The Tulsa Shock are shaking up their roster bit by bit - waiving Amanda Thompson and recent acquisition Ashley Walker in favor of free-agent veterans Kiesha Brown and Jennifer Lacy.
Shock head coach Nolan Richardson is not one to shy away from giving his honest opinion and did just that after a May 20th home loss to San Antonio. And now - as hindsight is 20/20 as we all know - his post game thoughts sound almost like a tip of the hand for the coach and general manager of the Shock.
"In my case I have to still wonder if I've still got the best kind of players to fit this team," said Richardson. "I don't know anybody. I have not coached not one single person on the floor ever before so when you've got that – you've got a new coach, you've got a new team, you've got a new system, everything's new and it takes time to put new things together."
Just seven days later, Richardson traded Shavonte Zellous to Indiana for a 2011 draft pick. And now, less than two weeks after the Zellous trade comes more roster adjustments.
As for the release of Walker, she had a limited stay in Tulsa - getting limited practice time and seeing minimal game experience in the Shock's previous two contests. To analyze what she did or did not do while in Tulsa is tough due to the fly-by-night nature of her brief opportunity.
But when the news broke about the recent release of former Oklahoma Sooner Amanda Thompson, my first thought was about the shock to the fan base this new roster move would make.
It's not necessarily that Thompson has been overly impressive on the court, but rather that she the ability to draw in fans and interest from around the state - ranging from Sooner coach Sherri Coale attending games to casual observers of the sport of women's basketball in the area that recall Thompson from not only her very successful collegiate career in Norman, but also from this year's Final Four run. Those in the stands cheering for the former University of Oklahoma forward have caught just glimpses of Thompson in Tulsa's first seven games - a total of 49 minutes and 11 points on 2-of-14 shooting. Glimpses that have apparently not lived up to Richardson's standard or fit.
Thompson's production obviously isn't the draw for these folks, it's her alma mater, through and through. Those in the Sooner state that bleed crimson and cream could care less if she was the first on the court or the eleventh, but rather that she was there and representing the area school.
After thinking about what is sure to be a surprise to the fans, particularly those new to the WNBA landscape, my mind drifted immediately to more comments that Richardson made after that loss to the Silver Stars.
"It could turn out that there are some people and pieces that we might have to change," remarked Richardson. "That's the nature of the beast in the WNBA. You've got to look around and see what you need and how you can fulfill your needs. There are players that everybody might love but are not fitting the bill and this is a business and the business of the WNBA is to not only have people in the stands but also win some basketball games."
For Thompson, the nature of the beast is resulting in the release of a player "that everybody might love" from the squad and leaves many wondering if this business move for Richardson will result in a boom or bust with his newest roster changes.
For an excerpt of the press release, please click here.