The San Antonio Stars had the worst record in the WNBA last season at 8-26. It was announced in October that the team would be relocated to Las Vegas, would be rebranded the Aces and be owned and operated by MGM Resorts. Bill Laimbeer, who was previously with the Liberty, was slated head coach and general manager.
Its not difficult to see the talent and true potential the Aces have, especially with their two No. 1 draft picks. It may take some time for this team to settle into their own, but they certainly have some talent in both the frontcourt and backcourt that will make for an improved 2018 season.
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No. 1 Pick A’ja Wilson
The unanimous National Player of the Year averaged 22.9 points, 12 rebounds per game and 3.3 blocks per game at South Carolina this past season and shot 55 percent from the field. Wilson is exactly what Las Vegas needed in a dominant presence down low to build around which they did not have last year. At 6-foot-6 she is agile, versatile, and a true rim protector with an innate ability to score it. Wilson will make an immediate impact and look to play big minutes.
No. 13 Pick Jaime Nared
Any other year, Nared easily could have been a top five or six draft pick. The Tennessee guard/forward brings a need to the Aces in her versatility. At 6-foot-2 she has the size and skills to play on the wing and down low.
She led Tennessee in scoring at 16.7 points per game and is a strong rebounder averaging 7.4 rebounds per contest. She fits in nicely with the Aces’ Mitchell and Plum and will provide another scoring option and defensive ability on the perimeter.
Key Returners and Additions
Kelsey Plum: The All-Time leading scorer in NCAA history, and 2017 No. 1 draft pick is still coming into her own in her second season after battling early injuries in her rookie year campaign.
Tamera Young: One of the toughest competitors and veterans in the league was signed as a free agent back in February. She poses a nice mid-range ability and toughness on the defensive end that the Aces need. She was with the Chicago Sky before being traded to the Atlanta Dream last season.
Carolyn Swords: Reuniting with her coach from New York, Swords was signed in free agency. She brings size down low at six-six to go along with Wilson potentially playing the four.
Starter and leading scorer from last season, Kayla McBride, also returns to the team. Along with Moriah Jefferson, who had a limited 2017 season due to injury.
The Aces also signed three players to training camp contracts in Morgan William from Mississippi State, Brooke Johnson from UNLV and Jacki Gamelos from USC. By May 17th, rosters in the league must be cut down to 12.
The Ace’s open up at home at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Sunday, May 27th at 5:00pm PT.