May 1, 2024 

2024 WNBA season preview: Atlanta Dream

The Dream remain committed to promising young core, but look to return to the playoffs in 2024

When teams start tasting success, a typical move is to accelerate progress by trading young prospects for aging stars. However, the Atlanta Dream franchise took a different approach, prioritizing patience and carefully-planned moves.

Continue reading with a subscription to The Next

Get unlimited access to women’s basketball coverage and help support our hardworking staff of writers, editors, and photographers by subscribing today.

Join today

This approach was epitomized during Atlanta’s 2024 offseason. It opted to draft three international prospects, intending to stash them overseas for development while acquiring two-way point guard Jordin Canada via trade. The result is a talented win-now team with assets for the future as well.

The Dream boasts a talented nucleus spearheaded by Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker. Together, they steered the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018. With the addition of Canada, Atlanta is primed to make another playoff appearance and vie for homecourt advantage in the first round of the WNBA playoffs.

Get 24/7 soccer coverage with The Equalizer

The Next is partnering with The Equalizer to bring more women’s sports stories to your inbox. Subscribe to The Next now and receive 50% off your subscription to The Equalizer for 24/7 coverage of women’s soccer.

Offseason summary

Free agency

Suspended contracts



  • Traded Aari McDonald and the 2024 No. 8 pick to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade for Canada and the 2024 No. 12 pick (used to select Puoch).

Training camp contracts

Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine

Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

Projected rotation

Note: Bold signifies players on a protected (or guaranteed) contract. 

  1. Jordin Canada | Destanni Henderson
  2. Allisha Gray | Haley Jones
  3. Rhyne Howard | Aerial Powers
  4. Nia Coffey | Naz Hillmon | Laeticia Amihere
  5. Cheyenne Parker | Tina Charles | Lorela Cubaj (late camp arrival)

How Jordin Canada is a difference-maker at point guard

Last season, Atlanta had serviceable but not spectacular point guard play led by Robinson and McDonald. However, Canada unquestionably elevates the Dream on both ends of the floor. The 5’6 guard will make a big difference in one area in particular for the Dream: pick-and-roll initiation.

In 2023, the Dream ran the fewest pick-and-roll (PnR) in the WNBA (16.2 possessions per game) and shot a league-worst 36.8% from the field out of PnR, per Synergy Sports. On the other hand, Canada generated more points out of PnR by herself (13.5) than Atlanta did as a team (13.2).

Atlanta already made life difficult on opposing guards with McDonald’s swarming point-of-attack defense, but Canada is somehow even better on that end of the floor. She led the WNBA in steals per game (2.3) in 2023 while also having the highest career steal rate (2.8%) among active players with at least 100 games played, according to HerHoopStats.

“No matter how short you are, how tall you are, it’s all about your passion and your heart and the energy and the effort that you give,” Canada told Winsidr’s Matt Cohen in March. “That will always be way more important than anything else is — just how hard you play [and] the effort that you give will outlast anything in this league.”

In 2023, Canada was selected to the All-Defensive First Team for the second time in her career after recording the most steals in a season by a player (86) since Angel McCoughtry in 2013.

What to make of Atlanta’s bench situation

The Dream’s roster is still not finalized with the last two roster spots up for grabs. Nevertheless, the front office didn’t directly address its bench concerns in free agency and will instead lean on internal growth and late-career rejuvenation from veterans.

Last season, Atlanta ranked No. 10 in the league in bench 3-point percentage (28.3) and No. 11 in bench 3-pointers made (1.2 per game). This becomes even more of a worry when you consider that Durr, the team’s leading bench 3-point shooter in 2023, is not returning to the team this season.

Atlanta will surely benefit from Charles’ 3-point spacing at the center position, but there are some question marks outside of that from a shooting standpoint.

Henderson, a second-round pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft, has a reputation as a shooter (38.4% from 3 as a senior at South Carolina) but has struggled from beyond the arc in her early WNBA career (12.5% from 3 in 15 games in 2023). Powers has also shot well at points in her career (career 33.2% 3-point shooter), albeit taking a lot more pull-up 2s than catch-and-shoot 3s.

Order ‘Rare Gems’ and save 30%

Howard Megdal, founder and editor of The Next and The IX, released his next book on May 7, 2024. This deeply reported story follows four connected generations of women’s basketball pioneers, from Elvera “Peps” Neuman to Cheryl Reeve and from Lindsay Whalen to Sylvia Fowles and Paige Bueckers.

If you enjoy his coverage of women’s basketball every Wednesday at The IX, you will love “Rare Gems: How Four Generations of Women Paved the Way for the WNBA.” Click the link below and enter MEGDAL30 at checkout.

Best-case scenario

There is a possibility that Atlanta earns homecourt advantage with a ceiling as the No. 4 seed. For that to happen, Howard must make an All-WNBA leap, Canada needs to build on her 2023 season, Coffey must stay fully healthy and there needs to be significant internal development on the bench.

However, if only some of this happens, Atlanta is still a playoff-caliber team with a bright future ahead. 

Worst-case scenario

Atlanta is unlikely to fall out of the playoffs in 2024. Still, there’s a world where it doesn’t improve on its 19-21 record from a season ago, due to the lack of bench 3-point shooting and overreliance on youth.


  1. AAV is the total salary divided by the years of a player’s contract. ↩︎

Written by Hunter Cruse

Hunter Cruse covers the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Draft for The Next.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.