WNBA Week 1 Overreactions: Delle Donne’s Workload, Connecticut’s Dominance

Washington Mystics Star Averaging Career-High in Minutes

The Las Vegas Aces may never lose again. Right? Well … not quite.

The WNBA season is barely a week old. It’s easy to jump to conclusions after such a small sample size. It’s not necessarily smart, though.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are some popular WNBA Week 1 overreactions.

Delle Donne’s Usage

Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne played 33 minutes each of the first two games and is averaging 34 minutes on the season. It’s a strong indication that the two-time WNBA Most Valuable Player is feeling healthy again after missing most of the 2021 season with recurring back issues.

At 33, Delle Donne still can be a game-changer. She’s averaging 19.7 points on a career-best 52.3% shooting, along with 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks.

Granted, it’s incredibly early — for the first time, all 12 teams will play 40 games apiece — but Delle Donne has never handled this big a workload. Coming into this season, she hadn’t averaged more than 33 minutes since 2016. It’ll be interesting to see how Washington manages her playing time on the WNBA schedule.

Phoenix’s Slow Start

Phoenix is just 1-2, though eight-time All-Star Brittney Griner has looked about as good as expected in her return to the WNBA. The 32-year-old Griner — who missed all last season while imprisoned in Russia on drug charges — is averaging 21.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. She’s shooting an ultra-efficient 74.2%. As Griner gets stronger, so too should Phoenix.

Diana Taurasi had 23 points and 10 assists in Thursday’s 90-81 victory over Minnesota, becoming the oldest player (40 years, 348 days) in WNBA history with a 20-point game. If the Mercury can get back standout guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who recently gave birth to her second child, they will be that much deeper.

Keep that in mind for our WNBA Week 1 overreactions.

No Jonquel Jones, No Problem

The Connecticut Sun don’t seem to miss Jonquel Jones. How’s that for another WNBA Week 1 overreaction? Connecticut is 3-0 under new head coach Stephanie White, with a pair of victories over Washington. Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones have shouldered much of the load, accounting for 62.5% of the scoring.

Jonquel Jones — traded to New York in January — has had a quiet start with her new team. She has averaged just 18 minutes the first two games, playing second-fiddle to superstar Breanna Stewart, another of the Liberty’s big offseason acquisitions.

Taking all that into account, what is Connecticut’s ceiling without Jones? Sure, the Sun are doing well now, but at some point, they may regret dealing the former MVP.

For WNBA betting news, analysis and more, visit pointspreads.com

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