2024 WNBA Season Preview: Dallas Wings

2023 WNBA Playoffs - Las Vegas Aces vs Dallas Wings
Can Arike Ogunbowale lead the Dallas Wings on a deep playoff run? | Photo by Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Wings made it to the second round of the 2023 WNBA Playoffs. In 2024, they’re looking to go further.

Training camp is underway for the Dallas Wings, with new draftees like Jacy Sheldon joining a team that advanced to the second round of the WNBA Playoffs in 2023 and is primed to compete for a championship in 2024.

Here’s a preview of Dallas’ path toward ultimate success, as well as what could prevent them from achieving the ultimate goal.

Running it back while improving along the way

Dallas took care of their top priority in free agency by bringing back Satou Sabally. She averaged 18.6 points and 8.1 rebounds and won Most Improved Player in 2023, and the idea that she can continue to get better should scare the rest of the WNBA. However, it appears the rising superstar will miss the first half of the 2024 season; she recently underwent surgery to repair the shoulder she injured while helping Germany qualify for this summer’s Olympics. The plan is for her to represent Germany in the Olympics and then return to the court for the Wings. If Sabally looks like herself—or even better—when she makes her 2024 debut in August, it could be enough to take the Wings to a Finals appearance, with a chance to beat the juggernaut Las Vegas Aces.

It’s not just the Sabally show in Dallas; Ogunbowale is still the epicenter of everything. She wears No. 24 for a reason, bringing that Mamba Mentality and backing it up with elite offensive production. With this dynamic duo back, the Wings have a shot against anyone.

But running it back isn’t enough. This team fell short last season and needed to improve from within and beyond. That’s why the Wings drafted Sheldon to add depth at the guard position. There’s optimism that she, as well as Carla Leite, who the Wings selected at No. 9 overall but will not join the team in 2024, can grow into impactful players that contribute to winning basketball, but without having the pressure of leading the team immediately.

In the best-case scenario, Dallas has a perfect balance of win-now players and a few young guns that can help them reach the top of the league.

Not super enough to get it done

Did Dallas overachieve last year?

Maybe. Relying on a big leap from Sabally and having Ogunbowale carry such a heavy load isn’t a recipe for success. Maybe 2023 is the best that pairing can give you, and with Vegas still Queens of the Castle, the New York Liberty right behind them and young teams like the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever looming, maybe this team is stuck in the middle of the league: not good enough to contend and not bad enough to get a top draft pick.

The only thing worse than being the worst is being in the middle, and Dallas will be stuck in mediocrity if it doesn’t optimize its top stars and develop its rookies.

It’s early, and we don’t have any data just yet on how this team will mesh, but I think this team can be in the running for a championship. The gap between them and New York and Las Vegas may not have closed, but it’s slightly shrunk. If their newcomers can shine and Sabally comes back better than ever, maybe they can go from contenders to front runners, but that’s a tall mountain to climb. If anyone can climb it, however, it’s Ogunbowale. Even if she fails to reach the summit, it’ll be exciting to watch her undertake the trek.

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