The 2022 WNBA regular season wrapped, meaning the WNBA Playoffs are here.
As we gear up for first-round action, which consists of four best-of-three series, we take a closer look at the eight teams that qualified for the postseason and, more specifically, the abundance of talent that will be showcased as they vie for a title.
With some of the WNBA’s best in action, we’re here to rank the best talents that will take the floor during the postseason.
For clarity, players such as All-Stars Arike Ogunbowale of the Wings and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Mercury were not included as Ogunbowale has been ruled out for the opening round of the playoffs and Diggins-Smith’s season is done.
With that in mind, here is a ranking of the top 10 players in the 2022 WNBA Playoffs.
10. Kahleah Copper, Sky
Get used to seeing the Sky on this list.
History shows that the reigning Finals MVP takes her game to the next level in the playoffs, where she’s increased her scoring every time she has advanced. Copper plays a key role on a talented Sky squad and the team cannot reach its ceiling without her.
9. Courtney Vandersloot, Sky
There’s something to be said about Vandersloot continuing her role as an elite playmaker 12 seasons into her WNBA career.
While Vandersloot’s 6.5 assists per game ranked second in the W this season, the figure is actually her lowest since 2016. As Chicago begins its title defense, the guard play from Vandersloot will be paramount to success.
8. Alyssa Thomas, Sun
Thomas quite literally does it all.
Last year, Thomas was limited as she came back quickly from a torn Achilles to play in three regular season games and four playoff games. This year, Thomas earned AP Comeback Player of the Year honors with averages of 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, which place her in the league’s top five.
Connecticut’s magical 2021 campaign didn’t end with a title but with Thomas at 100 percent, the Sun can make last year a distant memory.
7. Jonquel Jones, Sun
The encore to Jones’ MVP season might not have been that loud, but it’s certainly not one to gloss over.
Again proving to be one of the league’s most versatile players, Jones averaged 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from deep on 3.4 attempts per game.
If Jones can tap into that MVP-level performance in the playoffs, the third-seeded Sun can go far.
6. Natasha Cloud, Mystics
When talking about elite playmaking, you have to talk about Cloud, who, in her seventh season, led the league with a career-best 7.0 assists per game.
Washington enters the playoffs as the fifth seed but Cloud is the playmaker that ensures Ariel Atkins and Elena Delle Donne get theirs on the offensive end.
Guard play is extremely important in the playoffs. Cloud can show exactly why.
5. Candace Parker, Sky
From here on out, it’s all about former No. 1 picks.
15 seasons in, Parker is still doing it at a high level. On both ends of the floor.
Not only is Parker likely to grab another All-WNBA selection, but she’ll also earn an All-Defensive Team nod in addition to being in Defensive Player of the Year conversations
The numbers (13.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.5 APG) are one thing, but Parker’s impact on the game is another. It’s unclear what her distant future holds, but in the near future, she’ll look to win another title for her hometown team.
4. Sabrina Ionescu, Liberty
The Liberty were one-and-done in the 2021 postseason. This time around, they’re led by an even better version of Ionescu. On any given night, Ionescu is a threat to get a triple-double, evidenced by her averages of 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game
In the 2022 season, Ionescu turned in two triple-doubles, including a 27-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist effort against Chicago, which happens to be New York’s first-round opponent.
Ionescu steps up on the big stage and her performance in a best-of-three will be worth keeping an eye on.
3. Kelsey Plum, Aces
Plum has long been a solid contributor in the W, but the 2022 season marks a huge leap for the former top overall pick.
Over 36 games, Plum posted career-highs of 20.2 points and 5.1 assists per game, good for second and ninth in the league, respectively. Plum’s elite scoring has come efficiently, too, as she shot 46.0 from the field and a red-hot 42.0 percent from 3-point range on over seven attempts per game.
The Aces enter the playoffs with high expectations as the star-studded franchise has yet to get over the hump to capture a WNBA title.
Plum’s breakout season will go a long way towards the top seed’s title aspirations.
2. Breanna Stewart, Storm
Stewart, the league’s leading scorer and toughest cover, is no stranger to the top of this list.
The two-time WNBA champ has all the motivation to go for a third this season as Seattle looks to send legendary guard Sue Bird off as a champion one last time.
As good as Stewart’s been throughout her career, the 2022 campaign rivals her MVP season of 2018. Stewart’s 21.8 points per game tie the career-best mark set four years ago, while she knocked down a career-best 2.0 triples per contest at a 37.9 percent clip.
Stewart is one of the greatest winners that the game of basketball has ever seen. She and the Storm will have plenty of incentive to build upon that in these playoffs.
1. A’ja Wilson, Aces
It wasn’t exactly easy to make the decision at the top, but Wilson gets the edge.
While Wilson has been a star since first stepping foot in the WNBA, this year is a bit different. The 2020 league MVP looks to be in line to capture the honor for the second time in her career, and deservedly so.
Wilson’s 19.5 points per game ranked fifth in the league while her 9.4 rebounds per game were second behind only Sylvia Fowles. Again, the numbers are one thing, but Wilson has also added to her game.
After attempting just two 3s in her first four seasons, Wilson shot 31 of 83 from beyond the arc this year, adding another dynamic to an already multifaceted game.
Oh, and did I mention her 1.9 blocks per game led the league?
The Aces capturing the title would be the perfect way for Wilson to cap off a very special season.
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Manages incoming enquiries and advertising. Based in London and very sporty. Worked news and sports desks in local paper after graduating.
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