The 2023 WNBA playoffs are right here, with the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun web online page hosting the No. 6 seed Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App), followed by the No. 1 seed Las Vegas Aces welcoming the No. 8 seed Chicago Sky (10 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App). Completely different two sequence kick off Friday when the No. 7 seed Washington Mystics dash to the No. 2 seed New York Liberty (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App) and the No. 5 seed Atlanta Dream consult with the No. 4 Dallas Wings (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App).

So great level of curiosity has been on a doable WNBA Finals conflict between the superteam Aces and Liberty, because the extinct hope to turn into the principle repeat champions in two a few years and the latter look to receive the franchise’s first WNBA title. However the slightly heaps of six teams dangle heaps on the street.

Chicago made the postseason despite a midseason head coaching commerce and two season-ending injuries. Within the principle year following Sylvia Fowles’ retirement in Minnesota, the storied Lynx overcame early adversity in a 0-6 start up to return to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.

The Wings and Dream are moreover taking a look for to solidify unique chapters for his or her organizations: First-year head coach Latricia Trammel might perchance perchance well lead Dallas previous the principle spherical for the principle time since 2009, when the franchise turn into once basically based mostly in Detroit; Tanisha Wright returns the Dream to the postseason for the principle time since 2018 following a tumultuous few years.

The Sun dangle the league’s longest intriguing trudge of consecutive playoff appearances (seven), but after a transformative offseason look for slightly totally different from splendid year’s squad that made a Finals bustle. After which there is the Mystics, arguably the most interesting team in the playoffs given their indeniable doable but slew of injuries. Washington’s health stays a enormous query, and or now not it’s unclear whether Shakira Austin will more than likely be accessible, but their matchup against the Liberty have to be as magnificent a chain as any in the principle spherical.’s M.A. Voepel, Alexa Philippou and Kevin Pelton rupture down the largest storylines we’re looking out at in the playoffs and, along with ESPN Delusion Video games author Eric Touchy, offer predictions for which team will pop championship champagne in October.

Are the superteams on a collision course? Which team totally different than Las Vegas or New York has the finest likelihood of reaching the WNBA Finals?

Pelton: An Aces-Liberty Finals is basically extra likely than now not, but there is a bent to overstate the thought for virtually any accepted. Though Dallas has been higher over the splendid two months, I might perchance perchance well give Connecticut the higher likelihood of crashing the Finals by advantage of the Sun’s playoff ride and extra favorable direction to the semifinals.

Philippou: Assuming the principle spherical is all chalk, or now not it’s now not easy to have faith the Sun successful three video games against the Liberty after going 0-4 against them in the recurring season (in truth, Connecticut beat Chicago splendid year in the semifinals after going winless against them in the recurring season). If the Mystics take dangle of down the Liberty and face the Sun in the semifinals, Connecticut has a 4-0 edge of their season sequence. rule of thumb I’ve developed after covering the Sun for five years: Underestimate Connecticut at your dangle chance.

Dallas has shown it’s going to beat Las Vegas, crushing the Aces in paint scoring and rebounding in a 80-78 receive July 7. But might perchance perchance well restful they strategy, the Wings have to stake a claim defensively to determine up the higher of the defending champs in a chain. In every of its splendid two meetings versus Las Vegas, Dallas allowed 104 aspects.

Voepel: The Aces misplaced succor-to-succor video games once this season (to Washington and New York), while the Liberty did now not. That tells you how unlikely this would perchance well be for either to lose a chain to any team along with every totally different.

It appears to be like enjoy the finest odds of disrupting their doable Finals matchup will reach if one loses in the finest-of-three first spherical. So, presumably the Mystics — being the finest version of themselves — upsetting New York.

The oddsmakers — Caesars Sportsbook has the Aces most in trend to receive the 2023 title at -160, with the Liberty on the succor of them at +135 — don’t appear to be focused on that chance.

The Aces were the heavy accepted quite loads of the season, but they misplaced five instances since Aug. 6. The broad majority of our panel picked the Liberty to receive the 2023 title. What introduced about the shift?

Pelton: The inability of Candace Parker is the one largest factor. Las Vegas lineups with all four All-Stars (Chelsea Grey, Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson and Jackie Younger) were correct as magnificent with Kiah Stokes and Alysha Clark alongside them, outsourcing opponents by 21.4 aspects per 100 possessions after the All-Enormous title rupture as when in contrast to plus-23.4 sooner than it, in accordance to my prognosis of lineup recordsdata from WNBA Evolved Stats.

On the choice hand, if any of those four stars is off the court, the Aces were outscored for the reason that rupture (minus-2 aspects per 100 possessions) as when in contrast to a dominant plus-15.8 when Parker turn into once wholesome in the principle half of of the season. The Vegas starters are restful magnificent sufficient to receive a title, but there is loads much less margin for error if Parker — who had foot surgical draw in July — is unable to return in time for the Finals.

Philippou: The Liberty beat Las Vegas three instances for the reason that start up of August, together with the Commissioner’s Cup championship. They’ve simply reach together because the team they were anticipated to be as they’ve had time to play together, plus Jones is at splendid wholesome and joyful in New York’s system.

For the Aces, there is been a drop-off on the defensive discontinue and of their production on the glass, a testament to Parker’s label in each areas. Sooner than the All-Enormous title rupture, their defensive rating of 95.6 aspects allowed per 100 possessions turn into once finest in the league. Since then, their defensive rating is tied for third at 100.0, a speed on the succor of the Liberty’s brand of Ninety nine.7. Becky Hammon continually stresses that if her team is now not hitting its shots, they have to protect to receive video games.

I picked the Liberty beating the Aces for the title basically based totally on how the matchups went in August, but the Aces’ core four — spearheaded by a virtually unstoppable Wilson — can restful decide up it carried out.

Voepel: I’m sticking with the Aces to repeat, but or now not it’s very comprehensible why many in truth feel the tide has grew to turn into toward the Liberty. New York received three of the four instances the teams played in August. The brotherly love of the Liberty has persevered to get better. And even supposing the Aces received the title splendid year without Parker, they did now not face a team in the playoffs that had slightly as great skills because the Liberty dangle this year.

Possibly the Aces spend it to their income. They don’t reach into the playoffs with any sense of overconfidence. Coach Becky Hammon has their full consideration when telling them how they restful dangle to withhold bettering by means of the the rest of the postseason in expose to receive again.

Which participant might perchance perchance well dangle the one largest affect on the postseason?

Pelton: Jonquel Jones. The 6-foot-6 ahead’s return to one thing extra closely corresponding to her MVP originate after being slowed by a stress reaction in her left foot has been the largest factor in New York’s enchancment over the course of the season. After averaging 10.3 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 22.6 MPG sooner than the All-Enormous title rupture in mid-July, Jones averaged a double-double (12.2 PPG and 10.3 RPG) in 27.0 MPG in the second half of of the season. If Jones will get in cross agonize and struggles to enact inner, the Liberty are inclined. If she’s serving to Breanna Stewart dominate the paint, New York is the title accepted.

Philippou: Jones successful Commissioner’s Cup MVP proved when she’s at her finest, so is New York. Her skill defensively to late down Wilson — who has averaged 26.2 aspects and 9.7 rebounds per sport for the reason that All-Enormous title rupture — is correct as most predominant as her scoring and productivity on the glass. If the Liberty receive all of it, Jones will dangle played a enormous role. And for the Aces, might perchance perchance well Chelsea Grey be primed for one more postseason dash enjoy splendid year when she turn into once named Finals MVP?

And how about Arike Ogunbowale? She only played one playoff sport splendid year as she handled an abdominal rupture, and even supposing Dallas has a range of totally different talented alternate choices (Satou Sabally, Teaira McCowan, Natasha Howard), or now not it’s been Ogunbowale’s franchise since she turn into once drafted in 2019. She’s led the league in minutes (37.2 per sport) this season. Can she lead the Wings to locations they’ve by no means sooner than reached?

Voepel: If it’s now not any of the aforementioned avid gamers, per chance this would perchance well be New York’s Sabrina Ionescu, who led the league in 3-pointers with 128. The Liberty, who lead the WNBA with 11.1 3-pointers per sport, in truth stretch out defenses, and Ionescu leads the diagram there.

For Las Vegas, Jackie Younger is probably going to be the distinction-maker. She is capturing a career-finest 52.3% from the self-discipline, 44.9 from 3-level fluctuate.

2023 WNBA playoff predictions

Click right here for a chain-by-sequence first-spherical preview.

First spherical: No. 1 Las Vegas or No. 8 Chicago?

Touchy: Las Vegas in 2
Pelton: Las Vegas in 2
Philippou: Las Vegas in 2
Voepel: Las Vegas in 2

First spherical: No. 2 New York or No. 7 Washington?

Touchy: New York in 3
Pelton: New York in 2
Philippou: New York in 3
Voepel: New York in 3

First spherical: No. 3 Connecticut or No. 6 Minnesota?

Touchy: Connecticut in 3
Pelton: Connecticut in 2
Philippou: Connecticut in 3
Voepel: Connecticut in 3

First spherical: No. 4 Dallas or No. 5 Atlanta?

Touchy: Dallas in 3
Pelton: Dallas in 3
Philippou: Dallas in 2
Voepel: Dallas in 3

Which teams will meet in the WNBA Finals?

Touchy: Las Vegas and New York
Pelton: Las Vegas and New York
Philippou: Las Vegas and New York
Voepel: Las Vegas and New York

Which team will receive the championship?

Touchy: New York
Pelton: New York
Philippou: New York
Voepel: Las Vegas

Who might perchance perchance well be the WNBA Finals MVP?

Touchy: Breanna Stewart, New York
Pelton: Breanna Stewart, New York
Philippou: Jonquel Jones, New York
Voepel: A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas