Examining the Aces’ Rocky Start: A’ja Wilson Role, Chelsea Gray’s Injury, and Three-Peat Hopes

Examining the Aces' Rocky Start: A'ja Wilson's Role, Chelsea Gray's Injury, and Three-Peat Hopes
Image Credit: A'ja Wilson's Role, Chelsea Gray's Injury,

The Las Vegas Aces are experiencing an uncharacteristic, A’ja Wilson rocky start to their 2024 WNBA season, standing seventh in the league with a 5-5 record after losing five of their first ten games. This is a stark contrast to their dominant 2023 campaign, where they lost only six games in the regular season and secured their second consecutive WNBA championship.

In the previous season, the Aces led the league in scoring with 92.8 points per game and held opponents to an average of 80.3 points. Despite their success, A’ja Wilson emphasized that they had not achieved enough to be considered a “superteam,” focusing more on titles than individual games. However, the reigning champions now find themselves struggling, and various factors are contributing to their current predicament.

Defensive Struggles and Team Dynamics

The Aces’ defense, which was a cornerstone of their previous success, has faltered. Despite still keeping opponents under 90 points, their defensive rating has slipped to 102.1, placing them seventh in the league. Head coach Becky Hammon has expressed concern over the team’s defensive efforts and overall vibe since the season began. “Our defense has sucked from Day 1,” Hammon stated, emphasizing the need for consistent hard work and discipline.

Chelsea Gray’s Absence

A significant factor in the Aces’ struggles is the absence of point guard Chelsea Gray, who suffered a foot injury in the 2023 WNBA Finals. Gray, a three-time champion, was crucial in facilitating the Aces’ offense, averaging a career-high 15.3 points and 7.3 assists last season. Without her, the team’s assist ratio has dropped slightly, and her leadership and playmaking skills are sorely missed. Kelsey Plum highlighted Gray’s importance, noting how her absence has changed the dynamics and defensive schemes opponents use against the Aces.

A’ja Wilson’s Herculean Effort

Despite the team’s challenges, A’ja Wilson is delivering an MVP-caliber performance, averaging 28.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. Wilson accounts for a significant portion of the Aces’ offense and rebounds, but her efforts alone have not been enough to carry the team to victory consistently. Head coach Hammon acknowledged the need to provide more support to Wilson, emphasizing the importance of building trust and making her life easier on the court.

Frontcourt Concerns

The Aces’ frontcourt, aside from Wilson, has struggled to contribute offensively. Starting center Kiah Stokes, known for her rebounding skills, averages only 2.1 points per game, which is insufficient in the modern WNBA where centers are expected to score from various positions on the court. Megan Gustafson offers more range but falls short in rebounding compared to Stokes. This lack of offensive production from the frontcourt puts additional pressure on Wilson and the team’s overall performance.

Looking Forward

Despite the early struggles, Wilson and the Aces remain optimistic about turning their season around. Wilson emphasized the importance of focusing on the team’s internal dynamics and not panicking over their current record. With 30 games remaining and Chelsea Gray expected to return before the All-Star break, there is still ample time for the Aces to find their rhythm and improve their standings.

Hammon is confident in the team’s ability to overcome their challenges, stating, “We can either wallow in self-pity or we can pick ourselves up and take the next step forward.” The Aces are determined to push through their early-season struggles and remain focused on their ultimate goal of securing a third consecutive championship.


The Las Vegas Aces’ rocky start to the 2024 season highlights the challenges of maintaining championship form in the WNBA. Defensive lapses, the absence of key players like Chelsea Gray, and the need for greater offensive support for A’ja Wilson are significant hurdles. However, with the season still in its early stages and Gray’s return on the horizon, the Aces have the potential to bounce back and contend for a historic three-peat. The team’s resilience and ability to adapt will be crucial in navigating the remainder of the season and achieving their championship aspirations.


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