Flagrant Stats – Statistical analysis for women's basketball

Top 50 WNBA Players in 2024 – Part One

A few notes:

Players are ranked regardless of projected time to miss if they are expected to play meaningful minutes upon return. That said, players like Elena Della Donne who are expected to not play at all are excluded.

Rookies are included.

50. Betnijah Laney-Hamilton, New York Liberty, age 30 season
2023 stats: 12.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 39.2% from three

Laney-Hamilton had her best offensive season to date with an all-time high in effective field goal percentage at 57.4%. She also finished fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting. If she can stay on the floor – that was an issue in 2022 – she should be a key forward for the Liberty. One downside is that with the depth of that team, minutes come at a premium and that could be an issue for BLH.

49. Aaliyah Edwards, Washington Mystics, age 21 season
rookie season

Retirements and seasons off help push a third rookie into the top 50. The UConn product averaged 17.6 PPG & 9.2 RPG last season. She should also contribute on defense and will hopefully continue to score efficiently. She hopefully will performed at the level of a respectable fourth starter. Getting enough minutes may be difficult in a crowded Mystics front court, especially as a rookie, but there’s a chance she could outperform Stefanie Dolson and Myisha Hines-Allen by season’s end, which would make her the first big off the bench.

48. Kayla McBride, Minnesota Lynx, age 31 season
2023 stats: 14.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG

McBride remained a consistent performer last year. She has fallen off from her peak of her All-Star seasons in Las Vegas, but still adds a solid hand. Her three point shooting percentage has fallen for two straight seasons, though, and she is not a force on the board.

47. Natasha Cloud, Phoenix Mercury, age 32 season
2023 stats: 12.7 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG

Cloud remains a solid guard, especially when it comes to distributing the ball. Her biggest flaw is she cannot shoot well – she hasn’t hit more than 1/3 of her threes since 2018, and can’t make shots outside of 16 feet.

46. Azura Stevens, Los Angeles Sparks, age 28 season
2023 stats: 10.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG

For the first time in her career (excluding 2020), Stevens started most of her games. Her scoring efficiency plummeted, but her rebounding jumped up to compensate. When she returns – hopefully in late June – she should be slotted right back into major minutes for the Sparks’ front court, even with the arrival of Cameron Brink.

45. Cameron Brink, Los Angeles Sparks, age 22 season

Brink would have been the #1 pick in a normal draft, but Caitlyn Clark isn’t a normal prospect. Brink’s rate stats in college were just as impressive as Clark’s but Cameron’s overall value numbers were much lower due to just playing a lot less time. She only averaged 25.5 MPG as a senior. That might be due to the general uncompetitiveness of most of Stanford’s games, but she also struggled with foul trouble as a senior, averaging 2.8 per game. In 7 of the last 9 games of the season, she recorded 4 or 5 fouls. Staying on the court is a skill, and one that Brink will have to develop as a pro. This could easily be too pessimistic of a view of her as a rookie, though – if she hopped up 10 or 15 spots in this list, I wouldn’t be too shocked.

44. Dorka Juhász, Minnesota Lynx, age 24 season
2023 stats: 6.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.6 APG

Juhász impressed as a rookie with solid scoring efficiency combined with good rebounding & playmaking. I’m projecting a step up in her second season to get her here, which she should be capable of. She could end up being a great steal for the Lynx front office as the 16th pick of last year’s draft. She will be late showing up this year, and due to it only being her second season she is exempt from the prioritization rule.

43. Diamond Miller, Minnesota Lynx, age 23 season
2023 stats: 12.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG

Speaking of promising step ups for young Lynx players: Miller acquitted herself quite well as a rookie. One hopes she can bump up the scoring efficiency (especially from 3 – 30.7% on 3.2 tries a game isn’t killing it), and if she can show herself to be more of a creator, she can slide over to the 1 for more playing time with the exit of Lindsay Allen.

42. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury, age 42 season
2023 stats: 16.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.6 APG

It’s beyond question that Taurasi is not what she was as a player even two years ago. But she’s still a strong scorer, even if it’s not what she could do at her peak. She’s a good play creator, even if it’s not what she could do at her peak. But if you focus on what she can bring to the table, she’s still a top 50 player today. Barring the wheels completely falling off, she should still be a reasonably productive player.

41. NaLyssa Smith, Indiana Fever, age 23 season
2023 stats: 15.5 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.4 APG

Smith took a step forward in 2023, improving her scoring efficiency while also upping her usage rate, which is hard to do. The former #1 pick is still very young, so another step forward is not out of the question. Year three improvements don’t seem to be as drastic in general in the W as those that you see in year two, but the possibility could be that she pairs perfectly with Boston & Clark.

40. Courtney Williams, Minnesota Lynx, age 30 season
2023 stats: 10.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.3 APG

Williams is on her fourth franchise in four seasons, which is a good encapsulation of where she is in the league – a solid player who’s not a game breaker. Last year, she had career bests in effective field goal percentage and assist percentage. Turnovers popped up significantly, but if she can tamp those down and show that hitting 44.3% of her threes was not a fluke, she could prove herself even better than I expected.

39. Megan Gustafson, Las Vegas Aces, age 27 season
2023 stats: 7.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.7 APG

This could well be too optimistic. Gustafson got her best shot in the WNBA last season, on a dreadful Phoenix Mercury team, and delivered a PER just over 20 in 514 minutes. That was shockingly good enough to put her second on the squad among players with 300+ minutes, behind only Griner. What opportunity Gustafson will receive in Vegas remains to be seen – I still don’t know why Brianna Turner received twice as many minutes in Arizona that Gustafson, and it’s not like Gustafson is without flaw – she doesn’t get to the line and she isn’t a great rebounder. But she can score, and that’s got to get her some floor time somewhere. It just might not happen on a title contending team.u

38. Shakira Austin, Washington Mystics, age 23 season
2023 stats: 10.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.9 APG

Austin was hampered by injury in 2023, missing half the season, but showed flashes of being a quality starting center in the league. If she can continue to improve, she should be able to establish herself as such on a rebuilding Washington squad.

37. Marina Mabrey, Chicago Sky, age 27 season
2023 stats: 15.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.6 APG, 39.0% from 3

Mabrey should not have been acquired at such a steep price, but she is a solid guard who will probably be the most polished scorer on a Chicago Sky team that is 100% in rebuild mode. She won’t do it too often because she shoots so many threes, but she has been quietly improving her free throw rate year over year, which is a nice little addition to her game.

36. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Connecticut Sun, age 23 season
2023 stats: 4.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.6 APG

Her overall numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away since she’s the fourth big on a playoff team, but Nelson-Ododa improved across the board in her sophomore season. If she gets the chance, I think she’d really impress some people in 2024, but there’s also a chance she gets stuck with another sub-600 minute season.

35. Kalani Brown, Dallas Wings, age 27 season
2023 stats: 7.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 62.9% eFG%

The former #7 pick finally got a reliable role in the league four years after she was drafted, and she delivered a fine performance as a back up for the Wings. She was a very efficient scorer inside, she got to the line at a great rate and hit 80.2% of the freebies, and she did decent rebounding and shot blocking. There’s an argument she’s the third best big for the Wings. There’s always the chance that last year was an illusion, but that’s rare than the opposite – just being good.

34. Maddy Siegrist, Dallas Wings, age 24 season
2023 stats: 3.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.2 APG

Those raw numbers don’t pop off the page at all, but her 319 minutes did show solid rate numbers – a 19.2 PER, .210 WS per 48 minutes, a 58.5% effective field goal percentage. She took 29 free throws vs. 112 field goals, which is a reasonable rate. With Satou Sabally missing significant time, Siegrist might have a perfect opportunity in her sophomore year to flex her skills.

33. Kelsey Mitchell, Indiana Fever, age 28 season
2023 stats: 18.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 39.8% from three

We know what Kelsey Mitchell is as much as any player in the WNBA: an efficient scorer who can hit threes and isn’t shy about taking them who can also get some assists and an occasional steal as well as a couple trips to the three throw line. She won’t be the top guard for Indiana for very much longer at all, but she will still contribute well to that team and should be another beneficiary of what Caitlin Clark brings to the table.

32. Jordin Canada, Los Angeles Sparks, age 28 season
2023 stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 33.3% from three

Canada finally became a capable three point shooter and had her best scoring season as a pro, which in turn gave her her best pro season period. She remains a great passer and defender, but this added dimension finally makes her a complete guard. Let’s just hope it wasn’t a one off.

31. Kahleah Copper, Phoenix Mercury, age 29 season
2023 stats: 18.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 40.4% from three

Copper was a rare bright spot on a substandard Chicago squad last year, and her reward was a trade to the worst team in the league. She might be able to help them sneak into the last spot in the playoffs. She’s continued to improve her outside shooting, taking and making more each year since 2021. Her ability to get to the free throw line is still there, too, and she gets a few assists without turning the ball over much. Very solid.

30. Alanna Smith, Minnesota Lynx, age 27 season
2023 stats: 9.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 29.4% from three

The former #8 overall pick finally got some major run with last year’s Chicago Sky squad – her 1007 minutes played eclipsed the 663 she racked up in the four previous seasons combined. She showed good interior scoring, an ability to get to the line (though it’d be great to improve the make rate there), and a nice passing touch. Minnesota has a crowded front court, so it’s reasonable to have some concerns about just how much playing time Alanna will get, but one has to figure she won’t be easily forgotten after last year’s performance.

29. Elizabeth Williams, Chicago Sky, age 31 season
2023 stats: 9.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.5 BPG

Williams continues to be a good interior defender with decent offensive efficiency. She did her best job yet last year at racking up assists and did it while keeping turnovers low, which was a nice feather in her cap.

28. Ariel Atkins, Washington Mystics, age 27 season
2023 stats: 11.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.2 SPG

Atkins’ rate stats have been nearly flat since she came into the WNBA, but they dipped slightly and she missed more than 25% of the season. I figure she’s more likely to return to form than not, but there’s still a little caution to show here.

27. Rhyne Howard, Atlanta Dream, age 24 season
2023 stats: 17.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 35.2% from three

Howard’s rate numbers were flat from last season, so we didn’t see that sophomore bump that so many WNBA players benefit from. Maybe that’s setting expectations too high – she was an All-Star again and Atlanta gained five wins year over year. But I still would like to see her be more efficient with scoring and get to the line more often.

26. Natasha Howard, Dallas Wings, age 32 season
2023 stats: 16.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Howard remains a diverse player who can defend, rebound, and score. Her scoring and rebounding efficiency numbers have dropped for three straight years, though, so there are some cautionary signs here. I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about the wheels falling off any time soon, and she’s still a very good player. That Devereaux Peters trade is still awful eight years later.