An Introduction to the 2022 WNBA Season
The WNBA made its much-awaited return on May 6, with the Chicago Sky out to defend their 2021 title. To do so, they'll have to outclass a formidable group of stacked challengers, including the team they bested in four games to win the WNBA Finals -- the Phoenix Mercury.
So, what are the key details and plotlines fans need to be wise to as summer approaches and the action heats up -- and who's the favorite to win the championship this fall?
Top Storylines for the 2022 WNBA Season
- The biggest story in today's WNBA is the ongoing detention of Phoenix superstar Brittney Griner by Russian authorities following a February arrest. As play began, the league acknowledged Griner by displaying both her initials and the No. 12 she wears on the sideline of each team’s home court.
- 2022 marks the second edition of the Commissioner's Cup, an in-season competition that debuted last year. Rather than adding new games to the schedule, certain existing games are designated as Cup games. It drew occasional criticism and not every team treated it with the same level of priority, but the Cup offers a trophy, a cash prize pool for players, and a potential model for the NBA to run with itself one day.
- After a lackluster 2021, the Indiana Fever drew major plaudits for their 2022 WNBA Draft performance. They've welcomed a super-talented rookie class featuring first-round picks NaLyssa Smith, Emily Engstler, Lexie Hull, and Queen Egbo, plus second-rounder and South Carolina national champ Destanni Henderson.
- The WNBA's rules on roster structure are in the crosshairs already this season after a number of recent lottery picks were released by their teams. That includes Crystal Dangerfield, the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year, who got her walking papers from the Minnesota Lynx alongside 2021 first-round selection, Rennia Davis just before the start of the season.
Top Player Moves From the 2022 Offseason
- Five-time Olympic gold medalists and all-time legends Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) are running it back for what could be the very last time.
- After falling short in the 2021 WNBA Finals, DT's Mercury turned around and got even more talented, adding 2021 scoring champ Tina Charles from the Washington Mystics in free agency.
- Four-time All-Star Liz Cambage departed the Las Vegas Aces to join the Los Angeles Sparks.
- 2019 All-Star Diamond DeShields left the champion Sky to join the Mercury as part of a three-team sign-and-trade.
- The Sky also lost two-time All-Star center Stefanie Dolson to the New York Liberty in free agency.
- Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell signed the offseason’s biggest contract: three years and $618,000.
Who’s the favorite to win the 2022 WNBA championship?
At the start of the season, the betting favorites to win this year’s title at FanDuel Sportsbook are:
- Connecticut Sun: +350
- Las Vegas Aces: +360
- Chicago Sky: +460
- Seattle Storm: +500
- Phoenix Mercury: +600