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2020 WNBA.com Power Rankings: Week 5

Note: WNBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Tuesday during the season, are the opinion of this writer and do not reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.

With the Seattle Storm seeing their nine-game win streak come to a halt this week with back-to-back losses to Indiana and Las Vegas, the longest active win streak in the “wubble” now belongs to the Los Angeles Sparks, who have won seven straight.

The Sparks have not lost a game since Aug. 7 and this past week picked up wins over Phoenix, Atlanta and Dallas while being led by Western Conference Player of the Week Candace Parker (18.3 PPG, 11.7 RPG and 5.0 APG).

The “wubble” has been good to Parker after a tough 2019 season. Hamstring and ankle injuries forced Parker to miss 12 games and when she was on the court and her production was not up to her usual high standard. The two-time MVP and five-time All-Star posted career lows nearly across the board – 11.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 0.8 BPG, 42.2 FG% and 26.0 MPG – and saw the season come to a disappointing end while on the bench in the playoffs.

Through the first 13 games of the 2020 season, Parker is healthy – looking “spry” as Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Ruocco love to say on their ESPN broadcasts – and back to putting up the all-around numbers that make her one of the most versatile talents in the league. She leads the WNBA in rebounds (9.8 RPG) and double-doubles (7); she is tied for fifth in blocks (1.2 BPG), ranks 13th in assists (1st among centers), 21st in points (team-high 14.0 PPG) and tied for 23rd in steals (1.2 SPG).

This may be Parker’s 13th season, but these are not “vintage” numbers. These are the numbers Parker has consistently posted when healthy. Of course, health becomes of greater concern for veteran players and the single-site environment for the 2020 WNBA season comes with some advantages when it comes to health – beyond the biggest goal of avoiding COVID-19.

“A lot of people look at the negatives of the bubble, but for me, as an older player, I looked at is as a positive,” Parker told the Orange Country Register prior to the start of the season. “We’re not traveling, we’re not gonna have to recover on a flight after a back-to-back, we’re not gonna have to get up early and travel. The ride to practice in L.A. is an hour for me, so that’s sitting on my back and putting pressure on that. Everything is here, we’re able to kind of have a tunnel vision of focus. So those are two things that our team has struggled with in the past, and it’s kind of forced on us now.”

The tunnel vision for Parker and the Sparks and the five teams clustered near the top of the standings is securing a top-two seed and the double-bye that comes with it in the playoffs. Entering Tuesday, the top five teams in the league are separated by just 1.5 games with Seattle still leading the way at 11-3 despite dropping its last two games. Just behind the Storm are the Sparks and Las Vegas Aces at 10-3, followed by Chicago (10-4, winners of four straight) and Minnesota (9-4).

Finding separation between these teams in the Power Rankings is tough. Do the Sparks take the top spot as they are just a half-game back of Seattle and own the league’s longest active win streak? Should Seattle drop the top spot when they still hold the top record despite their back-to-back losses? And what about the Aces?

The most recent loss by Seattle (Sat. Aug. 22) and the Sparks (Fri. Aug 7) both came at the hands of the Aces. Las Vegas has won nine of its last 10 games and have a top-tier MVP candidate in A’ja Wilson, who is the only player in the WNBA to rank in the top five in points (2nd, 19.8 PPG) rebounds (3rd, 8.8 RPG) and blocks (3rd, 1.5 BPG). Add in a healthy Angel McCoughtry, who is averaging 15.2 points on 53.8 FG, 45.5% 3P, 85% FT shooting splits in her first 13 games with the Aces, and Vegas has a dynamic inside-outside duo to lead them.

1. Las Vegas Aces (10-3)

Previous Rank: 2
Last Week: (2-1) L vs. CHI 84-82; W vs, CON 99-78; W vs. SEA 82-78
This Week: 8/25 vs. DAL; 8/27 vs. SEA; 8/29 vs. NYL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.2 (3); DefRtg: 94.8 (2); NetRtg: 10.4 (2); eFG%: 50.8 (5); Pace: 100.25 (1)

2. Los Angeles Sparks (10-3)

Previous Rank: 3
Last Week: (3-0) W vs. PHX 83-74; W vs. ATL 93-85; W vs. DAL 84-81
This Week: 8/26 vs. MIN; 8/28 vs. CON; 8/30 vs. ATL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.8 (5); DefRtg: 95.5 (3); NetRtg: 8.3 (3); eFG%: 53.8 (3); Pace: 97.77 (6)

3. Seattle Storm (11-3)

Previous Rank: 1
Last Week: (1-2) W vs. NYL 105-64; L vs. IND 90-84; L vs. LVA 82-74
This Week: 8/25 vs. IND; 8/27 vs. LVA; 8/29 vs. CHI
Team Stats: OffRtg: 106.4 (1); DefRtg: 90.8 (1); NetRtg: 15.6 (1); eFG%: 53.8 (2); Pace: 98.01 (5)

4. Chicago Sky (10-4)

Previous Rank: 4
Last Week: (3-0) W vs. LVA 84-82; W vs. NYL 101-85; W vs. IND 87-76
This Week: 8/25 vs. NYL; 8/27 vs. IND; 8/29 vs. SEA
Team Stats: OffRtg: 105.4 (2); DefRtg: 99.4 (5); NetRtg: 6.1 (5); eFG%: 55.4 (1); Pace: 99.04 (4)

5. Minnesota Lynx (9-4)

Previous Rank: 5
Last Week: (2-1) W vs. DAL 91-84; W vs. PHX 90-80; L vs. ATL 78-75
This Week: 8/26 vs. LAS; 8/28 vs. ATL; 8/30 vs. PHX
Team Stats: OffRtg: 103.2 (6); DefRtg: 96.4 (4); NetRtg: 6.8 (4); eFG%: 50.1 (7); Pace: 94.89 (12)

6. Connecticut Sun (6-8)

Previous Rank: 7
Last Week: (2-1) W vs. IND 84-62; L vs. LVA 99-78; W vs. NYL 82-65
This Week: 8/26 vs. PHX; 8/28 vs. LAS; 8/30 vs. WAS
Team Stats: OffRtg: 99.6 (10); DefRtg: 100.7 (6); NetRtg: -1.1 (7); eFG%: 46.8 (11); Pace: 96.04 (8)

7. Phoenix Mercury (7-7)

Previous Rank: 6
Last Week: (1-2) L vs. LAS 83-74; L vs, MIN 90-80; W vs WAS 88-87
This Week: 8/26 vs. CON; 8/28 vs. WAS; 8/30 vs. MIN
Team Stats: OffRtg: 104.4 (4); DefRtg: 103.8 (7); NetRtg: 0.6 (6); eFG%: 52.2 (4); Pace: 99.30 (3)

8. Indiana Fever (5-8)

Previous Rank: 8
Last Week: (1-2) L vs. CON 84-62; W vs. SEA 90-84; L vs. CHI 87-76
This Week: 8/25 vs. SEA; 8/27 vs. CHI; 8/29 vs. DAL
Team Stats: OffRtg: 102.3 (7); DefRtg: 109.6 (11); NetRtg: -7.3 (10); eFG%: 50.2 (6); Pace: 95.68 (10)

9. Dallas Wings (5-9)

Previous Rank: 9
Last Week: (1-2) L vs MIN 91-84; W vs WAS 101-92; L vs. LAS 84-81
This Week: 8/25 vs. LVA; 8/27 vs. NYL; 8/29 vs. IND
Team Stats: OffRtg: 101.7 (8); DefRtg: 105.8 (9); NetRtg: -4.1 (9); eFG%: 47.6 (10); Pace: 95.07 (11)

10. Washington Mystics (4-9)

Previous Rank: 10
Last Week: (1-2) W vs. ATL 98-91; L vs. DAL 101-92; L vs. PHX 88-87
This Week: 8/26 vs. ATL; 8/28 vs. PHX; 8/30 vs. CON
Team Stats: OffRtg: 100.7 (9); DefRtg: 103.9 (8); NetRtg: -3.2 (8); eFG%: 48.6 (9); Pace: 96.00 (9)

11. Atlanta Dream (3-11)

Previous Rank: 12
Last Week: (1-2) L vs. WAS 98-91; L vs. LAS 93-85; W vs. MIN 78-75
This Week: 8/26 vs. WAS; 8/28 vs. MIN; 8/30 vs. LAS
Team Stats: OffRtg: 97.7 (11); DefRtg: 110.8 (12); NetRtg: -13.1 (11); eFG%: 49.4 (8); Pace: 96.72 (7)

12. New York Liberty (1-12)

Previous Rank: 11
Last Week: (0-3) L vs. SEA 105-64; L vs. CHI 101-85; L vs. CON 82-65
This Week: 8/25 vs. CHI; 8/27 vs. DAL; 8/29 vs. LVA
Team Stats: OffRtg: 87.8 (12); DefRtg: 107.4 (10); NetRtg: -19.6 (12); eFG%: 42.7 (12); Pace: 99.46 (2)