Even considering last year's midseason trials and tribulations, Angel McCoughtry figures to be a major part for the Dream's 2013 campaign. - Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE
The 2012 Atlanta Dream team reached its fourth straight playoff appearance, losing in the first round to the eventual champion Indiana Fever. The Dream also faced some drama in the middle of the season when then-head coach Marynell Meadors was terminated soon after the Olympic break ended and was subsequently replaced by Fred Williams, who then suspended star swingman Angel McCoughtry, though she did return for the team's playoff run. With all that said, how will Coach Williams retool the roster?
Our own James Bowman had a Q&A with Coach Williams this past December where he gave some insights on what he wanted to do this offseason. However, as a GM and head coach, Coach Williams is probably not going to tip his hand too much in any direction aside from the painfully obvious. Here are some things that I think the Dream needs to consider as it heads into the 2013 season.
1. Re-sign Angel McCoughtry
She is a restricted free agent and there will likely be some teams that will consider her for offer sheets. In the Q&A, Coach Williams basically stated that she is untouchable, and I agree. Without McCoughtry, it would be a major step back for Atlanta, and even if she is tradeable, Coach Williams still has to sign her to a deal of some kind so she can't walk for nothing.
2. Re-sign Lindsey Harding
Harding has had a 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio over the last couple seasons and has become a top five point guard in the WNBA. In addition, she is an unrestricted free agent so I would argue that signing her may be an even higher priority than McCoughtry since Williams can match an offer sheet should Angel come back with one.
Update on February 5 at 1:30 PM: Lindsey Harding signed with the LA Sparks, and this raises the team's urgency to acquire an additional point guard.
3. Acquire additional three point shooting support
The Atlanta Dream was the second worst team in the WNBA for three point shooting percentage with 29.6% of their shots made, and they only made 144 such shots all season while opponents made 205 such shots. Considering that the WNBA is moving this three point line back, you would think that the Dream's shooting percentage, and maybe even three point attempts altogether will drop even more, and that may hurt this team this season, even with McCoughtry as a strong slasher to the basket to compensate for her relative lack of elite three point shooting ability. In addition, even Harding isn't a strong three point shooter, so in essence, the team needs to acquire free agents and draft players who can fill this need.
The Atlanta Dream had another successful season by heading to its fourth straight playoff appearance. Though the team is relatively strong in the post with Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza, one big concern with this team from a basketball only standpoint is three point shooting considering the new rules. With some reinforcements in this area and by re-signing at least McCoughtry for her sophomore WNBA contract, the Dream should still figure to be a competitive squad that will be in the Eastern Conference playoff picture and perhaps beyond in 2013.