Last week, the Dallas Wings selected Charli Collier with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, starting what turned out to be a surprising and confusing night. Now that the draft is in the books, it's time to turn our focus to the court.
Training camps will open on April 25, and from there it's only a few short weeks until the start of the season on May 14. There's plenty to talk about between now and then, but we'll begin by trying to take stock of the league in the wake of the draft.
So, without further ado, here are CBS Sports' first official WNBA Power Rankings ahead of the 2021 season:
1. Las Vegas Aces -- Lost in Finals
There really shouldn't be too much debate here. The Aces made it to the Finals last season without Liz Cambage nor Kelsey Plum, and both of them are back. Meanwhile, A'ja Wilson is coming off an MVP campaign and they signed Chelsea Gray in free agency. Las Vegas is the most talented team in the league and should be considered the pre-season favorite.
2. Chicago Sky -- Lost in first round
The Sky have spent the past few seasons hovering in the second tier of playoff teams, but haven't been able to crack the contenders club for a variety of reasons. Most notably -- with all due respect to Courtney Vandersloot -- the lack of a true superstar. That's no longer the case, as they signed Candace Parker this winter in the biggest move of free agency.
3. Seattle Storm -- Won 2020 championship
After winning their fourth championship in franchise history, the Storm took a definite step back in the offseason. They lost three key members of their championship rotation, and replaced them with a hodgepodge of veterans and young, unproven players. Still, you just can't drop the Storm too far down the rankings when they have the best player in the league in Breanna Stewart.
4. Minnesota Lynx -- Lost in semifinals
Cheryl Reeve and Co. were easily one of the biggest winners of the offseason. Not only did they sign Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers in free agency, but they somehow managed to get Rennia Davis with the No. 9 pick in the draft. Last season's success may have been a surprise, but that's over with. The Lynx are going to be a problem, and everyone knows it.
5. Washington Mystics -- Lost in first round
The Mystics are a tricky team to project. A few months ago you would have penciled them in as one of the favorites, but now it's not so clear. They lost Aerial Powers in free agency, Alysha Clark is out for the season due to a foot injury, Elena Delle Donne had another back surgery that may keep her out of training camp and Emma Meesseman's plans for the season are still in flux. Still a lot of talent there, but also a lot of questions.
6. Phoenix Mercury -- Lost in second round
Adding Kia Nurse and Megan Walker from the Liberty was a nice bit of offseason business by the Mercury, but the story is the same with them as it has been the past few years. The recent evidence they've shown us on the court suggests they're no longer a serious contender, and yet with Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith, there's just too much talent there to write them off completely.
7. Los Angeles Sparks -- Lost in second round
There's no question the Sparks were the biggest losers of free agency, as both Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray left town. And they didn't exactly make the best decisions on draft night either, though getting Arella Guirantes in the second round softened the blow there. It's going to be strange watching this team enter a completely new era of basketball.
8. New York Liberty -- Did not make playoffs
After a busy offseason that included acquiring Natasha Howard, Sami Whitcomb and Betnijah Laney, the Liberty will roll into 2021 with essentially a brand new team. But as exciting as those moves were, and as much potential as they have on paper, this group is untested and we'll need to see them together on the court before completely buying in.
9. Connecticut Sun -- Lost in semifinals
The good news? Jonquel Jones is back after sitting out of the 2020 season due to health concerns. The bad news? Alyssa Thomas is out for the season after tearing her Achilles tendon while playing overseas. Sadly, the Sun's grand plans of forming a big three with those two and DeWanna Bonner will have to wait at least one more year.
10. Atlanta Dream -- Did not make playoffs
Atlanta took Aari McDonald with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft last week, which was somewhat surprising. But while there are some questions about how she'll fit, there's no question they'll have one of the most exciting young backcourts in the league. With Tiffany Hayes returning and some solid free agent signings, the Dream will be an interesting team to watch.
11. Dallas Wings -- Did not make playoffs
As expected, the Wings took Charli Collier and Awak Kuier with the Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks in the 2021 WNBA Draft, then added Chelsea Dungee at No. 5. Those three will join the likes of Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, giving the Wings an immense amount of young talent. That's the key word, however: young. No one on this team is older than 28.
12. Indiana Fever -- Did not make playoffs
The Fever have only won 34 games in the last four seasons combined, and unfortunately it's hard to see them adding many to that total this summer. Their rebuild has been all over the place, and they made some confusing decisions in free agency and the draft. In particular, they took Kysre Gondrezick with the No. 4 overall pick, despite most projections having her as a second- or third-rounder.