The 2019 WNBA season is up for grabs, and the Las Vegas Aces announced their status as contenders late last week when they traded for two-time All-Star Liz Cambage. Interestingly enough, trading for last season’s MVP runner-up hasn’t moved the Aces’ title odds, even as oddsmakers have had the weekend to digest it.
The Aces are still +500 (5/1) to win the 2019 WNBA Finals, good for third in the league, and those odds look like excellent value for a host of reasons.
Cambage Gives Aces Their Star Power
No one was taking the MVP crown from Seattle’s Breanna Stewart last season, but Cambage did her best to make the discussion interesting down the stretch.
The 6-foot-8 center averaged 23.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 32 games for the Dallas Wings, cementing her status as one of the game’s elite players. She shot 59% from the field and averaged 7.2 free throws per game, second most in the league.
Cambage’s historical 2018 season also included a WNBA-record 53 points in a July victory over the New York Liberty.
Liz Cambage put up a historic stat-line today, with 53 POINTS (including 4 threes), 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks to become the record leader in most points in a single #WNBA game!— WNBA (@WNBA) July 17, 2018
Watch @ecambage make history 🔥 #WatchMeWorkpic.twitter.com/9O9gPVhcUv
The Australian center is an elite inside presence who could be the frontrunner for MVP this season given Stewart’s Achilles injury.
Cambage had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in Dallas’ first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury. She went 8 of 16 from the field and blocked three shots in 35 minutes, matching Brittney Griner (17 points, 5 rebounds) shot-for-shot. She’ll be a massive boon in the postseason for Las Vegas.
Laimbeer Perfect For The Rebuild
The Las Vegas Aces have been building something for a while now. In their first season after moving from San Antonio – where they had played since 2003 – the Aces went 14-20, their best mark since 2014. It was no surprise that head coach Bill Laimbeer’s presence in Las Vegas coincided with the turnaround.
Laimbeer won titles with the Detroit Shock in 2003, 2006 and 2008 and also revived a New York Liberty team – taking them from 11 wins in 2013 to 22 wins and an Eastern Conference title in 2017 – before arriving in Sin City last season.
The two-time WNBA Coach of the Year looks like he’s on the right track toward turning a third franchise around/
Aces Have The Pieces In Place
Cambage is the face of the Las Vegas rebuild, but the Aces have multiple pieces in place to help them as contenders.
Reigning Rookie of the Year A’ja Wilson – the only player to attempt more free throws than Cambage last year – averaged 20.7 points and 8.0 rebounds last season and gives the Aces perhaps the best frontcourt in basketball.
The backcourt isn’t half bad, either. Kayla McBride averaged 18.2 points per game last season and is joined by Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, the first overall picks in 2017 and 2019. The pieces still need to all fit together, but the talent in Las Vegas is undeniable.
If the bench can provide enough scoring to complement this starting five, the Aces should have no problem rising to the top of the league. With Cambage on board, they’re just as good as the two favorites (Washington and Los Angeles) heading into the 2019 season.
They’re excellent value at +500 (5/1) and those odds will likely shrink if Cambage and the Aces start the season off hot.