May 18, 2023 - Sports

Mystics, Delle Donne could surprise WNBA this season

Elena Delle Donne dribbles a basketball past a defender.

Elena Delle Donne drives toward the basket in a preseason game against the Atlanta Dream. Photo: Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The superteam era has officially hit the WNBA, which kicks off its 27th season Friday with four games.

  • A crazy offseason full of former MVPs and All-Stars joining forces sets the table for what could be an epic summer of basketball.

Why it matters: The Washington Mystics' had a quiet offseason compared to the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty, the top two teams in the league — but that might not matter if Elena Delle Donne is fully healthy.

  • The two-time MVP and six-time All-Star has played in just 29 games since 2019 while dealing with injuries but recently said, "I'm by far the strongest I've ever been," and she doesn't plan to sit out any games for injury maintenance this season.

The big picture: The Mystics won the 2019 Finals on the shoulders of Delle Donne and still have two other starters, Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins, from that team.

  • That trio might not be as talented on paper as those for the Aces and Liberty, but they've been playing together for a lot longer.

Between the lines: Add in second-year budding star Shakira Austin and a few under-the-radar veteran signings and the Mystics could be a sneaky contender.

Take a look at every WNBA team's chances at a 2023 title, ranked by their odds.

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