The Las Vegas Aces dominated the 2023 WNBA season, starting as the top team and finishing with back-to-back championships. They maintained the best regular-season record and had an impressive playoff run with only one loss.
What sets the Aces apart is their relentless pursuit of success. With the potential to become a dynasty, the team’s braintrust, led by President Nikki Fargas, has set a new standard for WNBA excellence. Fargas, along with Coach Becky Hammon and General Manager Natalie Williams, has created a powerhouse franchise in Las Vegas.
Fargas has spearheaded a successful business operation, leading the league in attendance and making Aces games the place to be in Las Vegas. The team’s homecourt advantage and state-of-the-art practice facility have become powerful recruiting tools.
Hammon, the head coach, has designed a highly effective offense and defense that gets the most out of star player A’ja Wilson. Both Hammon and Wilson have received numerous accolades, including coach of the year, MVP, and defensive player of the year. Hammon’s influence on the team is evident, as her strategic decisions have baffled opponents and kept the Aces competitive.
In a poll conducted by The Athletic, players across the league expressed a desire to play for Hammon due to her ability to provide freedom and confidence.
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Williams, the general manager, has made shrewd decisions to complement the team’s superstar core. Despite facing criticism, her draft selections and roster signings have proven successful. Her decision to stick with veteran Sydney Colson paid off in the playoffs, as Colson played a crucial role in shutting down Sabrina Ionescu.
The Aces have secured their key players, including Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, and Kelsey Plum, for the next season. They have also signed Alysha Clark, a perfect complementary player, through 2024.
Looking ahead, the Aces have significant cap room to explore free agency options and strengthen their roster. They can offer veteran minimum deals, sign a second-round pick, and potentially make a max offer to a high-profile free agent like Candace Parker. Other players, such as Nneka Ogumike, Brittney Griner, or Brionna Jones, could also be valuable additions.
The ultimate coup would be to sign Jonquel Jones, a free agent who would further elevate the Aces and disrupt their main competitor, the New York Liberty. Jones’ skills would fit perfectly with the Aces’ style of play, and her partnership with Wilson would be formidable.
Regardless of their free agency moves, the Aces are well-positioned for the upcoming season and will once again be the team to beat in 2024. They have experienced the pressure of being champions and are ready to defend their title.
(Photo of A’ja Wilson: Brian Babineau / NBAE via Getty Images)
Rachel Adams is your WNBA insider, delivering comprehensive coverage of women’s basketball. With a commitment to highlighting the talent and achievements of WNBA players, she provides game analysis, player profiles, and inspiring stories from the league.