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WNBA Prestige Rankings | 1997-2019 | Criteria + Defunct Teams

WNBA Overall History – Prestige Rankings & Comparisons

For the last week and a half we released our WNBA all-time prestige rankings. Now with it all published, let’s take a step back to view the bigger picture..

For the last week and a half, NBN has released our all-time rankings for the WNBA based on a weighted point system we devised. Now with it all published, let’s take a step back to view the bigger picture, including how now-defunct and moved teams measure up against their active counterparts, to celebrate the start of the 2019 season, the 23rd in the league’s history.

Overall Prestige Rankings (active only)

  1. Minnesota Lynx (107.3)
  2. Los Angeles Sparks (104.5)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (91.2)
  4. Seattle Storm (73.2)
  5. Atlanta Dream (73.0)
  6. Indiana Fever (71.3)
  7. New York Liberty (59.1)
  8. Connecticut Sun (54.7)
  9. Washington Mystics (24.7)
  10. Chicago Sky (23.3)
  11. Dallas Wings (6.0)
  12. Las Vegas Aces (-4.0)

Overall Prestige Rankings (all teams)

  1. Houston Comets (128.0)
  2. Detroit Shock (111.1)
  3. *Minnesota Lynx (107.3)
  4. *Los Angeles Sparks (104.5)
  5. *Phoenix Mercury (91.2)
  6. Sacramento Monarchs (76.6)
  7. *Seattle Storm (73.2)
  8. *Atlanta Dream (73.0)
  9. *Indiana Fever (71.3)
  10. *New York Liberty (59.1)
  11. *Connecticut Sun (54.7)
  12. Charlotte Sting (33.4)
  13. Cleveland Rockers (28.7)
  14. *Washington Mystics (24.7)
  15. *Chicago Sky (23.3)
  16. San Antonio (Silver) Stars (21.9)
  17. Utah Starzz (15.7)
  18. Miami Sol (9.0)
  19. Orlando Miracle (8.0)
  20. *Dallas Wings (6.0)
  21. Portland Fire (-2.7)
  22. Tulsa Shock (-2.8)
  23. *Las Vegas Aces (-4.0)

* = active teams

More than half of the teams to have ever played in the WNBA no longer exist, and most barely factor into our rankings. But three of them – the Houston Comets, Detroit Shock and Sacramento Monarchs – have won at least one championship each and are still some of the most storied teams in the history of the league despite not bouncing a ball for years.

In creating these rankings, we chose to weight the scores based upon how many seasons a team actively played in the WNBA. After tallying up all the raw points a franchise earned over the course of its campaigns, we divided that number by the amount of seasons it completed to come up with the adjusted result. For example, if a team amassed 1,000 points in 20 seasons, its score would be 50, as 1,000 divided by 20 is 50.

We did this to balance the playing field and reward teams that have done more with fewer opportunities. However, there is prestige in longevity, and comparing the teams on raw points only holds merit, too. Here are the unweighted rankings:

Unweighted Prestige Rankings (active only)

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (2,300 points)
  2. Minnesota Lynx (2,145 points)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (2,006 points)
  4. Seattle Storm (1,377 points)
  5. Indiana Fever (1,354 points)
  6. New York Liberty (1,300 points)
  7. Connecticut Sun (875 points)
  8. Atlanta Dream (803 points)
  9. Washington Mystics (519 points)
  10. Chicago Sky (303 points)
  11. Dallas Wings (18 points)
  12. Las Vegas Aces (-4 points)

Unweighted Prestige Rankings (all teams)

  1. *Los Angeles Sparks (2,300 points)
  2. *Minnesota Lynx (2,145 points)
  3. *Phoenix Mercury (2,006 points)
  4. Houston Comets (1,536 points)
  5. Detroit Shock (1,436 points)
  6. *Seattle Storm (1,377 points)
  7. *Indiana Fever (1,354 points)
  8. *New York Liberty (1,300 points)
  9. Sacramento Monarchs (996 points)
  10. *Connecticut Sun (875 points)
  11. *Atlanta Dream (803 points)
  12. *Washington Mystics (519 points)
  13. Charlotte Sting (334 points)
  14. San Antonio (Silver) Stars (329 points)
  15. *Chicago Sky (303 points)
  16. Cleveland Rockers (201 points)
  17. Utah Starzz (94 points)
  18. Orlando Miracle (32 points)
  19. Miami Sol (27 points)
  20. *Dallas Wings (18 points)
  21. *Las Vegas Aces (-4 points)
  22. Portland Fire (-8 points)
  23. Tulsa Shock (-17 points)

* = active teams

The most valuable accomplishment in our system is championships, naturally, with WNBA Finals appearances next. For the sake of ease, here are those numbers:

WNBA Championships (active only)

  • Minnesota Lynx – 4 (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • T-2. Los Angeles Sparks – 3 (2001, 2002, 2016)
  • T-2. Phoenix Mercury – 3 (2007, 2009, 2014)
  • T-2. Seattle Storm – 3 (2004, 2010, 2018)
  • 5. Indiana Fever – 1 (2012)

WNBA Championships (all teams)

  • T-1. *Minnesota Lynx – 4 (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • T-1. Houston Comets – 4 (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
  • T-3. *Los Angeles Sparks – 3 (2001, 2002, 2016)
  • T-3. Detroit Shock – 3 (2003, 2006, 2008)
  • T-3. *Phoenix Mercury – 3 (2007, 2009, 2014)
  • T-3. *Seattle Storm – 3 (2004, 2010, 2018)
  • T-7. *Indiana Fever – 1 (2012)
  • T-7. Sacramento Monarchs – 1 (2005)

* = active teams

WNBA Finals Appearances (active only)

  1. Minnesota Lynx – 6 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  2. Los Angeles Sparks – 5 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2016, 2017)
  3. T-3. Phoenix Mercury – 4 (1998, 2007, 2009, 2014)
  4. T-3. New York Liberty – 4 (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002)
  5. T-5. Seattle Storm – 3 (2004, 2010, 2018)
  6. T-5. Indiana Fever – 3 (2009, 2012, 2015)
  7. T-5. Atlanta Dream – 3 (2010, 2011, 2013)
  8. 8. Connecticut Sun – 2 (2004, 2005)
  9. T-9. Chicago Sky – 1 (2014)
  10. T-9. Washington Mystics – 1 (2018)

WNBA Finals Appearances (all teams)

  1. *Minnesota Lynx – 6 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  2. *Los Angeles Sparks – 5 (2001, 2002, 2003, 2016, 2017)
  3. T-3. Houston Comets – 4 (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
  4. T-3. Detroit Shock – 4 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  5. T-3. *Phoenix Mercury – 4 (1998, 2007, 2009, 2014)
  6. T-3. *New York Liberty – 4 (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002)
  7. T-7. *Seattle Storm – 3 (2004, 2010, 2018)
  8. T-7. *Indiana Fever – 3 (2009, 2012, 2015)
  9. T-7. *Atlanta Dream – 3 (2010, 2011, 2013)
  10. T-10. Sacramento Monarchs – 2 (2005, 2006)
  11. T-10. *Connecticut Sun – 2 (2004, 2005)
  12. T-12. Charlotte Sting – 1 (2001)
  13. T-12. *Chicago Sky – 1 (2014)
  14. T-12. San Antonio (Silver) Stars – 1 (2008)
  15. T-12. *Washington Mystics – 1 (2018)

* = active teams

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