Opening Night Youth

The opening weekend of the 2018 WNBA season is here, and initial rosters have been set for all 12 teams. While there are a few teams who will still make adjustments, the teams are for the most part established. With some franchises amidst a rebuild, several other have well-established rosters full of players with around a decade of experience, which I break down below.

Keep in mind that this data is based on current rosters, which will undoubtedly change. For example, the Chicago Sky have temporarily suspended Courtney Vandersloot and Astou Ndour. Vandersloot brings seven years of experience to the team. To bring either player back will require waiving another. Status of suspended players along with signed and waived players is available on the WNBA’s Transactions page.

Overall, current rosters reflect about 4.4 years of experience in the league overall. On the low end of the spectrum are the 23 rookies currently assigned to rosters. Only the Minnesota Lynx have no rookies on their current roster.

At this point, there are essentially three tiers of experience levels: less than three years, three to six years, and greater than six years.

Minnesota sits at the top of the list with 7.6 years of experience on average, followed by the Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury, each currently at 6.4 years of experience on average.

The middle of the pack is led by the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm, each with an average of 5.3 years of experience, and the Washington Mystics are close behind with 4.6. The Atlanta Dream return Angel McCoughtry to their lineup this year, helping to bring their average experience to 3.9 years. None of these middle or top-tier teams features more than two rookies.

The last four teams each feature the youngest lineups and include 13 rookies in total. Of them, the Connecticut Sun are the most experienced (2.9 years), followed closely by the Indiana Fever (2.8 years), who are skewed heavily by Candice Dupree’s 12 years in the league. The Sky currently have an average experience of 2.7 years, though that will change when Vandersloot returns to the lineup, which will bring them up to at least 3.4 years of experience.

Currently the Dallas Wings and Las Vegas Aces feature the youngest lineups, with 2.6 years of experience, though the Aces roster is likely to experience the most change over the next couple of weeks. They are currently missing last year’s top draft pick, Kelsey Plum, as well as fifth-year guard Kayla McBride and Isabelle Harrison, who will enter her third year.

TeamAverage Experience (yrs)# of Rookies
Atlanta Dream3.91
Chicago Sky2.74
Connecticut Sun2.91
Dallas Wings2.61
Indiana Fever2.84
Las Vegas Aces2.64
Los Angeles Sparks6.41
Minnesota Lynx7.60
New York Liberty5.31
Phoenix Mercury6.42
Seattle Storm5.32
Washington Mystics4.62

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