Tuesday's column, here's the second half of the list of lineups I'll be tracking throu..."/> Tuesday's column, here's the second half of the list of lineups I'll be tracking throu..."/> Tuesday's column, here's the second half of the list of lineups I'll be tracking throu..."/>

Drop Off: must see WNBA lineups in 2018, part 2

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 23: Gabby Williams #15 of the Chicago Sky walks out and shakes teammates hands before the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 23, 2018 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 23: Gabby Williams #15 of the Chicago Sky walks out and shakes teammates hands before the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 23, 2018 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Continuing from Tuesday’s column, here’s the second half of the list of lineups I’ll be tracking throughout the regular season.

Lineups to watch for, part 2 of 2

Atlanta: Angel McCoughtry, Tiffany Hayes, Brittney Sykes, one of Elizabeth Williams/Jessica Breland, and one of Renee Montgomery/Layshia Clarendon

Why this group is dangerous: It will be too difficult for opponents to match this group without giving Atlanta a matchup to pick on. They could work for switches to get McCoughtry down in the post against a smaller guard. Hayes, Sykes or McCoughtry can pick out the weakest link and look to take them off the bounce. As head coach Nicki Collen installs her offense and utilizes the depth in her frontcourt, I’d expect this group to be used sparingly early on.

CHICAGO, IL – MAY 23: Gabby Williams #15 of the Chicago Sky walks out and shakes teammates hands before the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 23, 2018 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – MAY 23: Gabby Williams #15 of the Chicago Sky walks out and shakes teammates hands before the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 23, 2018 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Chicago: Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Diamond DeShields, Gabby Williams, Stefanie Dolson

Why this group is dangerous: This group has too much passing to not figure it out. They may experience fits of turnovers as they get to know each other, but this could already be Chicago’s most-used starting lineup. DeShields and Williams have already started together with Quigley and Dolson. Quigley really blossomed last season as a secondary ball handler and playmaker, which allows her to further leverage her ridiculous three-point shooting ability.

DeShields has a post game worth exploring, and Dolson can step beyond the arc at any moment and drag her defender with her to open up more space inside. The Sky excelled last year when they got Vandersloot and Quigley each a touch in an advantage situation within the same possession. Body movement and multiple screening actions could force teams to switch a smaller player onto Dolson, who can then look to bury that player under the rim for easy buckets.

UNCASVILLE, CT – MAY 20: Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun goes to the basket against the Las Vegas Aces on May 20, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)
UNCASVILLE, CT – MAY 20: Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun goes to the basket against the Las Vegas Aces on May 20, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Connecticut: Jonquel Jones, Chiney Ogwumike, Alyssa Thomas, Jasmine Thomas

Why this group is dangerous: This is the lone four-player combination listed. Many have wondered already how much Ogwumike and Jones will play together. To take that one step further, how much will Thomas slide back to the three and play with both of them? I’d look for these four to close a lot of games together because of what they can do defensively. Finding the right offense-defense mix will be the challenge facing head coach Curt Miller all season long, though he certainly has plenty of capable options worth exploring.


You may be wondering why three teams (Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles) went unaccounted for in this two-part series.

Let’s start with the Sparks. They opened the season with 11 players under contract. Seven of those players are guards. All of them are rotation-caliber players at minimum.

I just don’t have any feel or strong opinion on combinations they should experiment with because 1) all their players are good enough to carve out a role, and 2) their top two reserves — Jantel Lavender and Essence Carson — have such distinctly valuable skill sets that I find it hard to imagine we’ll see prolonged stretches with lineups we aren’t already familiar with.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 23: Allisha Gray #15 of the Dallas Wings handles the ball against the Minnesota Lynx on May 23, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 23: Allisha Gray #15 of the Dallas Wings handles the ball against the Minnesota Lynx on May 23, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Dallas, though much younger and banged up at the moment, has some nice depth as well. Glory Johnson (hamstring) won’t be back until mid-June, Aerial Powers is nursing a minor quad injury to start the season, and Theresa Plaisance is coming off an ACL tear suffered last October.

They have enough options to survive without Johnson for now. No. 6 overall pick Azura Stevens will get plenty of run at the four and five positions. Kayla Thornton has been elevated into Johnson’s starting slot, and Kaela Davis has been able to soak up the extra minutes on the perimeter.

At full strength, head coach Fred Williams will get to play the matchups even if some of his players get into foul trouble. If Stevens finds her outside stroke early on, he’ll have an option at the four to really open up the lane for Liz Cambage inside. They can go small when Cambage rests and even put three wings on the floor to get a different look when Skylar Diggins-Smith is out of the game.

Finally, do I even need to mention the lineup we all want to see in Vegas this season?

Links I like

Here’s Michelle Smith on the big site with some early impressions on the season.

Here’s Scott Cacciola, who had Archbishop Mitty High School head girls basketball coach Sue Phillips break down Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

Related Story: Wednesday Drop Off: May schedule analysis & games of the month

Here’s a piece on a topic I’ve long wanted to see more coverage of, conveniently coming from the most qualified person to do it — ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel on the top five trades in WNBA history.