14 Total Updates since September 26, 2012
4 months ago Update 0 comments
In a blog post from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla yesterday, he offers some details regarding Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault regarding what he has been up to now that the "honeymoon" period of his hiring has ended. Here are the big points:
1. Coach Thibault stated that his assistants from Connecticut, Scott Hawk and Bernadette Maddox, will not return, so there will be a new staff behind him.
2. Like other WNBA coaches and scouts at this time of year, he is hard at work scouting, where he was at Maryland's home game against Florida State last weekend, and also at Georgetown's game last Wednesday against the University of Connecticut. The play of Huskies guard Kelly Faris has caught his eye, in part given that she has become a more efficient shooter all around (here are her stats for this year as opposed to past years). Still, it's unlikely that she is a serious candidate at the Mystics' current 2013 draft position at 4th, unlike Maryland power forward Tianna Hawkins who is currently averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game and has improved a lot from last season.
3. This is not surprising to me, and I admit that I have advocated this from last September:
Thibault said the Mystics are exploring opportunities to move up in the draft, perhaps as high as No. 2 where they could take Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne. Chicago currently holds the pick.
In Altavilla's piece, he also basically confirmed that the Mystics are a front court heavy team, mentioning that as of right now, they have Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Michelle Snow to build around. From Coach Thibault's Q&A with season ticket holders last month, he mentioned that guards, in particular point guards were a priority considering the lack of talent depth there, so there's a good chance that if the Mystics pick higher than 4th, they could be eyeing Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins not unlike how the Washington Redskins NFL team determined that they needed a star rookie quarterback at a very high position this past year. But at the same time, he may be able to pick up a decent non-rookie guard via free agency or by trade so perhaps not.
4. Last but not least, this was an interesting tidbit in regards to the Portland Trail Blazers offering Coach Thibault an assistant coach spot to return to the NBA. The offer with the Blazers happened during the 2012 WNBA season and if Coach Thibault accepted it, he would have had to resign midseason for the job. So therefore, it seems that Monumental Sports did not have to compete against the Blazers simultaneously for his services.
Do these tidbits perhaps signal what direction he's going in specifically? Not really to me since we don't know whether he'd keep the core of the team intact or not. But Coach Thibault is doing his due diligence, and not leaving any stone unturned is a good strategy to keep everyone guessing as to how he will improve the team during free agency and as we head toward the 2013 Draft.
6 months ago Article 12 comments
For the first time in WNBA history, the league's draft will be broadcast during primetime on April 15, 2013 on ESPN2 and ESPNU as well as online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
7 months ago Video 3 comments
During yesterday's visit to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, the projected top three prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft discussed what they plan to work on in their senior years and the qualities they believe they all share.
7 months ago Article 9 comments
During a visit to ESPN's campus, Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne revealed where she would like to land in the WNBA.
For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, check out the storystream menu bar on the right side of this page.
For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, check out the storystream menu bar on the right side of this page.
8 months ago Article 21 comments
The Tulsa Shock have certainly had a rocky transition since its relocation from Detroit in 2010 but now things are starting to look brighter. On this blog in particular, we have praised Shock owner and president Steve Swetoha and head coach Gary Kloppenburg for building the core of the team through the draft and with younger players, all of whom played an athletic style of team defense for the 2012 campaign. This system paid dividends for the season helping the team triple its win total over the 2011 season and finishing with a three game winning streak toward the end of the aforementioned 2012 campaign.
8 months ago Article 25 comments
Last Wednesday, the Chicago Sky received the rights to the #2 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, where it would likely get its first choice between picking Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins and Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne to team up with current star center Sylvia Fowles and guard Epiphanny Prince.
8 months ago Article 30 comments
Last Wednesday, the Washington Mystics received the 4th pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft Lottery, which was an additional disappointment after the team went through its worst two year stretch in franchise history on the basketball court.
8 months ago Article 49 commentsContinue
8 months ago Update 7 comments
With the WNBA draft lottery complete, the full 2013 first round draft order is as follows:
Team (record, lottery odds out of 1000)
1. Phoenix Mercury (7-27, 276)
2. Chicago Sky (14-20, 104)
3. Tulsa Shock (9-25, 178)
4. Washington Mystics (5-29, 442)
5. New York Liberty (15-19)
6. Seattle Storm (16-18)
7. Atlanta Dream (19-15)
8. San Antonio Silver Stars (21-13)
9. Indiana Fever (22-12)
10. Los Angeles Sparks (24-10)
11. Connecticut Sun (25-9)
12. Minnesota Lynx (27-7)
Click here for the remaining order of the 2013 WNBA Draft.
While the Phoenix Mercury were clearly the big winners in this draft, obviously this is a big win for the Chicago Sky who ended up with the second pick despite being the fourth worst team.
"Having one of the top picks in the upcoming WNBA Draft gives us an opportunity to immediately improve our team," said Pokey Chatman, head coach and general manager of the Sky, in a release. "We have a lot to assess after finishing the season, and we will use every resource we have to make the best possible decision for our franchise when the time comes."
What the Sky lacked this past year was depth beyond Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince and, if nothing else, having the #2 pick gives them a number of ways to address that.
8 months ago Update 11 comments
The WNBA Draft lottery was televised today during ESPN's Sportscenter and the Phoenix Mercury came out on top.
With the expected return of Penny Taylor in 2013 and 2012 draft choice Samantha Prahalis showing promise at point guard, the Mercury look poised to emerge as a contender next season.
"We have a solid base already with Diana (Taurasi), (Candice) Dupree and DeWanna (Bonner) had a superstar year," said Phoenix Mercury coach Corey Gaines prior to the selection show. "Penny Taylor, who had an ACL problem and now she's coming back next year... Our core is solid, so to add another piece to that is just even better."
Of course, the way the Mercury fell to last in the Western Conference has been the subject of controversy throughout the 2012 WNBA season, as described by Mechelle Voepel of ESPNW yesterday.
Causing the most consternation among those suspicious of a conspiracy in the desert was the handling of past No. 1 draft pick and MVP Diana Taurasi. She played in just eight games this season, the first time in her nine-year WNBA career that she didn't compete in at least 31.
However, Taurasi started all eight games during the Olympics for the United States, averaging 24.1 minutes and a team-high 12.4 points. That she played in just six of the Mercury's 15 contests after the London Games raised some eyebrows.
On the flip side of fortune is the Washington Mystics who ended up with the fourth pick after finishing with the worst record in the league in 2011 and winning just 11 games over the last two seasons.
"You know, obviously no one likes to be a part of the draft lottery," said Mystics COO Greg Bibb prior to the selection. "Obviously, if you're taking part in a draft lottery, things probably haven't gone well for you in recent times. With that being said, if you're going to be a part of a draft lottery, this is the one to be a part of with the draft class that's coming."
Falling to fourth means the Mystics will likely miss out on the three prospects that makes this the lottery "to be a part of": Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins, and Baylor's 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner. The Mystics could have used the help that any one of them offer, but will now likely have to figure out who that fourth-best prospect is assuming things go the way everyone has assumed.
Regardless of the outcome, everyone acknowledges that having the lottery televised nationwide on ESPN is a positive for the league as a whole.
"I think it's fabulous," said Bibb before the selection occurred. "I think it's representative of the quality and the depth of the class that will be entering the league in 2013, and I think it's representative of how far and how quickly the WNBA, women's basketball and women's sports have come along and become a legitimate part of the sports landscape. Credit to ESPN for recognizing this and reacting to it."
8 months ago Update 2 comments
It wasn't the season we the @tulsashock wanted but there was a lot of progress made this year. The record didn't show how well the gms went— Temeka Johnson (@Quickdeuce) September 26, 2012
The Tulsa Shock played their way out of top lottery position by finishing the 2012 WNBA season on a bit of a hot streak and that was arguably not a terrible thing: they needed to show signs of life and that's a positive even though it might seem better in the long run to be in better position for a top pick.
"Nobody ever wants to be part of a lottery selection, but we're here and we're going to see how the chips may fall," said Tulsa Shock coach Steve Swetoha in a WNBA release. "Our team has vastly improved, from winning three games in 2011 to tripling our wins in 2012, and we look so much forward to 2013. Getting another piece of the puzzle, indirectly today, is going to be for us another piece of the puzzle to fight for a playoff spot in 2013. That's what we're really looking forward to and excited about."
With center Liz Cambage expected to return in 2013, a promising 2012 rookie forward Glory Johnson, and whoever they end up with in the 2013 draft, the Shock should be on their way up.
8 months ago Article 58 comments
Four teams have a shot at the #1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft and the right to select Brittney Griner. Who do you want to get that pick?
8 months ago Update 0 comments
S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated has a piece in this week's magazine about how Robert Griffin III is rejuvenating the D.C. sports scene, in which football is unquestionably king.
But with the Capitals undergoing a rebuild to become a perennial playoff team, the Nationals doing well, and now the Redskins giving fans like Gwen Brock "the most hope I've felt in ten years", the Washington Mystics are the one team that is still looking to find its way. But with the opportunity to find a new coach and general manager as well as a hope for a top draft pick, there's plenty of reason for hope to turn things around.
However, while there might be a temptation to see this new draft prospect as a RG III-type savior, thewiz06 suggests they need a plan more.
Regardless of who the Mystics pick, she will be a foundational piece and good chance that she'd be the franchise player as early as day one, not unlike John Wall was with the Wizards in 2010. However, to assume that this player would have to win games immediately with little talent around her compared with other teams in the leagues is foolish.
This ties with earlier points, but while a lot will be expected from her, she still will need complementary players who can amplify her strengths and cover her weaknesses, and this will help improve the team's record in the long run.
The Mystics had more flaws last season than one player can hope to fix. So as big a day as this is for the Mystics, the bigger question for this offseason will remain how they plan to build a winning unit for the long-term, regardless of whether they get the first pick.
8 months ago Update 0 comments
Kara Lawson, Connecticut Sun veteran guard, is preparing for the WNBA playoffs. But as she does, there is no doubt that she'll have her nose to the ground to see who will pick up the top pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. Not due to the fact that she'll have to face off with this incoming crop of newcomers on the court, but also because she'll be analyzing their games throughout the season for ESPN.
With prospects that have the women's basketball world buzzing already about the depth and breadth of talent, it's no surprise that Lawson is touting this draft class as one of the best. But one particular woman that Lawson - and most everyone - has their eye on is none other than Baylor senior center Brittney Griner.
"This class is very, very good. Obviously, Brittney Griner is going to make things very difficult for all players - how much she's going to change things defensively with her length, and just with her athleticism," Lawson said in a WNBA playoff teleconference on Sept. 24. "This class has the ability to be right up there with some of the best classes to come in."
The four teams that will be looking for the ping pong balls to find favor on the franchise are the Washington Mystics, Phoenix Sun, Tulsa Shock and Chicago Sky. Along with Griner, there are two already touted prospects receiving the majority of the hype in Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne.
"But Griner to me, specifically stands out," Lawson continued. "You can just put her anywhere and she's going to have a huge impact and a huge ability to transform a team. If she goes to a city that maybe hasn't been getting as great support, I think she maybe has the opportunity to transform that community in terms of women's basketball and getting people out to watch games."
Lawson, who's in her 10th season of the WNBA, began her "offseason" career at the network in 2004 with a particular focus on NCAA basketball. She'll be sure to have an opportunity to comment on Griner's game on-air, as the Baylor Lady Bears are slated to appear on ESPN for five games in the upcoming season.
But before her analyzing can begin, her squad will face off with the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning Friday. She is in the midst of her most productive season as a pro, contributing 15.1 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game for the Sun, all career-high averages.