Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler has said on a few occasions that Australian forward Abby Bishop is everything that All-Star Lauren Jackson said she would be.
In a scrimmage against Team China this afternoon at Seattle Pacific University, she provided media and other observers a glimpse of just how good she could be.
There were no boxscores of course, but upon entering the gym and sitting down someone relayed that she had 15 points in the middle third of the six period scrimmage. And she never really seemed to cool off.As reported previously, Bishop is a player unafraid of contact and even appears to enjoy mixing it up inside. But the ways in which she scored were impressive -- she showed outstanding touch on a series of short to mid-range pull up and fading jumpers. She had a few turnovers in the fifth and sixth "quarters" -- allowing defenders to reach in from behind her and knock the ball away -- and a few mistakes of aggression (e.g. perhaps too single mindedly heading to the basket and running into defenders), but overall she showed quite a bit of versatility in her offensive game. Defensively, Bishop like most players, is still trying to pick up rotations and she missed a few rebounding assignments, but overall she's clearly a capable player.
One player that definitely appears to understand Agler's defensive rotations is Parham. She's able to pick up guards or wings 3/4 court and does a solid job of fighting her way around screens. However, an underestimated aspect of Parham's game might be her passing ability. She is the type of player who isn't going to make the flashy play, but she sees the floor well from the wing and does a very good job of moving the ball decisively and quickly in the flow of the offense to put pressure on the defense. She also has a reliable mid-range jumper and does well putting the ball on the floor to create scoring opportunities for herself. Parham has played well enough in her second consecutive Storm training camp to earn herself a spot on the roster. The question is whether the numbers will work in her favor.
Svetlana Abrosimova and Jana Vesela, forwards
There's not much you can say about a player in their first day on the floor in a game situation with a new team. So we cannot read too much into their first day performances except to say this: for newcomers to the team, neither looked lost or out of place. In fact, Vesela created scoring opportunities for herself on a number of occasions and just didn't finish shots, not particularly surprising or reason for alarm for a player just getting in.
Ashley Walker, forward
I suppose we could say that Walker just continued showing progress in her development as a perimeter player and compared to Bishop's more surprising performance I suppose she's less noteworthy. But former University of Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini who now coaches Seattle University was in attendance and she was impressed by Walker's development as a perimeter player, noting that the athleticism was always there but that she's really developed into a solid all-around player. Today, what stood out was consecutive plays in which she flashed a crossover in fast break situations to beat her defenders to the rim for layups. In other words, if there was any lingering doubt about her ability to play the perimeter, the comfort she showed with the ball in her hands today -- not to mention continuing to take and make threes, the one from the corner that I saw being contested -- should put those doubts to rest.
Agler said that training camp ends for the Storm on Wednesday meaning that he'd like to get the team near their final 11 player roster by then. And while he didn't necessarily tip his hand about what he's thinking, here are a few considerations:
- Devanei Hampton and Lindsey Wilson were released this morning.
- Injured point guard Loree Moore, who had surgery today and was at home resting, will be released, which will allow her to continue working out with the team for a period of 8 weeks by league rules.
- Abrosimova and Vesela will be given a bit of a pass since they have just arrived in camp.
- The rotation they played in yesterday's game against the Tulsa Shock probably provides a few additional hints of who is likely to have a spot: Walker started (because Wright had just joined the team, according to Agler), Lacey and Willingham were next off the bench to play significant minutes after Wright, and Bishop and Kurz got the next few minutes. Purely speculation because Agler wouldn't say it, but after today's scrimmage, Bishop could have solidified herself as a potentially productive player in the minds of the coaching staff.
- Overall, he says he values versatility with 11 player rosters so that should be taken into account as well.