Currently, the Atlanta Dream are listed with odds of 700–1 to win the 2020 WNBA Championship according to Fan Duel Sportsbook, which, along with the Dallas Wings and Indiana Fever, are the longest odds to win the title.
Last season the franchise finished the season as the league-worst with a record of 8–26. This season the team will play fewer games inside the Wubble at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida due to the coronavirus pandemic. Key players will be absent from the Dream roster this season. Two-time WNBA scoring champion Angel McCoughtry signed with the Las Vegas Aces after spending 10 years with the Dream, while Tiffany Hayes and Renee Montgomery decided to sit out the season to focus on issues of social justice. Last season Hayes was the team-leading scorer with 14.7 points while Montgomery added 9.5 per game.
Additionally, the team is currently without Glory Johnson and Kalani Brown, who tested positive the COVID-19, and Courtney Williams who is out due to personal reasons. All three are expected to join the team at a later date.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chennedy Carter: She was the fourth overall pick in the 2020 WNBA draft out of Texas A&M, and is a bucket-getter who scores at a high-level. Carter averaged 22.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists to go along with 1.7 steals in her college career.
Thank you for everything, 3️⃣ 👍
62 Straight in double-digits
3X All-SEC First Team
Unanimous Freshman of the Year
Single-game scoring record (46)
31.0 PPG in the NCAA Tournament
The list goes on and on…@ChennedyCarter | #GigEm pic.twitter.com/CSVFhbOcF1
— Texas A&M Women's Basketball (@AggieWBB) March 30, 2020
She is great in pick and roll situations and is an excellent ball-hander. The combo guard is instant offense that can create baskets for her self and facilitate her teammates, which is something the Dream could really use.
Shekinna Stricklen: She was a key Connecticut Sun rotation last season. Stricklen is a three-point specialist at nearly 40 percent per game. The former Lady Vol finished the season third in the league in both 3-pointers made and attempts by going 76-of-199. Stricklen also won the 2019 WNBA Three-Point Contest.
The Dream’s offense finished last in the league a year ago by only averaging only 71.2 points per game and was last in offensive rating at 91.6. With the addition of Carter and Stricklen, the team will have viable offensive weapons and should look to improve on those numbers.
With so many players out and uncertainties, the Dream is predicted to finish dead last in the league again. However, it is too early to count them out totally. Underdogs teams can be so unpredictable especially when they are not respected or expected to win many games, and we’ll find out if the shortened season helps or hurts these teams. Still, with so much roster uncertainty, expectations aren’t high for the Dream and they mostly should be hoping to see if they have a foundational piece in Carter.
Elizabeth Williams: Williams and Monique Billings are the only returning players from the 2019 roster in the Wubble. Williams finished last season as the team’s third-leading scorer at 9.3 points per game at an efficient rate at 45.5 percent. The 6’3 center is viable on both ends of the floor. She led the team in blocks with 1.7 blocks, which ranked 6th in the entire league. Williams’ veteran leadership should be beneficial to the team, as well. She has been a part of a winning culture as part of the squad in Nicki Collen’s first year as head coach with a record of 23-11 to finish first atop of the Eastern Conference.
BIGGEST ON-COURT QUESTION
The biggest question right now is how long will it take before Kalani Brown, Glory Johnson, and Courtney Williams are able to join the team on the court? Head Coach Nicki Collen will have to find a way to get her team together in spite of key absences. How will the team mesh and find chemistry? With uncertainties abound, the team will just have to figure it out in short order and take it one game at a time.