WNBA.com Power Rankings: May 15, 2007
The 2007 regular season is here, and with it comes the return of the WNBA.com editorial staff's weekly Power Rankings. Since we have only last season's performances, offseason maneuverings and our own opinions to draw on, these rankings are full of speculation and guesswork. Based on all of those factors, we see the balance of power shifting to the East, with 2006 WNBA champs Detroit, Indiana and Connecticut leading the way as we enter Week 1.
|2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Preseason edition|
|1||0-0||OK, so maybe the Shock weren't
the best team in the regular season in 2006. Still, they managed to win
the title with depth, toughness and a team mentality. And the Shock are
still loaded. Having added veteran point guard Shannon "Pee Wee" Johnson
and rookie Ivory Latta, there's no reason to think they'll fall off. They're
the team to beat in 2007.
Upcoming: vs. Sacramento
|2||0-0|| The Fever return
all five starters including all-world forward Tamika Catchings, who is still
in search of her first WNBA title. And this could be the year they get over
the hump. Having shrewdly added veteran Tammy Sutton-Brown and 6-7 rookie
center Alison Bales, they have addressed their issues in the post and will
be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
Upcoming: vs. Minnesota
|3||0-0||Literally a team full
of All-Stars, Connecticut rounds out the Eastern bloc atop the Power Rankings.
Despite losing veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin to Los Angeles, they will
contend for the crown with a deep, balanced roster that still includes Katie
Douglas, Nykesha Sales, Margo Dydek and Lindsay Whalen. If Asjha Jones can
turn into an impact player, the sky's the limit.
Upcoming: at Washington
|4||0-0|| Some might
scoff at how high we have the Sparks ranked, but we can't overstate the
impact Taj McWilliams-Franklin is going to have in L.A. No, she's no Lisa
Leslie, but this is a young, solid squad that will benefit from her presence,
both on and off the court. If Chamique Holdsclaw comes to play, this is
the best team in the West, even without Leslie.
Upcoming: at Chicago (5/22)
|5||0-0|| The Monarchs have won the West
each of the last two seasons, and they'll challenge for the title again
in 2007. They are returning all of their core players and defensive-stopper/guard
Chelsea Newton returns to the squad after a year in Chicago. If they stay
true to their defense-first mentality, they will be tough to beat.
Upcoming: at Detroit, at Minnesota
|6||0-0|| Now that stars
Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird are back with the Storm after busy offseasons
abroad, things are starting to take shape. Betty Lennox is ready to take
another step toward WNBA stardom, Janell Burse is solid in the middle, Wendy
Palmer is back from injury and rookie Katie Gearlds is polished and ready
Upcoming: vs. Houston
|7||0-0||The Silver Stars are without question
the most improved team heading into the 2007 season. Having landed guard
Becky Hammon and post player Ruth Riley in separate deals, the experience
and skill levels have been boosted significantly. All-Star Sophia Young
will continue her development into a star in this league, Marie Ferdinand-Harris
will be back after having a baby last season and Erin Buescher will contribute
off the bench. San Antonio is a team on the rise.
Upcoming: at Phoenix
a core of very solid players, including Alana Beard, Delisha Milton-Jones,
Nikki Teasley and Chasity Melvin among others. They don't have a ton of
depth off the bench, but we predict the Mystics will be the final playoff
team in the East.
Upcoming: vs. Connecticut
|9||0-0|| After a seven-game win streak
to finish off the 2006 campaign, the Mercury will compete for a playoff
spot in 2007. With stars Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter back to lead
the Mercury's run-and-gun offense and with Penny Taylor available for the
entire season, this is a team that will score a lot of points and win a
lot of games. Tangela Smith will help alleviate some of the interior woes
from which Phoenix has suffered in previous seasons.
Upcoming: vs. San Antonio
|10||0-0|| Houston returns
three legitimate stars in Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Michelle Snow,
but their backcourt is full of questions. Can first- and second-round draft
picks Ashley Shields and Dee Davis step up and earn playing time as rookies?
Will Roneeka Hodges take the reins and be the frontcourt's main provider?
New coach Karleen Thompson has some decisions to make, but with even decent
guard play, the Comets are playoff contenders.
Upcoming: at Seattle
|11||0-0||Like the Silver Stars, the Lynx
will be much improved over last season. Adding No. 1 overall draft pick
Lindsey Harding to last year's No. 1 pick, Seimone Augustus, Minnesota brought
in skill, leadership and defensive energy. Nicole Ohlde and Amber Jacobs
are getting better every day and new coach Don Zierden should improve on
the Lynx' 2006 win total.
Upcoming: at Indiana, vs. Sacramento
|12||0-0||The loss of Becky
Hammon will really hurt in New York, but the Liberty, too, are building
for the future. Picking up the 2007 draft's top two frontcourt players,
Jessica Davenport (in the Hammon deal) and Tiffany Jackson (with the No.
5 pick in the draft), the team now has two young players around whom they
can build. Shameka Christon is also developing into an All-Star level player
and the backcourt of Sherill Baker and Loree Moore is solid, if unspectacular.
This could be a long year for the Liberty, but their youngsters will be
fun to watch.
Upcoming: vs. Chicago
|13||0-0||The expansion Sky had a rough
go in their inaugural season, earning only five wins in 34 contests under
coach Dave Cowens. But the skies appear to be clearing under the new man
in charge Bo Overton. Chicago picked up Monique Currie in the Dispersal
Draft, signed free agent guard Dominique Canty, then snagged Mississippi's
Armintie Price with the third pick in the draft. Combined with the continued
maturation of Candice Dupree, the Sky are building a solid foundation for
the coming years.
Upcoming: at New York