The Western Conference is in the Cellar
The bad news for both teams is that they sport losing records five of 34 games into the season. The worse news in Feverland is that if the playoffs started today, the 5th-seeded Fever would be OUT. Okay, now that's silly, of course, to discuss seeding so early in the season. But it's less silly than what's going on in the heavily touted Western Conference, where a 2-3 record ties you for 2nd! And then someone wants to tell me that the Phoenix Mercury lead the league in defense?! What is going on there in the Western Conference?
At this early stage, each conference has been part of 34 games, a season if you will. The Eastern Conference winning percentage is 56% (19-15) to the Western Conference's 44% (15-19). Today's game will either widen that margin or provide a step in restoring parity.
We've heard a lot about the Western Conference's superiority and it is only a four game disparity early in the season. Perhaps as the season progresses the West will pick up their games.
Who are the shockingly monochromatic San Antonio Silver Stars?
First, we'd like to congratulate the Silver Stars coaching team on their new addition:
KSAT_12 _Becky_Hammon_June 1st.mpg (via SilverStarsNation)
SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Silver Stars coach Sandy Brondello has given birth to a baby girl.
The coach of the WNBA team and her husband, associate head coach Olaf Lange, welcomed their second child Monday. Brondello is expected to miss two games before rejoining the team next week.
Lange and general manager Dan Hughes, who stepped down as head coach prior to the season, will fill in starting Thursday at Indiana. San Antonio finishes a road trip Sunday at Connecticut.
Brondello and Lange also have a 3-year-old boy.
Most of the early previews about the veteran Silver Stars are outdated, with the quixotic early season arrival of the ever enigmatic Chamique Holdsclaw from the Atlanta Dream. What amazes is how the Dream can shed that talent and still top the league for the moment.
The Silver Stars are more than happy to add Holdsclaw to their aging, happy and somewhat easy-going nucleus of Sophia Young, Michelle Snow and, of course, Becky Hammon.
Speaking of Becky Hammon, Ben York & SlamOnline and all of Texas love Becky Hammon... Let me count the ways:
- January 2010: Becky Hammon: A Portrait of Integrity - Hammon is a living testament to where dedication, hard work, faith, and seizing the moment can get you. More than her play on the court, Hammon has created a perfect example for young women to follow.
- May 2010: Fans Interview: Becky Hammon - ...I think many athletes want to be remembered for what they did on the court, which is fine, but I’d rather be remembered by my teammates, fans, people that I work with, as someone who treated everyone kindly. I’d like to be remembered as someone who united people, was a peacemaker, someone who treated people fairly, and as someone who helped other people. I love basketball, but I love and value people far more than anything I could possibly accomplish on the basketball court.
- June 2010: The Power of Belief - Becky Hammon = Steve Nash, only better.
There's a wide WNBA culture that roundly lauds great players like Becky Hammon for her achievements both on and off the court. It's practically a lovefest that says all women's professional athletes are in this together and that any achievement by one is an achievement for all.
Horsepucky. Let me be the first in the WNBA to hate Becky Hammon. I'll probably lose my media creds for saying this, but if we passed on the corridors, I'd hipcheck her into the stands!
Ok, just kidding. Besides I'm sure Michelle Snow's shadow would be enough to spook me. However, I am serious about not liking Becky Hammon this afternoon. That goes for all the desperados in the chain-gang black, gray and white uniforms.
What's up this week with the Fever?
"Don't Panic!" has been the early season refrain.
Indeed, the slow start has been expected even as we plunge into game 6 and 7 in week three of the season. Even so, we should keep in mind that many other teams are also still putting themselves together, and should be getting back to a high level of play later in the season as well. The Fever's circumstances are not altogether unique in the league.
The team still has a ways before coming together and I'm not sure anyone can say how long it will take to shed the hangover from that high level of play in the Turkish playoffs a few weeks ago. Add to that, the loss of Briann January for the next few games. Her role in stabilizing the team is really not well communicated by her early stats.
As such, the team will likely continue to use the extra minutes to invest in Jene Morris and to evaluate Shavonte Zellous. Jene Morris' last game out wasn't very strong, but consistency is a pretty high bar early in the season for a rookie. At this point, it is about giving her a lot of chances to get her bearings on the court and hoping that investment will pay off down the line.
As for starting lineups, there's no specific word on whether Coach Dunn will go start Shay Murphy in place of Ebony Hoffman again. Both Murphy and Hoffman appeared to play fine in the Tulsa game despite the Fever starting the smaller lineup with Murphy. Murphy's rebounding has been excellent from the perimeter and she's been aggressive in taking shots within a sputtering offense.