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Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

FSM Presents: Las Vegas Aces 2021 Season Team Preview

Franchise Sports Media


FSM’s Cole Huff concludes his preseason coverage of our Las Vegas Aces with a team preview of the 2021 season.




Las Vegas Aces
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces


G: Kelsey Plum

G: Chelsea Gray

G: Riquna Williams

F: A’ja Wilson

C: Liz Cambage


Depth: Destiny Slocum, Jackie Young, Dearica Hamby, Emma Cannon, Ji-Su Park

Note: Veteran wing, Angel McCoughtry will miss the 2021 season after suffering a torn ACL and Meniscus during the Aces’ final preseason game against the Los Angeles Sparks.



The Las Vegas Aces finished the 2020 regular season with an 18-4 record over 22 games inside the Brandenton Wubble, earning a double-bye after ending tied for the No. 1 seed. Their exceeding of expectations was noticed and rewarded by the league as A’ja WilsonWNBA MVP, and Dearica HambySixth Woman of the Year, took home some individual honors. They’d find success in the playoffs by defeating the Connecticut Sun in five games during the Semifinals but would lose Hamby for the season to a knee injury. Undermanned, the Aces’ were outclassed in three games by the Seattle Storm during the WNBA Finals as they fell short of a championship. Now with the return to their home market and a near-full deck of cards to play with, the Aces will look to build off of the 2020 season that saw the team reach their first-ever WNBA Finals appearance. They enter the season as most people’s championship favorites.




The Aces’ championship window is now completely open, and as the team has transformed from a fun relocation team to a legitimate contender, the front office made some win-now moves over the offseason to help reach the pinnacle.

Additions: Chelsea Gray, Riquna Williams, Destiny Slocum

Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams have made the drive across the I-15 from Los Angeles to their new home in Las Vegas — both entering after multiple seasons in a Sparks uniform. With Gray, the Aces are getting an in-her prime, elite playmaking point guard with championship DNA. “She’s also a quality person and teammate with valuable postseason and championship experience,” said Las Vegas Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer

Las Vegas Aces
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

“Adding someone to our roster with her ability to consistently make the big play brings us that much closer to a championship.” Riquna Williams also brings over championship pedigree from her tenure in Los Angeles, while bringing an outside scoring and shooting component to the team that they have desperately lacked for years now — specifically offering an elite level of microwave ability from game to game.

Pick No. 14 of the 2021 WNBA draft belonged to the Las Vegas Aces and they selected guard Destiny Slocum out of Arkansas University. Slocum will look to compete for the role of backup point guard behind Gray, where she can provide some floor-generalship to the second unit. If she lands that role, she’ll be able to integrate herself alongside some proven talent and accomplished players — making the transition to the WNBA a bit easier.


Subtractions: Kayla McBride, Carolyn Swords, Danielle Robinson, Sugar Rodgers, Lindsay Allen, Cierra Burdick

The addition of Chelsea Gray was a huge get for the Aces, but it came at the expense of losing three-time all-star guard, Kayla McBride, in free agency. She leaves the Aces after a bit of a dropoff during the 2020 season, though many feel as though she was limited in her role and underutilized as a player. She and the Lynx will host the Aces on June 25th before she makes her return to Vegas to face the Aces on July 9th.

Carolyn Swords has re-retired after filling in for the depleted Aces in the Wubble, while Danielle Robinson and Lindsay Allen made their way to the Indiana Fever. Sugar Rodgers has retired from the WNBA but will serve as an assistant coach for the Aces this upcoming.





With the season beginning on May 14th, that leaves just a little over a week before Kelsey Plum will depart the team and head to Austria as she competes for Team USA in the 3×3 Olympic Qualifier. The qualifying tournament runs from May 26th to May 30th, but with travel and recovery, the participating players figure to miss some additional days — potentially about six or seven games in total, by my estimation. If Plum, a potential starting guard, is out for that time, the Aces will be missing out on some scoring burst and important outside shooting. Unless another player is added to the roster, ook for rookie guard, Destiny Slocum, to possibly earn some extended reps.

Las Vegas Aces
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

If the USA’s 3×3 team does advance past the qualifying rounds, they’ll earn a trip to the Olympics games in August, where the WNBA has intentionally incorporated a scheduled break in the season to allow for players to participate for their respective countries. As of now, there have been no official announcements, but the AcesA’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, and Chelsea Gray are all potential participants in the Tokyo Games. This month-long Olympic break will serve as low-impact recovery/training time for some, but the Olympic participants will put a ton of extra wear on their bodies before returning to WNBA action in August — something that could, but hopefully won’t, become an issue down the stretch of the season.


As with any season, injuries are going to be an obstacle that teams and players will have to overcome. The Aces’ have been served a few unfortunate blows over the past couple of seasons during inopportune times — Kelsey Plum’s Achilles injury forced her to miss the entire 2020 season, Dearcia Hamby missed parts of the Semifinals and all of the Finals last season, and though not specifically an injury, Liz Cambage was deemed a medical risk of COVID which forced to her to sit out the Wubble.

Now, just a week before the season opener, Las Vegas has announced that they will be without veteran wing, Angel McCoughtry, for the 2021 season as she suffered a torn ACL and meniscus during a preseason game against the Sparks — her second ACL injury in recent years.




Look, in order to win a championship, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck on your side. That luck is a culmination of things; great health and player availability being the most important — something the Aces haven’t had as of late. If the Aces have those two things there shouldn’t be much that stands in their way of being a top 2 team in the league. You look at this roster on paper and not many others come close to matching this team’s talent from top to bottom, even with the McCoughtry injury news. And when you think about what this team’s accomplished over the past two seasons, and then look at who they’ve added over the offseason, anything short of a finals appearance would be shocking — with a championship being the expectation.




That concludes our preview series of the 2021 Las Vegas Aces. Tune into ABC on Saturday, May 15th as the Aces open their season in a 2020 WNBA Finals rematch against the Seattle Storm.



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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Cole on Twitter @ColeHoops

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