By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
1. Minnesota Lynx (26-5), The Lynx need just two wins in their final three games to lock up the best single season in WNBA history. The balance that this team has makes it the odds on favorite to win back-to-back championships.
2. Connecticut Sun (23-9), Quietly, the Sun have the second best record in the league. The attention has been on the Western Conference all year. But Tina Charles, Renee Montgomery and company have the Sun poised to make a deep playoff run.
3. Los Angeles Sparks (22-10), Maybe the only team deep enough in the West to match up with Minnesota on a nightly basis. If the right Sparks team shows up for an entire playoff series, the Sparks could come out of the West.
4. Indiana Fever (20-11), Like the Sun, the Fever have flown under the radar this season. Connecticut has had the more impressive regular season, but with Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas on their side, the Fever have just as good of a shot as anyone to come out of the East.
5. Atlanta Dream (18-14), Ever since the firing up Marynell Meadors as head coach, the Dream have been on a roll. In the past two seasons the Dream used late season surges to reach the WNBA Finals. Can they do it again in 2012?
6. San Antonio Silver Stars (19-12), The Silver Stars have been one of the more interesting teams this season, stumbling out of the gates before going on a winning streak that propelled them to second place in the West and then cooling off again. I believe this team has already peaked this season and will struggle with Los Angeles in the first round.
7. Chicago Sky (13-18), The Sky are back at full strength and it is just what they need with only a few games remaining in the regular season and needing to pass the Liberty for the final playoff spot in the East. If this team gets into the playoffs, they will be a difficult out and could be a sleeper to go deep in the postseason.
8. Seattle Storm (13-18), It seems the Storm have the weapons on their roster to make a playoff run, but this season just doesn’t have that feel. Seattle has lost games they normally never lose at home and have failed to take advantage when it has had a chance to move up in the standings. If at full strength, the Storm might be able to sneak a victory over the Lynx at home in the first round, but Minnesota should take care of business fairly easily.
9. New York Liberty (14-17), Conventional wisdom says the Liberty should get into the playoffs since there are only three games left and they have a one game lead over the Sky, but I think the Sky have the better roster and since they have all their players healthy, somehow Chicago gets in.
10. Tulsa Shock (8-23), The Shock have steadily improved over the past two seasons. When they get back Liz Cambage next season, this team could be the most improved team in the league in 2013.
11. Phoenix Mercury (7-24), Too many injuries led to a very disappointing 2012 season for the Mercury. At full strength, Phoenix will be one of the most talented teams in the league again next season.
12. Washington Mystics (5-27), Unfortunately for the Mystics, they have to be involved in a lottery for the No. 1 draft pick. Unless this team gets Brittney Griner they could be in a world of trouble again next season.