Coming off of a magnificent 2021 Draft, It is time for the Dallas Wings to go a new direction beginning this season. Combined with that the roster has now, Dallas picked some great winning talents who are expected to adjust to the next level perfectly. The expectations are high on Dallas to become playoff contenders through the course of this year.
The WNBA is returning to normal circumstances this year. After playing last season in the WNBA Wubble, teams were forced to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. It was a great experience for teams to remain close, but the unfortunate situation for players was to adjust to new habits. Teams having the opportunity to play at home with limited fans will elevate their chances of competing at the maximum level. The Wings are a team that will certainly need comfortability on their side. Their ability to approach this season and exceed expectations will be wonderful as they build.
Wings’ 2020 Campaign
Let’s look back at last season’s Wings team. The team was fighting for the last playoff seed through most of the season. With the combination of Arike Ogunbowale alongside Satou Sabally and Allisha Gray, Dallas displayed a productive season, to say the least. The Wings finished the season at 8-14, just one slot out of the eighth spot. After losses to Chicago and Seattle late in their schedule, Dallas was immediately eliminated from playoff contention.
Ogunbowale was the leading scorer in the WNBA with 22.8 points per game. Through the course of the season, it was her offensive approach that kept the Wings in contention. The biggest factor that led to Dallas missing the playoffs was their lack of defense and ability to protect the paint. In Brian Agler’s second and final season as head coach, he still showed good utilization of his players despite the flaws on their team.
The Wings are young but they show a lot of potential as a rising team. Having three first-round draft picks this year allowed them to continue their building with good decision-making by the front office. Each pick the Wings selected will tremendously impact the team going forward. Let’s dive into each pick the Dallas Wings selected in the WNBA Draft.
Charli Collier: #1 Pick
The first two picks of the draft belonged to the Wings. Both Charli Collier and Awak Kuier are difference-makers who will often lead the team. Collier’s ability to play inside and out will help her flourish with her teammates. She will be able to run the pick-and-roll with her teammates, which will help her get quality looks around the basket. Collier’s size and strength will help Dallas become a better rebounding team and also better defensively.
Awak Kuier: #2 Pick
Awak Kuier can bring the same versatility, but slightly different from Collier. Kuier is a stretch big who can play any position on the floor. She shows tremendous speed for her size and can often be an initiator on the floor. The one area in Kuier’s game is can she become aggressive under the basket at times. Moving forward in her career, it’s important that Kuier can continue to play all-around on the offensive side of the floor.
Chelsea Dungee: #5 (my personal favorite of the Draft)
Chelsea Dungee is another terrific energy boost for Dallas’ bench. While Arike Ogunbowale is out of the game, there is another offensive weapon that coach Vickie Johnson can utilize. Dungee has proven to be a three-level scorer during her time at Arkansas. She will have to adjust to the next level to keep her momentum going.
Dana Evans: 13th pick
Last, but not least, two-time ACC player of the year Dana Evans. Evans is a player who always leads by example. Transitioning to the WNBA will allow her to learn new tactics and ways to be prepared each night. The years of experience in the WNBA will allow Evans to be a big factor for the Wings as a playoff contender. She’s a point guard who helps teammates become successful on the floor. It wouldn’t be a surprise to watch Evans be the franchise’s starting point guard next to Ogunbowale. Her two seasons as a leader at Louisville have helped her grow tremendously as an elite player.
What’s next for Dallas?
Bringing in a new head coach will give the Wings a new sign of life. There’s a new system that will be used on the floor, which they have confidence that will help the team become successful. Overall, the Wings look better on paper compared to many rosters. The challenge will be how they come out at the beginning of the season to send a message to other teams.
The Dallas Wings will be playoff bound this season. The biggest key is Arike Ogunbowale and how she continues to lead this team. Her first two years in the WNBA have taught her how difficult it is to win at the highest level. This upcoming season will be just as important for Ogunbowale as she leads this team in the hunt for her first season making the playoffs.