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2011 WNBA Free Agency: What Does The Experienced Tully Bevilaqua Add To The Silver Stars?

As stated in the video above, not even Tully Bevilaqua knows when 38-year-old Tully Bevilaqua is going to retire from the WNBA.

And if you're a San Antonio Silver Stars fan looking for reasons for optimism about their signing of Bevilaqua today, the video above - full of dominant defense, outstanding passing, and even a game-winning shot - is probably your best bet.

Despite apparently still being a major force to be reckoned with in the WNBL as the league's all-time assists and steals leader, Bevilaqua has been on the decline statistically over her last few WNBA seasons pretty much across the board.

As stated previously, there was essentially one starting point guard available in free agency and that was Ticha Penicheiro whom the Los Angeles Sparks re-signed. Bevilaqua put in just under 20 minutes last year and might be more effective in less playing time than that.

So the question becomes, what does Bevilaqua add to the Silver Stars?

As a member of the 2010 WNBA All-Defensive team, she obviously brings defense and a strong 3.7% steal percentage. That's a defensive upgrade at least from Helen Darling, who was also an unrestricted free agent and now unlikely to re-sign. And actually, Bevilaqua is also an offensive upgrade from Darling, with a much better true shooting percentage.

However, neither Bevilaqua nor Darling is a particularly potent scorer and that's what makes understanding just how much better the Silver Stars got with the signing of Bevilaqua somewhat difficult. Although the Silver Stars were one of the better shooting teams in terms of field goal percentage last season, they had the third-lowest three point percentage at 33.22%. That wouldn't be a problem if they didn't shoot threes so often - they shot threes at a rate (3pa/fga) of 24.64%, third in the league behind the Phoenix Mercury and the Seattle Storm.

Perhaps Bevilaqua will help the team run a more efficient offense, but it would seem from an opponents' perspective that laying off the shooters (except star guard Becky Hammon) and daring the Silver Stars to beat you from beyond the arc remains a good strategy that they'll probably need to address.

In addition, if they wanted a point guard, it seems that the WNBA Draft offers quite a few options - perhaps they wanted a more experienced point guard who could step in and play right away, but the Western Conference is going to be stacked and grooming a younger point guard for the future might have made as much sense. That's still not outside the realm of possibility, but it seems unlikely that they would add yet another point guard to this 11 person roster.

It will definitely be interesting to see what other off-season move the Silver Stars have in store.