The Las Vegas Aces' 2020 season was a bit of a mixed bag. While the team did manage to overcome the loss of Kelsey Plum and Liz Cambage in preseason and go on to make it to the finals, they were swept in three games by The Seattle Storm in what had to be a humiliating defeat. It also had to leave a sour taste in their mouths after coming so far in a season when they were considered a dark horse.
Let’s examine this run for a minute though and figure out what made it so great in the first place. To do that, we should look no further than the start of the season, where the aces would lose two of their first three games. Keep in mind that one of these losses was after being up by ten in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter and you can see just how bad people thought the team was.
And then, it happened! Just after losing 2 of the first three games of the season, the aces would go on to rack up seven straight victories. This left The Aces 8-2 in their first ten games of the season and including victories against the Los Angelos sparks, the Washington Mystics and the Dallas wings.
As if that wasn’t insane enough, the Aces would then go on to win 9 out of their next ten games, leaving them with a record of 17-3. Now, a lot of this had to do with legendary performances by A’ja Wilson, Angel McCoughtry, Dearica Hamby and the bench, but this was still surprising to watch.
In fact, with Plum and Cambage both on the bench for the season, many worried that the Aces wouldn’t manage to be competitive. Some even predicted that they wouldn’t even make the playoffs without their top stars. With that being said however, Vegas proved everyone wrong and marched all the way to their first finals appearance in organization history.
Unfortunately for the Aces, that would be as far as they would get and they would eventually be swept by the Seattle storm. Although the ending to the season was rather disappointing, they showed what exactly it is capable of without their top stars. Whether someone wants to admit it or not, that’s a plus and could be a blueprint for future seasons.
And believe it or not, that future might be without Cambage and Plum, who both must step up next season in order to keep their spots. Think about it! Now that the Aces know what they are capable of, the organization will start to look at what is and what isn’t working. That means Cambage and Plum could end up getting traded for players that fit their aggressiveness this season.
Then again, maybe the Aces could split the time between the successful pieces that brought them to the finals in 2020 and their two top stars. At least that way, the Aces have the best on court product possible and can tweak their lineup when things aren’t going to plan. If nothing else, that would be a huge weapon for the Aces in 2021 and might finally net them that elusive championship.
In the end, Cambage should be an upgrade over Carolyn Swords, who managed 2.9 points and 4 rebounds per game. In fact, Cambage’s 2019 total of 25 points per game could have given the Aces an edge in the playoffs. Hopefully the team will get that chance in 2021, but it could be the end of Cambage’s time in Vegas if they can’t get a better result.