2024 WNBA Season Preview: Phoenix Mercury

Washington Mystics v Phoenix Mercury
Can Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury rebound from one of the roughest seasons in franchise history? | Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the Phoenix Mercury are aiming to return to the top of the league. However, does the team have enough to truly compete?

The Phoenix Mercury had just a handful of wins last season, going 9-31 on the year. With an aging star in Diana Taurasi and a 10-year vet in Brittney Griner, the Mercury appear to be a team embracing their legends, taking whatever wins that brings them.

Rebuild and rebirth

The Mercury may not be aiming for a title, but there’s still a lot of progress that can happen. Griner is still a force in this league, Taursai still has moments where she turns back the clock, and the Mercury has new additions like Kahleah Copper, Natasha Cloud and Rebecca Allen.

Copper, Cloud and Allen are great additions that can raise the floor of this roster. The Mercury also have some late-round draft picks in Charisma Osborne and Jaz Shelley, who could help steer Phoenix back in the right direction. If everything goes right and the combination of youth and veterans works perfectly, maybe Phoenix can flirt with a .500 record and reach the postseason.

A dark downside?

As a Chicago sports fan once told me, “It can always get worse.”

What if Taurasi takes an even bigger dip in production and becomes unplayable? What if Griner’s herculean efforts go in vain, and Phoenix is losing by 15-plus points regardless of her play? What if Copper stagnates with the Mercury and can’t take the next step in her career or help Phoenix win games? Do those late-round draft picks even make the roster? Do they develop? Are they even good?

This is the dark side of the 2024 WNBA season for the Mercury, and while all of this happening is unlikely, it is on the table.

Closing thoughts

Not every team will have an amazing year and win many basketball games. This sport is binary. There are winners and losers, and based on all evidence currently provided, the Mercury will be losing more than winning this season. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be excited about the season or that there isn’t anything worth watching. Progress is not linear, and watching the Mercury will give you a better idea if they are executing well on the rebuild, far better than looking at a stats sheet ever will.

If Copper can be a bucket and Griner continues to dominate, who knows? Maybe that’s enough to make the postseason and be a tough out. That’s likely the max for this team, though, so don’t expect much more than that.

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