• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 21, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

The Las Vegas Aces’ Blueprint for A WNBA Dynasty

  • Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson, and Jackie Young were drafted first overall three years in a row.
  • Owner Mark Davis invested in the franchise via head coach Becky Hammon and a state-of-the-art practice facility.
The Las Vegas Aces celebrate after defeating the New York Liberty to win the 2023 WNBA Finals at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Kelsey Plum said it best in the aftermath of the Las Vegas Aces’ 70-69 win over the New York Liberty in Game 4 of the 2023 WNBA Finals to secure the team’s second league title in as many seasons.

“You can’t build a superteam in a couple months,” the two-time All-Star told ESPN’s Holly Rowe immediately after the final buzzer. “It takes years.”

Plum was drafted first overall by the Aces, then the San Antonio Stars, in 2017. WNBA Finals MVP A’ja Wilson was the first overall pick in 2018, with guard Jackie Young — who played a crucial role Wednesday with several key Las Vegas injuries — going first in 2019.

The team added key veterans Chelsea Gray and Kiah Stokes, the aforementioned injured players, in 2021. 

The only big signing for the Aces ahead of the 2023 season was seven-time All-Star Candace Parker — and she has not played since July.

It stands in stark contrast to the team-building process for the Liberty, who became instant contenders after acquiring perennial All-Stars Courtney Vandersloot, Jonquel Jones, and Breanna Stewart — who was, ironically, the first overall pick in 2016 — ahead of the season.

Las Vegas is the first repeat WNBA champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2002 and just the third franchise to repeat overall since the Houston Comets rattled off straight titles in the first four seasons of the league from 1997 through 2000. 

“As I said last year when we won, it’s great to see your vision become reality, and now it’s times two,” owner Mark Davis, who bought the team in 2021, told KTNV after the win.

Part of realizing that vision involved signing head coach Becky Hammon to a $1 million per season contract ahead of the 2022 campaign; it was the largest WNBA head coaching deal ever until the Phoenix Mercury signed Nate Tibbetts this week.

Davis also invested in the franchise via a state-of-the-art practice facility, which broke ground shortly after he purchased the team in 2021 and opened in May.

The Aces are already the favorites to three-peat in 2024, opening at the top of FanDuel’s WNBA Championship board with +140 odds.

If that comes to pass, they’ll do so with a minority owner who knows a thing or two about dynasties: Tom Brady bought into the team in May, with his purchase finalized just over two weeks before Vegas claimed the time.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Towns

Timberwolves’ Playoff Start Is Clouded by a Messy Ownership Dispute

No one knows who the Timberwolves’ owner will be in the future.

NBA Media Rights Likely Headed for Open Market Next Week

The league is reportedly letting Monday’s deadline pass without a deal.
Caitlin Clark

Fever’s Still Running: Tickets, Jerseys, and the Caitlin Clark Economy

Unprecedented ticket and merchandise demand for the WNBA rookie continues.

Caitlin Clark ‘Nearing’ $20 Million-Plus Nike Deal: Report

Clark had an NIL deal with Nike at Iowa as well.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Why Ian Rapoport Lives for the NFL Draft’s Chaos


Featured Today

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.
April 20, 2024

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
April 7, 2024

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Utah Fans Rush for Season Tickets (for a New NHL Team With No Name)

More than 20,000 season-ticket deposits have been made for the newly relocated NHL team.
Jazz owner Ryan Smith
April 18, 2024

Utah’s Long-Term Hockey Dream Is a Short-Term Logistical Nightmare

Ryan Smith now faces a lengthy to-do list to prepare for the next NHL season.
April 19, 2024

Rockies Coach’s Team Plane Cockpit Visit Triggers Federal Investigation

A since-deleted video shows him sitting in the cockpit mid-flight.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 17, 2024

NBA Postmortem: A Record Salary, Groundbreaking Investment … and What For It?

The Pistons and Wizards made big financial moves last summer.
April 17, 2024

The A’s Have Major League Problems With Minor League-Level Attendance

The team was outdrawn Tuesday by 19 different minor-league teams.
April 17, 2024

Warriors Missing Playoffs Has Big-Money Consequences

The NBA is losing one of its biggest postseason draws.
April 15, 2024

Knicks’ Resurgence Marks Peak in Dolan’s Sports Domain

The team’s on-court success is fueling a series of gains off it.