2018 Las Vegas Aces Training Camp Breakdown

A breakdown of each of the players invited to the Las Vegas Aces 2018 training camp, which began April 29.

(Current roster per the Aces official website).

It’s a new day in a new franchise, in a new location, with a new coach and GM. For everyone on the former San Antonio Stars roster not named A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Moriah Jefferson, Kayla McBride, Carolyn Swords, or Tamera Young, the roster situation is fluid. There are 22 players on the training camp roster and 12 spots on the permanent roster (including the aforementioned six players, who are most likely safe), so some folks have got to go.

The following guesstimations as to who will or won't make the permanent roster (barring exceptional camp performances) are solely my opinions based on statistics and recent training camp signings; your mileage may vary. I am not a league GM, nor do I play one on TV, so my tea leaves don't always align.

Definitely safe

A’ja Wilson, Kayla McBride, Carolyn Swords, Tamera Young.

Likely safe

Kelsey Plum, Moriah Jefferson, Jaime Nared.

Valeriane Ayayi

The 6-foot forward hasn’t played for the former San Antonio Stars since her rookie year in 2015, so I wonder if she’s going to come back from overseas this year (she currently plays for the French national team, and she won a silver medal with the 2017 Czech Republic national team). Her WNBA statistics were underwhelming, but her numbers have improved overseas (12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists with the French team). Still, I am not optimistic about her staying on the permanent roster for the Aces when there are other, more viable candidates available. She re-signed with the Aces, but that could be for trade bait purposes.

Prediction: Cut from training camp.

Kelsey Bone

The 6'4" center spent time with the New York Liberty and Connecticut Sun before arriving in Phoenix, where she last played in the 2016 WNBA Playoffs. The arrivals of both A'ja Wilson and Carolyn Swords push her way down on the priority list.

Prediction: Cut from training camp.

Cierra Burdick 

Burdick came to San Antonio in 2017 from the Liberty on two 7-day contracts, playing in four games before re-signing in the offseason. She is another likely candidate for trade bait since the most she could hope for in the regular season is a limited reserve role.

Prediction: Cut from training camp.

Nia Coffey

This will be Coffey’s second year in the league, after being drafted by the Stars in 2017. Training camp will be a time to prove that she deserves to stay on the roster.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Sydney Colson

Colson came to the Stars in 2015 from the Liberty. She has provided value off the bench and will probably stay there in her usual limited minutes. If she wants more playing time, she may be better off elsewhere, despite re-signing with the Aces.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Jacki Gemelos

Gemelos, a 6-foot guard, last played in the WNBA for the Chicago Sky in 2015. Since then, she’s been mostly overseas, most recently playing for Napoli (Italy) and Perfumeria Avenidas (Spain). She has managed to sustain a professional career despite five ACL tears.

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Dearica Hamby

The rebound specialist saw her minutes increase during the 2017 playoffs, where she matched her season-high 17 points during the Stars’ final game against the Sky. Her numbers may improve if she has more consistent playing time, which might be a challenge with both Wilson and Swords on the team.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Isabelle Harrison

Harrison, a 6’3” center, came to San Antonio last season after two seasons in Phoenix and was a streaky scorer, at best. When she was hot, she was a 4-alarm fire; other times, more like a fading ember. How she performs in training camp will likely determine if she gets more opportunities to increase her consistency throughout the season. 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Sequoia Holmes

Holmes returned to the “W” last season after playing overseas for seven years. She is a bench role player but may face more competition in training camp for a spot. However, she is more experienced as a professional player than most of the Aces roster, so she does have that edge in possibly securing a permanent roster spot.

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Moriah Jefferson 

The former UConn guard saw her overall WNBA production take a dip last season, but that may be due to her first year playing overseas in the WNBA offseason and sustaining a knee injury that required surgery last September. Now that she’s hopefully adjusted and recovered, expect her to take on an increased role this season.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Kahlia Lawrence

Lawrence is a prolific scorer who could provide additional scoring and defensive help behind Kelsey Plum and Jaime Nared. But there are others in camp who could do the same. As a mid-second-round pick, her status is iffy. 

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Raigyne Louis

Louis can score and defend, and could provide backcourt help along with Jaime Nared. But she was also taken with the last pick in the third round, and such players rarely make permanent team rosters. Unless she puts up an exceptional training camp performance, I don’t see her suiting up in Sin City come May 18. 

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Kayla McBride

McBride re-signed with the Aces during the offseason, after coming off the 2017 season as one of the primary scoring options for the team. The arrivals of A’ja Wilson and Jaime Nared will provide some more help on the offensive end.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Jaime Nared

Free-throw specialist Nared is a strong rebounder and defender who has no problem making the extra play, whether it’s diving for loose balls or setting her teammates up for success. She will give the Aces a boost on perimeter defense and at the charity stripe, and she will work well with Kelsey Plum and A’Ja Wilson as another scoring option and a backup post player.

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Ji-Su Park

Park is a big with a nice mid-range jumper who is physical in the post. But she may find things a bit more difficult in the WNBA, where she will face players who aren’t afraid of her size and skill.

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Kelsey Plum

The University of Washington standout and 2017 #1 overall pick has had a roller coaster ride with the Stars under former coach Vickie Johnson, who underutilized her. Now that Bill Laimbeer is in charge, and her game is improved (she played for the Turkish club Fenerbahce in the offseason), expect to see Plum make some real noise this season. 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Ivey Slaughter

Slaughter was an undrafted rookie last season. The New York Liberty invited her to training camp last year, but she didn’t make the cut. She has been overseas playing for Hungary and will try to make her training camp contract with the Aces stick. 

Prediction: Survives the preseason, won't make the final roster.

Carolyn Swords

Swords’ 6-year veteran presence is a welcome addition to such a young team. The 6’6” center came to the Aces from Seattle via an offseason trade. Expect her to mentor A’ja Wilson and provide quality production in the low post. 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Morgan William

The generously listed 5’6” point guard is facing an uphill battle: she's the smallest player trying to make the roster. Her career at Mississippi State proves that she can shine if given a chance, which is why she got a training camp invitation in the first place. How that will translate to the professional level remains to be seen. If she can show that she can hang with the pros in training camp, the undrafted rookie could provide a complementary backup role to Kayla McBride and Moriah Jefferson. This can go either way, but I'm going to go with my gut (which could end up being wishful thinking). 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

A'ja Wilson

Wilson is not only a skilled shot blocker and rebounder, she is also adept at driving to the basket and reading open teammates to get them the ball. She is expected to make an impact right away alongside Kelsey Plum and veterans Tamera Young and Carolyn Swords, both recent off-season trade acquisitions. 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

Tamera Young

Young was an offseason acquisition from the Atlanta Dream. Prior to that, spent most of her career with the Chicago Sky. She enters her tenth season in the league and will provide another steady and necessary veteran presence, along with defensive help. 

Prediction: Makes the final roster.

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