Australia markets close in 2 hours 36 minutes
  • ALL ORDS

    7,634.00
    +33.50 (+0.44%)
     
  • ASX 200

    7,382.20
    +23.20 (+0.32%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.7556
    +0.0004 (+0.05%)
     
  • OIL

    70.44
    -0.60 (-0.84%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,785.90
    +11.10 (+0.63%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    50,149.75
    -1,695.77 (-3.27%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    939.66
    -30.21 (-3.12%)
     
  • AUD/EUR

    0.6333
    -0.0002 (-0.04%)
     
  • AUD/NZD

    1.0782
    +0.0004 (+0.04%)
     
  • NZX 50

    12,581.29
    +40.09 (+0.32%)
     
  • NASDAQ

    14,163.81
    +180.80 (+1.29%)
     
  • FTSE

    7,153.43
    -31.52 (-0.44%)
     
  • Dow Jones

    33,823.45
    -210.22 (-0.62%)
     
  • DAX

    15,727.67
    +17.10 (+0.11%)
     
  • Hang Seng

    28,705.89
    +147.30 (+0.52%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    29,107.98
    +89.65 (+0.31%)
     

2021 WNBA season predictions: Aces are the team to catch; will Breanna Stewart win MVP?

·4-min read

After a successful "wubble" season, the WNBA heads into its 25th anniversary season back in home markets, debuting the Commissioner's Cup in-season tournament and airing more than 100 nationally televised games. The season tips off Friday. 

As excitement builds in and around the league, Yahoo Sports and Just Women's Sports make predictions about the 2021 season.

The Las Vegas Aces were the unanimous favorite to win the championship, as Yahoo Sports' NBA editor Marcus Vanderberg noted, "I'm looking forward to the duo of A'ja Wilson and Liz Cambage sharing the court once again for the Las Vegas Aces this season. When those two start clicking on the court, watch out."

The races for MVP and Rookie of the Year are varied, but there is some consensus and some darkhorse picks.

With so many storylines to watch, Hannah Withiam, the managing editor of Just Women's Sports, pointed to the New York Liberty as a team that could be on the rise. 

"Will the New York Liberty shock us all? It’s hard to factor the Liberty into the playoff conversation when they haven’t been there in three years and still have to jell with multiple new players under a second-year head coach, but based on the small sample we have of Sabrina Ionescu in the WNBA, she could easily expedite the turnaround."

Yahoo Sports writer Cassandra Negley is watching how the league builds off its "wubble" season and toward the future.

"I’m most excited to see these teams head back to their home markets with fans in attendance. The 2019 offseason was the first truly splashy free agency period in WNBA history because of the collective bargaining agreement. We also saw teams switch to new arenas, particularly the New York Liberty to Barclays where Sabrina Ionescu would have made her pro debut. The 'wubble' season changed all that, but out of it we had more major movement, heightened excitement over the W and all of women’s sports, and even the most casual of fans itching to be back at an arena. It will be fun to see how Chicago embraces Candace Parker’s homecoming. How the Storm celebrate Stewie and Bird. Watch Ionescu take her spot as basketball queen of New York. And the always hearty X Factor in Phoenix with Skylar Diggins-Smith in town."

Here are their predictions. (For a text-only list, scroll past the graphics.)

2021 WNBA playoff predictions

Graphic by Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports
Graphic by Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports
Graphic by Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports
Graphic by Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports

2021 WNBA season predictions

MVP

Cassandra Negley: Breanna Stewart

Chris Haynes: Candace Parker

Melissa Caskey: Liz Cambage

Marcus Vanderberg: Breanna Stewart

Johanna Huybers: Breanna Stewart

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Breanna Stewart

Rookie of the Year

Cassandra Negley: Aari McDonald

Chris Haynes: Jasmine Walker

Melissa Caskey: Aari McDonald

Marcus Vanderberg: Charli Collier

Johanna Huybers: DiJonai Carrington

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Charli Collier

Defensive Player of the Year

Cassandra Negley: Jonquel Jones

Chris Haynes: Candace Parker

Melissa Caskey: Brittney Griner

Marcus Vanderberg: Brittney Griner

Johanna Huybers: Candace Parker

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Natasha Howard

Sixth Woman of the Year

Cassandra Negley: Dearica Hamby

Chris Haynes: Dearica Hamby

Melissa Caskey: Dearica Hamby

Marcus Vanderberg: Dearica Hamby

Johanna Huybers: Dearica Hamby

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Dearica Hamby

Most Improved Player

Cassandra Negley: Katie Lou Samuelson

Chris Haynes: Te’a Cooper

Melissa Caskey: Te’a Cooper

Marcus Vanderberg: Diamond DeShields

Johanna Huybers: Diamond DeShields

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Diamond DeShields

Coach of the Year

Cassandra Negley: James Wade

Chris Haynes: Cheryl Reeve

Melissa Caskey: James Wade

Marcus Vanderberg: Bill Laimbeer

Johanna Huybers: James Wade

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Mike Thibault

Playoff teams (seeded 1-8)

Cassandra Negley: 1. Las Vegas Aces, 2. Seattle Storm, 3. Chicago Sky, 4. Phoenix Mercury, 5. Minnesota Lynx, 6. Connecticut Sun, 7. Washington Mystics, 8. Dallas Wings

Chris Haynes: 1. Las Vegas Aces, 2. Seattle Storm, 3. Minnesota Lynx, 4. Chicago Sky, 5. Phoenix Mercury, 6. Los Angeles Sparks, 7. Connecticut Sun, 8. Atlanta Dream

Melissa Caskey: 1. Seattle Storm, 2. Las Vegas Aces, 3. Chicago Sky, 4. Washington Mystics, 5. Los Angeles Sparks, 6. Phoenix Mercury, 7. Minnesota Lynx, 8. New York Liberty

Marcus Vanderberg: 1. Las Vegas Aces, 2. Seattle Storm, 3. Phoenix Mercury, 4. Chicago Sky, 5. Minnesota Lynx, 6. Washington Mystics, 7. Los Angeles Sparks, 8. Dallas Wings

Johanna Huybers: 1. Las Vegas Aces, 2. Seattle Storm, 3. Chicago Sky, 4. Minnesota Lynx, 5. Phoenix Mercury, 6. Connecticut Sun, 7. Washington Mystics, 8. Los Angeles Sparks

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: 1. Las Vegas Aces, 2. Seattle Storm, 3. Minnesota Lynx, 4. Connecticut Sun, 5. Chicago Sky, 6. Phoenix Mercury, 7. Washington Mystics, 8. Los Angeles Sparks

WNBA Finals matchup

Cassandra Negley: Aces vs. Mercury

Chris Haynes: Aces vs. Sky

Melissa Caskey: Aces vs. Storm

Marcus Vanderberg: Aces vs. Storm

Johanna Huybers: Aces vs. Storm

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Aces vs. Storm

WNBA Champion

Cassandra Negley: Aces

Chris Haynes: Aces

Melissa Caskey: Aces

Marcus Vanderberg: Aces

Johanna Huybers: Aces

Hannah Withiam, Just Women's Sports: Aces

More WNBA season preview from Yahoo Sports:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting