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What’s wrong with the Seattle Storm?

What's wrong with the Seattle Storm?

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The Seattle Storm looked like the presumptive favorite for much of this season. In this week’s WNBA Power Rankings, they’ve slid down another two slots.

The WNBA playoff picture is rounding into focus and it’s not quite what we all expected.

Connecticut and Las Vegas currently hold the top two seeds and the double byes that come with that, but the Lynx are just 1.5 games back of Vegas right now. Anything can still happen.

Where does each team rank in this week’s WNBA Power Rankings?

12

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Atlanta Dream 7-20

Last rank: 12

Props to the Dream for winning their first game since June, with a 69-64 win over the Dallas Wings. It wasn’t a pretty win, but Tiffany Hayes continues to give her all to this team, as she had 22 in the win. The Dream still aren’t playing enough Aari McDonald and wins threaten to hurt their lottery odds, but it’s good to see some fight out of this team and to see them hold a team like Dallas that has such a good offense to just 64 points.

11

Indiana Fever 6-21

Last rank: 11

Indiana lost by just five to the Mercury. They have two wins in the last five games. Yeah, this team is bad, but there’s something here that isn’t here with Atlanta. The Fever pass the “this team isn’t as bad as their record” eye test. Kelsey Mitchell has been a joy to watch offensively. Teaira McCowan is getting the minutes she needs to do things like “put up a 13 and 15.” Indiana needs more talent this offseason, but some pieces are there.

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10

Los Angeles Sparks 10-18

Last rank: 9

I really, really thought the Sparks were about to make a run and get a playoff spot, but then they went and lost five games in a row Kristi Toliver is out, which contributes to that, but I think the biggest issue is that this team just doesn’t have a lot of options right now. Against Minnesota, just three bench players entered the game, and one of those was Arella Guirantes, who played three minutes. Maybe Nneka Ogwumike can ignite a late run, but I’m growing less and less sure of that by the day. It’s good to see Lauren Cox playing serious minutes off the bench.

9

New York Liberty 11-18

Last rank: 10

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It’s wild that the Liberty have lost six games in a row but are still technically the eighth seed. The race for the final playoff spot in the WNBA isn’t even a race this year; it’s just a handful of teams constantly tripping over themselves and trying not to fall down. New York is falling, but they haven’t fallen all the way yet. Sabrina Ionescu is getting her scoring back, which is nice to see.

8

Washington Mystics 10-17

Last rank: 7

Elena Delle Donne was back until she wasn’t — she now hasn’t played since August 26th against the Wings — but Tina Charles is back in the lineup. Now if Myisha Hines-Allen can return and EDD can give them even just a handful of minutes down the stretch, this team will get past New York for the final playoff spot.

7

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Dallas Wings 12-16

Last rank: 8

Awak Kuier and Charli Collier are getting minutes! Sure, it’s because of a Satou Sabally Achilles injury and Isabelle Harrison having COVID, but it’s still good to see the first two picks in this year’s draft combine to play 30 minutes against Atlanta, and to see Collier score 10 points and grab seven rebounds. Dallas is inexplicably in the playoffs right now despite not having their second-best player since the Olympic break.

6

Chicago Sky 15-14

Last rank: 6

This team is just so incredibly average. In a league where five teams are really good and six teams are under .500 by at least four games, Chicago continues to just float in the middle. They can beat a good team like Vegas. They can lose to a good team like Vegas. They can bulldoze the Storm, and then lose by 20 the next game to Phoenix. I wouldn’t want to play the Sky in a single-elimination playoff game. I would like to play them in an actual series.

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5

Seattle Storm 19-10

Last rank: 3

A good win Thursday over the Liberty, but unfortunately, Seattle is still 4-6 in their past 10 games, something that can’t be ignored. And that New York game was uncomfortably close until the fourth quarter, and it followed a three-game losing streak against the Lynx and Sky. Seattle can still crank up the volume and beat anyone, but teams are figuring out how to defend this team and Breanna Stewart just seems like she’s being asked to do a little too much to make up for some deficiencies in the rotation.

4

Phoenix Mercury 18-10

Last rank: 5

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I couldn’t keep Phoenix below Seattle any longer. Not when the Mercury are on a nine-game winning streak and are just 0.5 games behind Seattle. The Big 3 in Phoenix never quite clicked last season, but things have changed. This team is just blowing the doors off of teams, though their last game was just a five-point win over a scrappy Fever team. I’m still not sold on Phoenix as title contenders because I’m never going to get past the depth concerns, but Bria Hartley is back, which might alleviate some of those issues.

3

Minnesota Lynx 18-9

Last rank: 4

Minnesota has won five straight, which has included victories over Chicago and Seattle. The duo of Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier remains one of the best frontcourts in the league, and the team now has Aerial Powers back, who had 20 points off the bench in the win over Washington. The Lynx are clicking on all cylinders and have to be considered in the championship conversation.

2

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Las Vegas Aces 20-8

Last rank: 2

I almost moved Vegas down after their 90-83 loss to the Sky, but a 3-1 record over the last four games keeps them in this spot for now. But with Dearica Hamby and Liz Cambage both out, this team is thin upfront. The good news: Kiah Stokes is filling in admirably at the five, pulling down rebounds at a high rate. Kelsey Plum is lighting up the scoreboard off the bench. Vegas is going to be fine as long as they’re healthy by the playoffs.

1

Connecticut Sun 21-6

Last rank: `

Connecticut played just one game last week, a 10-point win over the Mystics. But despite the light schedule, the Sun and their nine-game win streak remain first in the power rankings for the second week in a row. Jonquel Jones added to her MVP resume in that win, with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Jones isn’t just becoming the MVP favorite at this point; she’s actually got a good claim for the title of “best player in the WNBA.”

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