After finishing with the second-best record in the league (23-11) in 2018, the Atlanta Dream did not replicate the same success in 2019. Finishing with an 8-26 record, the Dream missed out on the playoffs.
Considering this, let’s take a look back at the Dream’s 2019 season in review:
Leaders: Points (Hayes, 14.7); Rebounds (Breland, 7.3); Assists (Bentley, 3); Steals (Breland, 1.3); Blocks (Williams, 1.7)
Angel McCoughtry has been an elite player in the league ever since being selected No. 1 overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft. Over the course of her career, McCoughtry is a 5x WNBA All-Star, 6x WNBA All-Defensive First Team member, and has led the league in points in a single season twice. Throughout her nine-year career, McCoughtry has averaged 19.1 points and five rebounds per game. After suffering a season-ending knee injury last August, McCoughtry missed the entire 2019 campaign. It was clear that McCoughtry’s injury impacted the rest of the team, who struggled offensively in the absence of one of the premier scorers in the league.
Searching For Answers On Offense
When trying to pinpoint what went wrong for the Atlanta Dream in 2019, offensive struggles were at the heart of it. The Dream finished 12th in the league in a variety of key offensive statistics, including FGM, FG%, 3P%, OFFRTG and PPG. Their leading scorer was Tiffany Hayes at 14.7 PPG. Outside of Hayes, Brittney Sykes and Renee Montgomery were the next two highest scorers, both shooting below 40% from the field. The absence of McCoughtry — and her 19.1 career PPG average — likely played an impact on the Dream’s offensive effectiveness this season. Whether McCoughtry is on the team or not next season, it’s clear that addressing the Dream’s offensive struggles is the top priority entering this offseason.
The Emergence of Monique Billings
In just her second season in the league, Monique Billings took a massive jump forward during the 2019 season. After averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 2018, Billings recorded 5.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in 2019. Averaging under 20 minutes per game, Billings’ 6.9 RPG was second on the team and more than twice the amount she averaged last season. Already beginning to establish herself as a force on the boards, expect Billings to continue her upward progression in 2020.
Although 2019 did not go as the Dream expected, the future of the franchise is bright. With a young core of Brittney Sykes and Monique Billings, alongside proven veterans like Tiffany Hayes and Renee Montgomery, don’t be surprised to see the Dream bounce back next season. In addition to their current roster, the Dream also secured the No. 4 pick in the WNBA Draft 2020, which will help add more young talent to the roster. Outside of the roster itself, the Dream recently announced that they will play their home games in the brand new Gateway Center Arena at College Park and will do so with a completely revitalized logo.
Between a top pick, new logo and new arena, things look promising for the Dream in 2020 and beyond.
This article was updated on October 25, 2019.