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2020 WNBA newcomer impact rankings: DeWanna Bonner, Skylar Diggins-Smith lead way – Latest Breaking News Updates

With a model new collective bargaining settlement in January, the free firm strikes and trades that adopted made it one of many very important energetic offseasons in WNBA historic previous. There are a great deal of new faces in new places, and a lot of different are anticipated to have a big impression this season, which options off July 25 in Bradenton, Florida. Leaving out the drafted rookies, we rank the 12 teams primarily based totally on the impression a key newcomer is anticipated to have inside the 2020 WNBA season.

1. Connecticut Sun: DeWanna Bonner, F

The 6-foot-Four multidimensional forward went from Phoenix — the place she’d spent her first 10 seasons inside the league averaging 14.Four components and 6.2 rebounds — in a sign-and-trade deal to Connecticut.

Coach Curt Miller acknowledged she’s going to impression each factor the Sun do. At age 32, Bonner wouldn’t appear to be slowing down, and will presumably be the missing piece for the Sun to lastly get the championship the group has prolonged pursued.

“You tend to want to get the ball in her hands nearly every possession,” Miller acknowledged. “When you work with her personally, you realize just how talented of an offensive player she is. We’re having fun here early in practice putting her in different actions. She’s going to be an unbelievable addition, and our fans are going to love her.”

2. Phoenix Mercury: Skylar Diggins-Smith, G

She sat out ultimate season on being pregnant go away, nevertheless acquired once more into aggressive mode over the winter with the U.S. nationwide crew. Diggins-Smith reached the playoffs in two of her six seasons (she missed most of 2015 resulting from a knee hurt) with Tulsa/Dallas. She wished to depart, and the Wings traded her to Phoenix in February.

Diggins-Smith goes from an organization with little or no playoff experience (after it left Detroit following the 2009 season) to a franchise that has acquired three WNBA titles and has missed the playoffs solely as quickly as before now 11 years.

Diggins-Smith averaged 17.9 components and 6.2 assists in 2018. She can fill a further pure degree guard place for Phoenix, allowing Diana Taurasi to do totally different points.

“Skylar is hungry; she’s ready to go,” acknowledged Mercury coronary heart Brittney Griner, who was taken No. 1 inside the 2013 draft ahead of No. 3 Diggins-Smith. “She’s ready to learn, to take control, and that’s what we need up at the top of the key, making real-time decisions fast. The first day of practice here, we saw it.”

3. Las Vegas Aces: Angel McCoughtry, G/F

The No. 1 draft select in 2009 grew to grow to be the face of the Atlanta Dream and considered one of many league’s stars. She sat out the 2017 WNBA season to rest, after which missed ultimate 12 months resulting from a knee hurt suffered near the tip of the 2018 season.

She left the Dream as a free agent for Las Vegas, realizing her place there could be completely totally different, as A’ja Wilson will possible be appeared to as a result of the Aces’ foremost scorer. But McCoughtry is ready for that, and at age 33 says she nonetheless has tons inside the tank.

“I want to come in and lead, play solid, continue to play my hustle game,” McCoughtry acknowledged. “But I don’t have to put so much on me, like I did in Atlanta. I can just play.”

4. Atlanta Dream: Shekinna Stricklen, G

She has been inside the league eight seasons nevertheless appeared to hunt out her groove the earlier three years in Connecticut. She helped the Sun get to inside a victory of the WNBA title ultimate 12 months.

Stricklen received right here to Atlanta as a free agent. She wouldn’t have that scoring flare of Courtney Williams, one different newcomer to the Dream who isn’t determining with the crew. But Stricklen can hit massive 3-pointers, and is believed for being a gradual, dependable presence on safety. That’s solution to clarify her complete persona, too. And considering a lot of the Dream’s off-court distractions, like the statements of co-owner Kelly Loeffler which have drawn the ire of the league’s players, Stricklen helps in some methods.

“She’s just a calming presence,” Atlanta coach Nicki Collen acknowledged. “She knows how to play the game. She’s not incredibly vocal, but she’s also not quiet. She knows how to be a pro. She understands what she’s good at … she doesn’t try to do things that aren’t in her wheelhouse. But when she’s open, you get her the ball.”

5. Chicago Sky: Azurá Stevens, F/C

She was the No. 6 select by Dallas inside the 2018 draft, and had a powerful rookie season. But she was restricted to 9 video video games ultimate 12 months resulting from hurt and was traded to Chicago in a deal that despatched former UConn teammate Katie Lou Samuelson to the Wings.

The 6-foot-6 Stevens, at age 24, nonetheless seems to have various untapped potential. The Sky virtually made the WNBA semifinals ultimate 12 months, and he or she’s joined in Chicago by two totally different former UConn players: Gabby Williams (who was her Huskies teammate) and Stefanie Dolson. Maybe this season, we’ll see Stevens really start to return into her private.

“From the minute that I got into Chicago, I felt so welcomed with the team, the coaching staff,” Stevens acknowledged. “I’ve gotten to know pretty much all of them really well and there hasn’t really been a moment where I felt out of place. Something that I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be better with is defensive rebounding and offensive rebounding, putting pressure on the defense.”

6. New York Liberty: Layshia Clarendon, G

At age 29 and with seven seasons inside the WNBA, Clarendon has a world of experience as compared with most of her Liberty teammates, seven of whom are rookies. She was off to a powerful start ultimate 12 months with Connecticut sooner than ankle surgical process decrease fast her season at 9 video video games. She signed as a free agent with the Liberty, and is conscious of how important her administration will possible be this season.

“It would be nice to have one more old soul around here,” Clarendon joked of the Liberty roster. The next-oldest participant is Amanda Zahui B., 26, with 5 years of experience. “But I’m wearing it with a badge of honor. I’ve always liked to lead, so I’m just taking it in stride. There’s still so much I’m learning, too. We have some amazing rookies who can do some things we have not seen a lot of players do as a rookie.”

7. Los Angeles Sparks: Seimone Augustus, G

It has been an emotional whirlwind of a 12 months for Augustus. At one degree, she figured it might be her ultimate season inside the WNBA and he or she would rejoice it with Minnesota, the place she has carried out all 14 earlier seasons. Then received right here a troublesome option to depart as a free agent for Los Angeles.

Injury restricted Augustus to solely 12 regular-season video video games ultimate season. How quite a bit courtroom docket time she’ll get this 12 months stays to be seen, nevertheless Sparks coach Derek Fisher acknowledged her presence is very treasured.

“I had no idea how much she would impact us in terms of her personality,” Fisher acknowledged. “I had no idea how funny she is, some of the moments where she is cracking everybody up and bringing levity and lightness to what can sometimes feel mundane. Seimone is amazing at breaking that up and giving us all reasons to feel like the game is supposed to be fun.”

8. Seattle Storm: Ezi Magbegor, C

The Storm took Magbegor inside the first spherical of the 2019 draft realizing she wouldn’t play ultimate season, nevertheless that she’d be making her debut in 2020. She wouldn’t flip 21 until August. But she already has a lot of years {{of professional}} experience in her native Australia, and is part of its nationwide crew. With the Storm’s sturdy presence inside the publish already, Magbegor won’t need to deal with an infinite place and should get acclimated to the WNBA.

“She’s a pretty intriguing player,” acknowledged Seattle coach Gary Kloppenburg, who’s filling in for Dan Hughes this season. “She’s long; she’s really athletic. I know she’s had some really good coaching in Australia. If she’d played in college, she’d be a top-five player coming out of college. I think she’s got a tremendous upside. She’s picking stuff up very quickly. There’s no pressure on her; we have a good, deep team. We’ll just work with her and try to develop her.”

9. Dallas Wings: Katie Lou Samuelson, G

She was the No. Four select by Chicago inside the 2019 WNBA draft nevertheless was sidelined early ultimate season by a wrist hurt. Even after she acquired healthful, points on no account really clicked for her with the Sky and coach James Wade, prompting an offseason commerce.

With the Wings, Samuelson has a latest start with a very youthful crew that’s attempting to develop its custom. We seen what kind of high-impact scorer, significantly from previous the arc, she was at UConn. It’s a matter of translating that to the skilled sport, which Wings coach Brian Agler says he believes she is going to do.

“I think I have a really good ability to space the floor out and open things up,” Samuelson acknowledged. “Shooting is something everyone knows I like to do, but I’ve also been trying to make sure I make the right play every time on the court. I feel like I have a coach who’s behind me and believes in me 100 percent. I’m excited to finally get that.”

10. Washington Mystics: Essence Carson, G

The Mystics are the defending champions, nevertheless they don’t seem to be going to seem like the an identical crew on courtroom docket this season. Last 12 months’s MVP, Elena Delle Donne, and the crew’s massive free-agent signing, Tina Charles, every utilized for medical exemptions. As of July 15, we know Delle Donne’s was denied, nevertheless she’s nonetheless not anticipated to play, and neither is Charles. Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders are moreover not having fun with this season.

So the Mystics must Carson for her veteran presence. She has been inside the league for 12 years and is believed for her safety prowess. She can also hit some massive images from the perimeter.

“That was a godsend to us to have her decide to come here,” Mystics coach and regular supervisor Mike Thibault acknowledged. “I’ve known her since she was in college, and have always liked the professionalism that she brings in. We needed somebody who not only could play a couple positions but could bring us some of the leadership we might be missing in our locker room. She’s been terrific.”

11. Minnesota Lynx: Shenise Johnson, G

Injuries have been very sturdy on Johnson the earlier three years; she was restricted to 14 video video games in 2017, didn’t play inside the league in 2018, and carried out 17 video video games in 2019. Johnson, 29, acknowledged she was so determined to get once more to having fun with full time, she would have carried out this season “in the middle of the Sahara.” She moreover acknowledged she was glad to take heed to Lynx coach/regular supervisor Cheryl Reeve, who acquired Johnson in a commerce with Indiana, inform her that she merely wishes her to play her sport, which ought to help Minnesota’s tempo and spacing on offense.

“For me, specifically, it’s being a playmaker,” Johnson acknowledged. “I’m versatile, so she can put me at the 1 or the 2. But more importantly, she just wants me to be myself. I feel I’ve learned more about myself these last couple of years than I have in my life. I’ve learned I can overcome anything.”

12. Indiana Fever: Julie Allemand, G

The Fever didn’t have quite a bit turnover from 2019, with eight returners plus getting once more Victoria Vivians, who missed ultimate season resulting from a knee hurt. They do have a model new coach in Marianne Stanley, nevertheless their solely newcomers as players are three rookies, although one already has skilled experience: Allemand.

She merely turned 24, is a neighborhood of Belgium, is on the nationwide crew, and as well as performs professionally in Europe. The Fever initially picked her inside the third spherical of the 2016 draft; Four years later, they signed her as a free agent and he or she’s making her WNBA debut. Indiana appears to her to help shore up the aim guard spot.

“I’m someone [who] plays to help the team out, and I hope they’ll like the way I play,” Allemand acknowledged in a Q&A on the Fever’s web page. “I’m all the time seeking to make the go, however generally folks say I’m too unselfish as a result of I all the time take into consideration passing and serving to others.

“I hope they like me as a degree guard. I began enjoying basketball once I was Four years outdated, and I’ve been watching the NBA and WNBA ever since. I by no means thought I might be capable to get thus far.”

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