The Tulsa Shock announced on Thursday that they have signed restricted free agent guard/forward Karima Christmas to a contract. Christmas averaged 6.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in the 2014 season, where she played all 34 games in a sixth man role. In addition, she averaged 38.6% of her three point shots (27-of-70 attempts).
Christmas was the 23rd pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft to the Washington Mystics where she played before getting cut midseason. She was then signed by the Shock later that year until the middle of the 2012 season, when she was traded to the Indiana Fever in exchange for Roneeka Hodges.
Quick analysis on the signing
If I have to sum up this signing it's this: Defense. Despite the fact that the Shock had the third best offensive rating in the league at 106.3 points per 100 possessions, their defensive rating was also the worst in the league, at 108.9 points per 100 possessions. Therefore, their offensive efficiency was all but negated. Like Plenette Pierson's signing earlier this week, Christmas' signing also shows clear signs that Tulsa is addressing its need to improve defensively.
Christmas is a young player who should provide some much-needed perimeter defensive help for the Shock's backcourt, which currently is on the short side with two 5'9 guards in Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims. It was not uncommon to see Christmas defend the best wing player on opposing teams in the 2014 season, in particular when Tamika Catchings was out due to injury in the first half of the season. If Christmas can further improve her three point shooting in 2015, she could be a "3-and-D" player in Tulsa's deepening rotation.
The Tulsa Shock franchise has bolstered its rotation with a strong veteran presence in Plenette Pierson, and now adds another strong defensive player in Karima Christmas. I don't expect to see both of them starting regularly, but I do expect to see both players complement the team's strong young core this summer.