The Commissioner's Cup, which was shelved during the shortened 2020 season, will make its debut in 2021. The event will run concurrently with the regular season and crown a champion separate from the outcome of the WNBA Finals.
As the Summer Olympics in Tokyo take place midseason, the league will be on hold from July 15 to Aug. 11 before resuming games. The regular season will conclude a little over a month later Sept. 19.
The Seattle Storm enter as the defending champions and are the odds-on favorites (+170) on FanDuel to win another title in 2021.
However, the Storm's repeat bid took a hit in the offseason as Natasha Howard, Sami Whitcomb and Alysha Clark departed in free agency—Howard and Whitcomb via sign-and-trade deals. Clark subsequently suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury while playing overseas.
Howard and Clark were vital in helping Seattle finish with the WNBA's best defensive rating (93.3), per WNBA.com, so maintaining that level will be almost impossible.
The Storm's first big test will come May 15 against the Las Vegas Aces.
With Seattle likely to take a step backward, the Aces figure to be the team at the top of the league. Las Vegas lost Kayla McBride but added Chelsea Gray. As well, Kelsey Plum and Liz Cambage reenter the fold after missing the 2020 season.
The franchise already boasted 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson, who averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Las Vegas' first clash with the Washington Mystics on June 5 could be an early sign of who will be in pole position in the WNBA title race.
The Mystics appeared to have the perfect solution for replacing Aerial Powers when they signed Clark. The timing of Clark's injury made it impossible to pivot to another similar alternative.
Still, Washington was without Natasha Cloud, Elena Delle Donne and Tina Charles and still qualified for the playoffs in 2020. While Emma Meesseman's status remains unclear, the Mystics have the pieces to make a Finals run.
Must be 21+ and present in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, Colorado, or Tennessee. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. See sportsbook.fanduel.com for details.