What have a handful of WNBA games told us about the 2019 season? It's too early to come away with solid conclusions, but there are some takeaways already.
1. Mystics in new digs
The Washington Mystics' new home, the Entertainment and Sports Arena, is small. It seats 4,200 and is also home to Washington's G League team.
The Mystics have been training at the facility but officially moved in with their 96-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday, featuring the season debut of Elena Delle Donne. She'd missed their opening loss at Connecticut with some knee soreness, but looked very EDD-like Saturday with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds.
Washington hopes to make its new arena a formidable home court while also sparking retail growth in an area of D.C. that has been deprived of that. What happens if ESA becomes too small? The Mystics will be happy to face that problem someday. For now, this seems like a good fit.
2. New-look Lynx
With most of their championship core either retired, on a break, or injured, the Minnesota Lynx are re-creating themselves to a large degree this year. So far, it has been great. The Lynx are 3-0, and their starting five -- Sylvia Fowles, Napheesa Collier, Odyssey Sims, Damiris Dantas and Danielle Robinson -- are all averaging double-figures scoring.
Fowles is the veteran stalwart, and Collier the rookie sensation, and it's good to see them have a chance to play together: They are two elite players with "just-get-the-job-done" personalities. Sims was a seemingly unlikely fit personality-wise, obtained via trade from the rival Los Angeles Sparks. But she has adjusted fine thus far.
Dantas started her WNBA career with the Lynx in 2014, then was traded to Atlanta in 2015 as part of the three-team deal that brought Fowles from Chicago. The Lynx signed her as a restricted free agent in February, with an offer sheet the Dream didn't match. The 6-foot-3 forward, who is just 26, fills a spot Minnesota needed with Rebekkah Brunson (concussion) not on the roster. Robinson is in her eighth year in the league and second with the Lynx, and also fits in well.
Seimone Augustus, the veteran face of the franchise, is out indefinitely after arthroscopic knee surgery last week. So this new core is trying to solidify itself. They're already endearing themselves to Lynx fans, who knew a rebuild was coming. They're enjoying how that's going.
3. Sun looking steady
The Connecticut Sun are in that group of teams most see as a championship contender, and the Sun are off to a 3-1 start. Their lone loss was 77-70 at Los Angeles on Friday, but they followed that with a hard-fought 80-74 victory at Las Vegas on Sunday. The Sun will get another shot at the Sparks on Thursday, this time in Connecticut. Fans there can welcome back (cough) Chiney Ogwumike, who wanted to play with her older sister, Nneka, in Los Angeles and nudged the Sun to trade her.
While it is cool to see the sister act from Stanford together again with the Sparks, the Sun have kept motoring along. Connecticut has been a team under coach Curt Miller that doesn't require superstars, even though there are players like center Jonquel Jones (16.8 PPG, 14.3 RPG) who have superstar ability.
The Sun are still a group where you can expect contributions from a lot of people. So things like Courtney Williams' 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists versus the Aces, and Shekinna Stricklen's four 3-pointers in that game, are no surprise. Consistency counts for so much in the WNBA, and if the Sun can maintain that, it's a lot of the battle.
4. Patience for the Aces
Any worries about the Las Vegas Aces getting off to a 1-2 start? Not really. They beat the Sparks in an impressive home opener May 26. Then they lost a squeaker 86-84 on Friday at Phoenix when A'ja Wilson had two shots to tie it but missed both on one of the most frustrating shooting games of her career (4-of-19).
She answered that by going 9-of-11 from the field against the Sun. But 21 turnovers and some missed defensive assignments hurt the Aces.
Center Liz Cambage -- who made her season debut with 13 points and two rebounds at Phoenix -- is still easing her way back in action after Achilles issues and not playing since last September. Cambage had 14 points and seven rebounds in just over 14 minutes of court time against Connecticut, and showed some of the feistiness that the Aces need from her.
It's going to take some time, considering they're also working in rookie guard Jackie Young, and the Aces are likely going to have some more frustrating losses. But they have all the right pieces.
5. High-five for the Fever
How about a shout-out to the Indiana Fever, who have started 2-1? The Fever had just six victories last season, losing their first 10 in a row. They won nine games in 2017, their first season without retired legend Tamika Catchings. They were picked for the basement this season by most observers.
They won their opener 81-80 at New York on a last-second shot by rookie Teaira McCowan. And, yes, their other victory was also against the Liberty, but by a more commanding 92-77 score at Indiana this past Saturday. In between was an 88-77 loss at Connecticut -- the Sun's Jones took the Fever to school with 25 points -- but even that had some pro-Fever moments, like guard Erica Wheeler's 26 points, and 20 from ageless forward Candice Dupree.
The Fever always were a team where the whole seemed greater than the sum of the parts, even with Catchings. Rebuilding after Catchings was expected to be an extremely daunting task, so every potential step forward by the Fever merits some mention.