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 for action.
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
8 0-0 Washington returns 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