June 6, 2023 

How does Aari McDonald’s injury impact Atlanta Dream?

Dream's McDonald to miss 3-to-4 weeks with torn labrum

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Atlanta Dream’s point guard room.

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On May 20, veteran floor general Danielle Robinson sustained a knee injury that required surgery and will keep her sidelined until the All-Star break. 

According to Dream PR, starting point guard Aari McDonald (torn labrum) is expected to miss 3-to-4 weeks after undergoing an MRI earlier this week.

McDonald fell on her shoulder diving for a loose ball in the final minute of the Dream’s 92-87 home loss to the Las Vegas Aces on Friday. She started in each of Atlanta’s first five games, averaging 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game.

Atlanta is now down to 10 available players after signing rookie guard Taylor Mikesell on Monday. But the Dream is seriously lacking depth in the ball-handling department. 

Kahleah Copper #2 of the Chicago Sky plays defense against Haley Jones #13 during the game against the Atlanta Dream on May 30, 2023, at Gateway Center Arena at College Park in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo credit: Adam Hagy, Getty Images)

Head coach Tanisha Wright will likely turn to rookie guard Haley Jones for extended minutes at the point guard position. The recent No. 6 pick is averaging 5.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 14.2 minutes per game over the last three games, including a 13-point performance against the Sky on May 30.

Through five games, Jones has only logged one minute alongside Atlanta’s four other starters, albeit the 6’1 guard has played 13 total minutes in lineups with Rhyne Howard and Allisha Gray.

Given Wright’s positionless philosophy, Howard and Gray will also split on-ball responsibilities in lineups with and without Jones, as has trended this season. The two players have combined to average 7.6 assists to 3.2 turnovers per game – a respectable mark for the wing-sized duo.

“The positive thing about our offense is there really isn’t no four, three, two, or one either; it’s just the nature of bringing the ball up,” Wright told The Next after the Dream’s road win against the Minnesota Lynx on May 23. “The only real position we have is our [center] position, but [even then] we really don’t have [centers] either; we just have people we make play the five.”

Here’s a look at Atlanta’s projected depth chart and minute distribution ahead of its upcoming contest against the New York Liberty on June 9:

PG: Haley Jones (21)

SG: Allisha Gray (34) / Taylor Mikesell (12)

SF: Rhyne Howard (33) / AD Durr (17)

PF: Nia Coffey (18) / Naz Hillmon (18) / Laeticia Amihere (4)

C: Cheyenne Parker (27) / Monique Billings (16)

(#) signifies projected minutes

Written by Hunter Cruse

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

1 Comment

  1. joseph pedro on June 8, 2023 at 11:08 pm

    Laeticia Amihere needsto receivce more playing time.

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