In this 2017 WNBA All-Star game, we are presented with a picture-perfect blend of old head legends and recent stars. This snapshot of past and present WNBA talent is coached by two of the best coaches in the WNBA in Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota; West) and Curt Miller (Connecticut; East).
But which team is better? Which conference is better? This article will tell you. Just you. Yes, you reading this. You are the finest person I've ever written to. Nice shirt!
EAST: Curt Miller
Miller has been a top name in coaching circles for years, and in his third season with the Connecticut Sun, he has the Sun well on their way to the playoffs.
WEST: Cheryl Reeve 3 Championships (2011, 2013, 2015) all with Minnesota.
Cheryl Reeve is, without a doubt, the best coach in the WNBA. Her Lynx have played in five of seven WNBA Finals, and made the Conference Finals every year but once. She has taken a talented team and turned them into a dynasty.
Tina Charles [NY] FRONTCOURT
Elena Delle Donne [WAS] FRONTCOURT* (injured, replaced by Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas)
Tiffany Hayes [ATL] GUARD
Jonquel Jones [CON] FRONTCOURT
Jasmine Thomas [CON] GUARD
Tina Charles is one of the best defenders in the WNBA. Tiffany Hayes, Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas; all three great players in their own right who are only mention second because of the two great one before them.
Tina Charles remains one of the best all around players in the league, and if the New York Liberty have any aspirations of winning a championship, it will have to go through her.
The Connecticut Sun are well represented here with Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas, and Alyssa Thomas. All three of these players have taken a step forward, and should be important contributors to the positive future the Connecticut Sun is building.
Curt Miller is one of the most passionate coaches in the WNBA. They will respond well to his coaching, I suspect. Tina Charles, his team anchor, and best player, anchors this team as well, helping continuity and vision.
Sue Bird [SEA] GUARD
Sylvia Fowles [MIN] FRONTCOURT
Maya Moore [MIN] FRONTCOURT
Candace Parker [LA] FRONTCOURT
Diana Taurasi [PHO] GUARD
This West roster is stacked from head to toe. The best player in the league, Maya Moore, anchors this team along with perhaps the best defensive center in Sylvia Fowles. Add Candace Parker, one of the best WNBA players of all time, and is still in her prime, along with the WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi, and you have a team that could credibly take on any All-Star team of the last 15 years.
Sue Bird is perhaps the least all story of this All-Star roster, and that is not a knock on her specifically as much as it is a commentary on the quality of the roster around her, including the reserve players.
Cheryl Reeve coaching this team, with her two best players anchoring the team in Fowles and Moore, gives her the opportunity to focus on more granular, specific things instead of a trying to install grand concepts. She doesn't need to teach the starters her system, so she can focus on the things that really matter. I mean, this is the All-Star game, so how much does it really matter? Probably not much.
The East is disadvantaged only because the West is so stacked. Any other team coming up against a team with Tina Charles and Jonquel Jones, just by themselves would be at a disadvantage, but they have to run into maybe the greatest collection of talent ever seen in all star game.
Does that mean the West will win The All-Star game? In a perfect world, yes. But All-Star games are not usually the most highly contested of games, nor are they one of the players usually take super seriously. This should be a fun game between two more or less fairly match deponents, if not evenly matched.