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2021 WNBA Team Preview: Atlanta Dream

From one historic season to another, the WNBA’s 25th season is set to tip-off on May 14th. The league will commemorate the 25th season with a campaign, “Count It” and a distinguishing and purposeful 25th season logo. The WNBA will also celebrate the ways its players have shattered expectations and have stood at the forefront of advancement, inclusion and social change for 25 years.

In the lead up to the season, WNBA.com will break down each team in the league, next up the Atlanta Dream.

Though the Atlanta Dream missed the postseason last season, they revamped their roster, signing six new players in the off-season and picking up Aari McDonald at No. 3 in the 2021 WNBA Draft. Though this new roster will be challenged to mesh quickly, one thing is for sure – the new-look Atlanta has a ton of speed and swag.

2020 Season Recap

  • 7-15, 4th in East, 10th in League
  • Did not qualify for the playoffs

Off-Season Moves

The Dream lost one of their biggest scorers as Betnijah Laney took her talents to the Big Apple. Atlanta also lost veteran guard Renee Montgomery, at least as a contributor on the court. Montgomery announced her WNBA retirement in February. Just a few weeks later, Montgomery announced she would be part of the new Dream ownership group.

Though the Dream lost two key contributors, they did sign plenty of reinforcements in the off-season. In the backcourt, Atlanta picked up Odyssey Sims and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough in free agency, and McDonald in the Draft. The Dream also signed forwards Cheynne Parker and 2019 WNBA Champion Tiana Hawkins who will team up in the frontcourt.

Five players from the 2020 roster will return for 2021, and Tiffany Hayes will hit the court for the Dream for the first time since 2019.

One Big Question Heading Into 2021

1. How quickly can this team come together?
With a decent amount of off-season movement and roster changes, the Dream were already going to have gel quick in training camp if they wanted to get off to a strong start. With the recent departure of head coach Nicki Collen, however, that statement is true now more than ever.

The Dream are no strangers to adversity though. And as new interim head coach Mike Petersen put it, Atlanta is in the windmill business.

If the Dream’s backcourt of Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams, Aari McDonald and Odyssey Sims learn to work together quickly, they could become one of the strongest, and quickest backcourts in the league. Regardless, Atlanta’s roster is full of personality and style which will make them a fun team to watch in 2021.

WNBA Draft Ranking

Following the 2021 WNBA Draft Michelle Smith ranked every team’s draft decisions. Atlanta was rated 2nd out of the 12 WNBA teams.

“Grabbing Arizona star Aari McDonald with the third pick was the first surprise of the draft and it gives the Dream a dynamic and potentially explosive group of guards including Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams, Odyssey Sims and McDonald.”

Where to Watch

The Dream tip-off their season at home on May 14th, 7:30 pm/ET against the Connecticut Sun on Twitter. In addition to the team’s first regular-season game, it’s also the first of 10 Commissioner’s Cup games. Tune in as Aari McDonald takes hits the court for her professional debut, and Tiffany Hayes returns for the Dream!