The Dallas Wings snuck into the 2017 WNBA Playoffs with a 16-18 record. In the first round of the playoffs, they were eliminated by the Washington Mystics on the road, but if it weren’t for a two-minute stretch of Tierra Ruffin-Pratt dominating both ends of the floor late in the game, they may have advanced instead.
Though they finished with a sub .500 record for the seventh time in the last eight years, the Wings kept their core group together. With Australian center and their 2011 first round draft pick Liz Cambage back in the States for this season, the Wings certainly look like a dangerous team on paper. After all, the team has All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith as their franchise player along with guards Aerial Powers, Kaela Davis and All-Star forward Glory Johnson. At some point, this talented squad should make a deep run in the playoffs. I just wonder if that time has finally come this season.
Offensive Rating: 105.4 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 108.7 (11th)
Pace: 96.6 (3rd)
The good - Though the Wings were average on offense, they had the third best turnover percentage in the WNBA. The Wings had fourth best opponents’ turnover percentage (16.6 percent) and forced the second most steals (8.2 per game) in the league.
The bad - Defense. In fact, the Wings allowed opponents to shoot at the second highest effective field goal percentage (52.1 percent) last season.
What have the Wings done in the offseason?
Key Departures: Courtney Paris left to sign a multi-year contract with the Storm.
Key Additions: Liz Cambage, Dallas’ 2011 first round draft pick will return.
Re-signings: Karima Christmas-Kelly re-signed with Dallas in the offseason and she’ll be a much needed defensive stopper. They also brought back Theresa Plaisance and Kayla Thornton.
The Wings’ draft picks
The Wings have the sixth overall pick, the 18th pick in the second round, and the 30th pick in the third round.
What do the Wings need?
Defense. Dallas had the second worst defense in the league last season and the worst defense in 2016. Even in 2015, the then-Tulsa Shock had the worst defensive rating. Unfortunately, no one on the Wings roster besides Karima Christmas-Kelly screams “lockdown defender” to me.
Until the Wings can play better defense as a team, it will continue to be difficult for them to win consistently and get the playoff experience that they probably should have had at this point in the Skylar Diggins-Smith era of the franchise. Hopefully, with the addition of Cambage at the center position, this should change for the better.