WNBA free-agency power rankings: Chicago Sky secure core stars, Phoenix Mercury rule with savvy moves

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 12: Tina Charles #31 of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball during the game against the Chicago Sky on September 12, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by  Kena Krutsinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Chantel Jennings Feb 15, 2022 7
With WNBA free agency behind us, only a few more major checkpoints remain before the start of the WNBA season. As teams across the league attempted to shape their futures, it’s time to re-evaluate these teams at this early point in the year.

Parsing differences among the top four teams was a difficult task, as each retained key pieces and added significant talent. (Spots Nos. 1-3 looked different during different iterations of this ranking process.) Teams ranked Nos. 5-7 remain intriguing, as their marquee players have a lot to prove this year — A’ja Wilson in her first year under Becky Hammon, Sylvia Fowles in her final season in the WNBA, and Elena Delle Donne’s expected healthy return. Could those motivations and the pieces around each of those players be enough to reach the WNBA Finals?

And then there are the bottom five teams. Each added talent, but not at the same rate or level as the top teams. So, do we expect New York and Indiana to look better than last season? Yes. But with the top of the league looking strong, their records might not say as much.

Here’s my first WNBA power rankings of the 2022 season. Let’s go.

1. Chicago Sky

The reigning WNBA champs reloaded their roster by re-signing key starters from last season and adding even more talent and depth. Already the league’s best passing team, the Sky got only better in free agency by adding unrestricted free agent Emma Meesseman, who averaged a career-best 4.5 assists per game in 2020 (the last season she played in the WNBA).

For those keeping count, that puts three of the previous six WNBA Finals MVPs — Kahleah Copper (2021), Meesseman (2019) and Candace Parker (2016) — on the same team with Courtney Vandersloot, the league’s best point guard. Though Vandersloot was one of the last players to sign in free agency, keeping her in Chicago on a one-year deal gives the Sky a chance to repeat.