After the long off-season, we're finally on the cusp of WNBA training camps opening.
And with teams carrying anywhere between 14 and 18 players into training camp, there are obviously cuts to come with the 11-player roster limit.
To get a preliminary sense of how teams are taking shape, what follows is a look at "depth charts" by player style rather than position.
These aren't traditional depth charts in that they're neither organized by position nor quality; instead, they're a look at player styles or roles on the court, which gives us a better look at how a team might function instead of how they might fill the positional blanks in their starting lineup. In preparation for analyses of each team after final cuts are made (deadline: Thursday, May 17 at 2 p.m. EDT), I've organized each team in the league in terms of the SPI playing styles spectrum that I've used over the last few years.
The basic premise of looking at rosters in this way is that simply loading up on all-star talent is not a formula for success, nor can a team win merely by being one-dimensional – building a successful team requires bringing together the right combination of players, not necessarily just finding the most productive players. NBA fans will recognize that this thinking falls in line with that whole "positional revolution" thing, which hasn't quite caught on as a meme in the WNBA because traditional positions in the women's pro game have tended to be more fluid than in the men's.
Over the course of the preseason as some of the larger rosters get closer to being finalized, I'll add numbers to examine how well each team is constructed in terms of balance, strengths, and weaknesses.
A few preliminary notes
- Player styles for 2012 rookies were projected based on similarity to current players based on senior season statistics in NCAA Division I competition. That made projecting foreign players (or players from the NAIA or who didn't complete four years) a bit more difficult, but this will suffice until we see them play.
- I left out two categories I've normally used: utility players and scorers. The primary reason is that they're two of the more difficult styles to project for rookies. In the case of scorers, it was just as easy to project players into distributor, interior, or perimeter roles. In the case of utility players, it was reasonable in most cases to fold them into the "mixed" category, the set of players that are versatile and are either multi-dimensional or less interior- or perimeter- oriented than most players.
- These roster lists were assembled based on the rosters posted at WNBA.com as of today with additions from the WNBA's transactions page. Since there isn't a singular complete training camp roster for some teams, a few of these are likely incomplete. Feel free to drop edits in the comments.
Eastern Conference Rosters
Players in alphabetical order organized by player styles. Player names linked to WNBA.com profiles.
Update on May 16: strikethrough = cut, italics = last cut, ** = player absent for Olympics.
Rookies eligible for the 2012 WNBA Draft are indicated with an asterisk.
Erika de Souza **
|Ketia Swanier|| Tiffany Hayes *
||Aneika Henry||Sancho Lyttle|
|Armintie Price||Laurie Koehn||Yelena Leuchanka|
|Angel McCoughtry||Courtney Paris|
** Erika de Souza will join the team after the Olympic break.
|Ticha Penicheiro||Swin Cash|
|Courtney Vandersloot||Sylvia Fowles||Eshaya Murphy|
||Mistie Bass||Kalana Greene|
|Allison Hightower||Tina Charles|
|Kara Lawson||Asjha Jones|
Chay Shegog *
|Tamika Catchings||Jessica Davenport|
|Briann January||Katie Douglas|
|Erin Phillips||Roneeka Hodges|| Sasha Goodlett *
New York Liberty
** Hollingsworth will be out at least for the start of the WNBA season due to the Olympics.
*** Signed after being released from a previous team
What are your initial thoughts on each team's roster? Which teams do you think will have the most difficult decisions to make?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.