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Candace Parker Dunks, Mercury Defense Flunks

An exciting day on Sunday in the WNBA: the Liberty destroyed whatever defense the Mercury attempted to play and Candace Parker dunked.

Parker's Dunk

(Here's another clip of the dunk and coach Michael Cooper comparing Parker's dunk to Jordan...we need to put a moratorium on NBA comparisons for Candace Parker)

I find the excitement over the dunk interesting because just the other day a friend told me about a conversation she had with a guy who thought the WNBA wasn't worth watching (he likes men's college basketball)...and he brought up an interesting question about people's excitement over dunking...

She asked why he didn't like it and he responded it was because he liked the dunks. She says that dunks are not a fundamental part of basketball. To which he responds, "Why are people so excited when they do dunk then?"

Interesting point.

For people who claim that the WNBA is a "purer" game of basketball because it lacks dunking, it probably is somewhat contradictory to get excited about the prospect of more dunking.

However, the way I see it is that I love basketball and these are some of the best female athletes on the planet. And it's not dunking in the NBA that bothers's players that can do nothing but dunk that bother me (I won't bother to list many a whole lot, but go YouTube "Gerald Green").

Yes, Parker dunked; but I actually don't find a fast break dunk that exciting -- NBA or WNBA. Nevertheless, I have to recognize it as a significant feat for women's basketball (that should be duplicated sometime this year by Sylvia Fowles and become a much more regular occurrence).

But hopefully it never gets to the point where it overshadows that Parker is also one of the most complete players in the a rookie. The dunk makes her that much more marketable as a basketball player, but not really any better. Despite six turnovers in a seemingly rough game, Parker found other ways to contribute: 1 dunk, 10 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks.

If that's an off night, she's got a bright career ahead of her.

Phoenix's Defense...

Last week I wrote a post about Phoenix's zone defense and said I would come back to it after watching them again...

I watched them again yesterday against the Liberty.

Franchise records were broken (the Liberty scored 100+ points for the first time ever and grabbed the most boards ever), 6 players scored in double figures, and bench players approached career highs.

And Rover, 1-2-2 zone, 1-3-1 zone, or man, Phoenix's defense was just completely ineffective.

The problem with their defense has a lot more to do with effort than X's and O's.

Just to put things in perspective, Phoenix was not a great defensive team last year either. It would appear as though the difference is that they're hardly even trying this year...

It shows up in the stats in points differential...

Last year: +3.6
this year: -3.19 well as opponents field goal %, rebounds, and assist differential.

But forget stats...there were just players open everywhere. The Liberty are the third best 3 point shooting team in the league and made them pay.

So there's not really any further analysis to be done -- if they want to make the playoffs, they're going to have to try playing at least as much defense as last year's team.

Relevant Links:

Phoenix @ Liberty (recap from Game Notes of Doooooooom)

Candace Parker Dunks… Is That a Good Thing?