty. It was encouraging that their offense showed some signs of life, but doing so against the worst defense in the league isn't exactly that impressive. How they score consistently against good teams is still a question mark.
8. Phoenix Mercury (3-5) -- last week No. 10
The Mercury's bizarre season continued earlier this week with a dreadful loss to the Wings in which they managed just 54 points. They did at least bounce back with a win over the Sparks on Sunday, but this team desperately needs Diana Taurasi back in the lineup. The good news is she appears very close to a return.
9. Los Angeles Sparks (4-6) -- last week No. 4
So much for Candace Parker settling the Sparks down. Her return has only seemed to complicate things for a team that was already having trouble figuring out their identity. They have too much talent, and have faced too many injuries early on to give up on them just yet, but perhaps it's time to start altering expectations for this team after four straight losses.
10. New York Liberty (3-7) -- last week No. 7
Well it appears the Liberty's mini hot streak was not a sign of things to come. They've lost two in a row now, in large part due to terrible performances on the defensive end. Plus, while they struggled to find support for Tina Charles early in the season, it's now their star who isn't doing her part. She's shooting 32 percent over her last five games.
11. Dallas Wings (2-6) -- last week No. 11
The Wings' victory over the Mercury early in the week was one of the most bizarre games of the season, as they won by 15 points despite turning the ball over 21 times and shooting 39 percent from the field. They predictably followed that up with a blowout loss to the Aces, though, which was expected considering they aren't very good.
12. Atlanta Dream (2-7) -- last week No. 12
The Dream finally ended their five-game losing streak by beating the Fever, but followed that up by getting routed by the Sun and Mystics. More concern aside from their pitiful offense is that Angel McCoughtry may not be back until September, and seems to be upset with the franchise over how her rehab was handled.