Is the dream real? Is the lynx in trouble? Lessons from the first week of the WNBA season.

With the entry of the 2022 WNBA season, opinions differ widely on a range of issues. The only place where there is consensus? There were, probably, 10 teams Fighting for the playoffs. It will be Indiana and Atlanta Heading to the lottery.

A week into the season, the Atlanta Dream became one of two remaining Unbeaten teams2-0, while Indiana Fever already got a win On a member of the top four teams last season, the Minnesota Lynx. Moreover, there are encouraging signs in the data that both teams could do better than anyone thought.

Let’s dig.

The first thing to keep in mind, while we acknowledge that it’s too early and the sample size is too small, is that we’re still looking at a good chunk of the WNBA season. Washington, for example, has already played three games, which, in a list of 36 games, represents 8.3% of the team’s year. Have you formed any thoughts about a Major League Baseball team after 13 games? NBA team after seven games? This is a similar point of comparison.

So it is everything, but it is also nothing. For example: “She’s a talent for generations,” a WNBA talent evaluator texted me about Ryan Howard after her dream beat the Los Angeles Sparks, who came to the Atlanta home opener on Wednesday with Winning is within reach Above the defending champion Chicago Sky.

“Her IQ, her confidence, she just comes down to knowing we need her, and she’s a huge part of this team,” Atlanta’s Cheyenne Parker said of what makes Howard different in watching the game Wednesday night. “I just embraced it, and took it head on.”

This is no exaggeration. Howard averaged 35 minutes per match In the first two competitions, with no other Atlanta player ever aged over 30. She is also the second team to assist in assists, at 18.2 percent, and she shoots 40.9 percent from three.

The other half of her two-way game is translated instantly, too. She leads her team in mass ratio, at 5.5, and is one of three Dream Defenders with a steal ratio north of two. She is a big reason why Dream has a defensive rating of 81.7, 2nd place in the leagueTo this limit.

Indiana is sixth in the league 99.6 defensive rating It may not sound impressive, but it’s a massive improvement over last year’s 107.8, By far the worst in the WNBA. This is a radically different roster, thanks to a rebuilding that interim general manager Lin Dunn has begun, but it pays off early on on the defensive end, which is no easy feat for a team of five rookies. Four of these rookies – Emily Engstler, Lexi Hall, Queen Igbo, Destiny Henderson – It has positive defensive on/off reviews so far.

Nor does the fever need to know who their star is. It’s Kelsey Mitchell, with the best career Aid ratio north 24 So far, she’s efficient from the field taking the most triples in every game of her career, and in every respect it looks like the 2022 player is designed to finally let him thrive.

It’s worth noting that Fever’s win came against Minnesota, which has a few things to definitely discover. While Sylvia Fowles is a devastating attacking force in the middle, Lynx has yet to find the most suitable point to get the ball. Key Three Point Keepers So Far – Rachel Banham; Yvonne Turner, who signed a tough deal; The Odyssey Sims waived Thursday – They were all 23 percent or less In the assist ratio, while defenses don’t pay the price for being left alone to shoot either. Turner leads that group from the field, shooting at 32 percent.

However, I am not particularly concerned about the lynx. For one thing, they will soon recover Damiris Dantas and Kayla McBride from injury and outside commitments. On the other hand, coach Sheryl Reeve always seems to come up with a solution — her teams have gone into the playoffs. every year since 2011. And Jessica Shepherd’s evolution has already paid off huge: the funky star is actually the Minnesota leader in assist ratio, at 29.3, and she shoots from all around, effectively, and takes a leap forward that will put her in the most enhanced player conversation.

Finally, the Washington Mystics early on claim team status to win the WNBA. It’s 3-0, and the underlying metrics support this basic score. Mystics dominated the league in 2019, with net rating +14.8. So far in 2022, They are at +16.3. Natasha Cloud up to 36.4 percent Among the trios, another level in her remarkable journey since she played at St. Joseph’s, while Shakira Austin makes an immediate impact at both ends, with On / off net rating This only tracks Cloud and underrated star Ariel Atkins among her teammates.

They did it without Alisha Clarke playing for a minute, which is something that is expected to change tonight. They did so while giving Elena Delle a no-game between games 1 and 3 on the schedule, and they only played 29.5 minutes per game in the two she was involved in. And they did it without Chaturi Walker Kimbra, a powerful 3-point shooter, make one shot From behind the arch so far.

It’s early. But I saw enough to keep the ceiling of my championships for the Mystics and check their floor up.

Check out the latest WNBA Predictions.