Aces

A GM Survey Says: The Aces Will Win the WNBA Championship, Plus Other Insider Predictions Ahead of Tonight’s Season Opener

It’s almost time for the WNBA’s 23rd season to tip off and early projections are in: the Las Vegas Aces are the favorite to win a championship, according to WNBA.com’s GM Survey. This comes as no surprise considering the Aces’ recent acquisition of Liz Cambage, who finished last season as the WNBA’s MVP runner-up and league leader in scoring.

Results of the annual survey reveal a 33% consensus among 12 GMs that the blockbuster trade – which dealt the star center from Dallas to Las Vegas for Moriah Jefferson, Isabelle Harrison and the Aces’ 2020 first-and second-round draft picks – will result in Las Vegas winning the 2019 WNBA title. Voters additionally decided that the Aces, who also selected Jackie Young No. 1 overall in this year’s draft, made the best offseason moves (67%) and will be the most improved team in 2019 (75%).

In another fair prediction from the recent survey, the Washington Mystics will have the most regular season wins (58%), with the team’s star, Elena Delle Donne, receiving the highest number of votes as the potential league MVP (42%). Both of these outcomes forecast a possible WNBA Finals return for the Mystics, who would have a consecutive shot at a championship after falling to the Seattle Storm in last year’s best-of-five series.

When it comes to the race for Rookie of the Year, it’s a toss-up between the New York Liberty’s Asia Durr and Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale, who each received 25% of GM votes. Meanwhile, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner came out on top as the favorite to win the coveted Defensive Player of the Year Award (33%).

In two fun categories based on the WNBA’s top teams, players and coaches, Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm won best point guard in the league honors (67%). GM votes for the league’s other leading players netted the following results:

  • Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury – Best shooting guard (67%)
  • Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks – Best small forward (42%)
  • Tina Charles, New York Liberty and Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics – Best power forward (42%)
  • Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury and Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx – Best center (42%)

Naturally, the survey couldn’t leave out the league’s top coaches, with Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics voted best overall coach in the WNBA (25%) and Nicki Colleen of the Atlanta Dream branded best manager/motivator of people (50%). In reference to team play, the Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx are the squads with the best home-court advantage (33%), while the Seattle Storm hold the title of the WNBA’s most fun team to watch (42%).

At the end of the day, most of these results are based on opinion and individual predictions. While I personally agree with some of the outcomes and disagree with others, the GM survey still provides a cool perspective on what fans might expect to see this season. With that said, here are my own personal votes based on several WNBA.com GM Survey categories:

Season Predictions

Which team will win the 2019 WNBA Finals?

Las Vegas Aces


Which Eastern Conference team will have the most regular season wins?

Washington Mystics


Which Western Conference team will have the most regular season wins?

Los Angeles Sparks


Who will win Rookie of the Year?

Arike Ogunbowale, Dallas Wings


Who will win the 2019 WNBA MVP?

Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks


Who will win the Defensive Player of the Year Award?

Alana Beard, Los Angeles Sparks


Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?

Liz Cambage, Las Vegas Aces


Which player is most likely to have a breakout season?

Odyssey Sims, Minnesota Lynx


Offseason

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact?

Liz Cambage, Las Vegas Aces and Chiney Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks


Which team made the best offseason moves overall?

Las Vegas Aces


Best Players/Coaches

Who is the best point guard in the WNBA?

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dallas Wings


Who is the best shooting guard in the WNBA?

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury


Who is the best small forward in the WNBA?

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks and Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics


Who is the best power forward in the WNBA?

Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks


Who is the best center in the WNBA?

Liz Cambage, Las Vegas Aces


Who is the best overall coach in the WNBA

Mike Thibault, Washington Mystics


Miscellaneous

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the WNBA, who would it be?

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks


Which team is the most fun to watch?

Los Angeles Sparks


Which active player would make the best head coach someday?

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury


Which player would you want taking a shot with the game on the line?

Elena Delle Donne, Washington Mystics and Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury


The 2019 WNBA season will begin tonight with the Atlanta Dream facing off against the Dallas Wings (7:30 PM/ET). In a second season opener, the New York Liberty will host the Indiana Fever at the Westchester County Center (8:00 PM/ET).

Looking to catch a live WNBA telecast? Tune in tomorrow to watch the Phoenix Mercury play the Seattle Storm in a nationally televised matchup on ABC (3:30 PM/ET).

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

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