A note to end the WNBA season

The 2017 WNBA season is now officially done. The Minnesota Lynx are the 2017 WNBA champions. It’s been an interesting season and it’s been my pleasure to blog and tweet about this season. If  you want to see my previous blog posts for this season, you can look through my archives or you can look through my college basketball stuff as the college season is rapidly approaching.

We can now look forward to the 2017 Draft Lottery which will be held in two weeks before Halloween and the overseas women’s basketball season. Thank you readers for reading my content and sharing it with others. I write for this blog and maintain it simply for pleasure because it brings me joy and allows me to write while talking about women’s basketball.

Take care,

– Aneela K

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The WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will select the #1 WNBA Draft pick in 2018?

Note: *The WNBA Draft Lottery is postponed until further notice. It was supposed to take place on Sept 14 during the half time of the Lynx vs Mystics semi final playoff game. The unofficial note is that it may be rescheduled in the month of October, maybe even sooner. Until that happens, this is a break down of the WNBA Draft Lottery on all the four teams that missed the playoffs this season.*

This year’s WNBA Draft Lottery is almost upon us. The four teams that missed the playoffs have a shot at drafting the #1 overall selection in next year’s very deep draft. The four teams that missed the playoffs are the following: Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever and the San Antonio Stars. In order to have the highest percentage of possibly acquiring the #1 pick, teams with the worst 2 year record has the most chances of selecting #1 overall. This year, that honor belongs to the San Antonio Stars. The second worst team is the Indiana Fever followed by the Atlanta Dream and the Chicago Sky.

To break it down, although 4 teams missed the playoffs, only 3 teams will be selecting the top 4 WNBA Draft selections. The Atlanta Dream traded away their first round overall pick to the Chicago Sky who will now have two picks in the top 4. The Dream will have to trade in order to get into the first round once again.

The WNBA Draft Lottery can go many ways. In 2015 and 2016, the Storm won the #1 picks back to back. This is very rare and difficult to get. Since the San Antonio Stars had the #1st overall pick in 2017, it is very hard to see them getting the #1 pick in 2018 despite having a higher percentage than of the other two teams.

In my best educated guess, if I were to guess the WNBA Draft Lottery odds and selection, I would have to say that the Indiana Fever would get the #1 WNBA Draft pick. The San Antonio Stars would get the #2nd overall pick, then the Sky at 3 & 4 overall.  Of course, this is just one scenario and it could be a much different outcome when the lottery does take place. This is a WNBA Draft where even if teams do miss out on the #1 overall pick, the rest of the draft has potential superstars, some stars and great potential starters. Teams shouldn’t be too disappointed, but whoever does get the #1 overall pick should help their team and franchise immediately.

The WNBA Regular Season – Taking a look back on all 12 teams

*Note: With the WNBA regular season ended more than a week ago and the WNBA Playoffs well underway, I know that this post is a bit late. This post is taking a look back on all 12 teams and how they finished post All Star break into the end of the regular season.

The 2017 WNBA regular season came to a close more than a week ago. It was a successful 2017 WNBA season as this season saw more fans attend more games since 2011. It was also one of the most highly social interacted on social media platforms thanks to the Twitter partnership, FanDuel deal and the introduction of the WNBA in a video game in NBA Live 18. There were some memorable moments in the 2017 season and there’s more to look forward to in 2018 as the league continues to grow.

All 12 teams at one point or another save for the San Antonio Stars were in playoff contention at some point in the year and the new playoff format saw teams playing their best until the very end of the regular season which is something that would not have happened under the old format in which teams tended to rest their players the final day.

We now take a look back at all 12 WNBA teams starting from the team to the worst record to the team with the best record post All Star break.

WNBA Team: San Antonio Stars

The San Antonio Stars were much better in the second half of the year in which they not only produced more wins but were more competitive and could have pulled out a few more wins. After struggling through the first 2 months, Stars first pick Kelsey Plum found her groove and played much better in the final months. She was in contention for WNBA  Rookie of the Month honors for the month of August. After a slow start, she started coming into form and showed that she can be a great point guard although she still has much to learn. Meanwhile, the other Stars point guard Moriah Jefferson struggled with knee injuries and barely played in the final months and the Stars have not yet updated her status but she should be ready to play next May. The Stars have this off- season to decide whether or not to retain Vicky Johnson and need to upgrade some of the starting lineup so that the Stars can be compete for the playoffs which has not happened since 2014.

WNBA Team: Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever had a rough second half of the season with many players having season ending injuries and the other players not performing up to their level save for Fever star Candice Dupree and Fever guard Erica Wheeler. When a team often loses their franchise player there are often growing pains and the Fever experienced that as they had a record WNBA loss against the Minnesota Lynx in the second half of the season and failed to make the playoffs in which they used to do regularly. Not all of it was bad however. Tiffany Mitchell had her moments, Shenise Johnson was the team’s leading scorer before she went down with a season ending injury and some of the team’s younger players got a chance to grow for next season. The Fever have work to do in the off- season if they want to get back to the WNBA playoffs next year.

WNBA Team: Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream were a complete mess in the second half of the season. They were mostly hovering around the .500 mark before going on a losing streak which saw them not only lose their shot at the WNBA playoffs but they also lost their shot of drafting a top player next year when they traded for Imani Boyette and Tamera Young in exchange for Jordan Hooper and their 2018 first round pick. Because of the way the Dream finished the season, the first round pick became even more vital. After having 3 WNBA All Stars in the WNBA ASG, the Dream struggled and while rookie Brittney Sykes continued to bloom and was the Rookie of the Month for August and is in contention for Rookie of the Year, the rest of the team took a step back and the Dream management fired head coach Michael Cooper at the end of the disappointing end to what was a promising start. The Dream will get Angel McCoughtry back after she sat out the 2017 season but they also have work to do to get back into the WNBA playoffs for next season.

WNBA Team: Chicago Sky

The Chicago Sky were somewhat respectable in the second half of the season. They had moments where they looked playoff ready and others were they looked like they were lottery bound. It was an up and down second half of the season for the Sky. Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley remain one of the top back court duos in the WNBA and Stefanie Dolson is emerging as a top WNBA forward/center but other than that, the Sky could not get consistency beyond Jessica Breland and therefore was stuck in the dreaded 9th place where a team is good but not great enough for the playoffs. However, the 2018 outlook looks much better as the Sky are the most rich lottery team in terms of first round picks and should have much to look forward to in 2018 as they aim for the WNBA Playoffs.

WNBA Team: Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm struggled with inconsistency for most of the season but during the second half of the season, the head coach Jenny Boucek was fired as the team was struggling and the team needed new leadership. Interim coach Gary Kloppenburg took control and the Storm seemed to trend in an upward direction as they won four straight and then struggled with inconsistency the rest of the year. However it was good enough to make the WNBA Playoffs which was a goal the organization had in mind and at least for this season was good enough. However, while Storm star Breanna Stewart was great, Jewell Loyd struggled with inconsistency and it showed in games. The Storm bench was not always up to par and so the Storm have work to do and have to address their needs otherwise they maybe a lottery team next season. They also have to address whether or not they will keep Gary Kloppenburg or hire a new head coach altogether.

WNBA Team: Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings had a stable second half of the season. They mostly hovered around the .500 mark for the second half of the season and were competitive in many games despite their defense being the worst in the league. Skylar Diggins was exceptional for the Wings and the Wings also got help from Glory Johnson, Theresa Plaisance, Allisha Gray, Karima Christmas-Kelly to help them make the playoffs after their move to Dallas last season. Allisha Gray struggled in the second half of the season but still was a solid rookie and in contention for WNBA Rookie of the Year. The Wings with 5 rookies were able to make the playoffs and have much to look forward to in 2018 but must address their defense otherwise they may take a step back next season.

WNBA Team: Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics did not have a great ending to the 2017 season. Their second half was marred with injuries to key players such as Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud. They were in contention for the #4 overall seed before injuries took a toll and the Mystics lost a couple of games. After a promising start to the season, the Mystics just could not pull it together during the second half of the season and dropped in the standings to the #6 seed. However, it was not all bad for the Mystics. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough showed she can play, Emma Messeman stepped up her game and Krystal Thomas shined. Because of injuries, it is difficult to tell how good the Mystics can be but they will be definitely better next season when all of the key players are healthy and ready to go.

WNBA Team: Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury overachieved during the second half of the season. Although they were in contention for the #4 spot along with the Mystics, they dropped a couple of games while Brittney Griner was sidelined. When Griner returned and still one of the best players in the game Diana Taurasi were able to guide the Mercury to win some much needed games and eventually won the #5 seed. The Mercury had a great ending to the season not only due to Griner and Taurasi but Leilani Mitchell, Monique Currie, etc helped. It’s a truly remarkable season for the Mercury as Griner becomes into the top player in the league. The Mercury outlook for 2018 looks bright.

WNBA Team: Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun dropped off a little bit during the second half of the season. They started off and stayed mostly at the #3 seed for majority of the year before some losses dropped them to #4. It was still a great year for the Sun as they not only made the WNBA Playoffs but to do so well with such a young team. Jasmine Thomas and Alyssa Thomas were excellent for the Sun, Jonquel Jones showed why she will be a force in the WNBA and other players helped such as Courtney Williams, Alex Bentley, etc. The Sun exceeded expectations and with that comes new expectations. The 2018 season for the Sun looks very good and they will get back their star who was injured in Chiney Oguwmike.

WNBA Team: New York Liberty

The New York Liberty ended the season on a roll. After hovering near the .500 mark the first half of the season, they managed to win 10 in a row and end up as the #3 seed just like last season. Tina Charles was dominant once again, and the Liberty got solid contributions from Bria Hartley, Shavonte Zellous, and others. After struggling majority of the season, the Liberty turned things around because of their defense and finally played like one of the top teams that they were expected to be. However, the Liberty’s end to the regular season was going to be defined on how they played in the WNBA playoffs after suffering two first round exits the previous two years. (The Liberty’s great end of the season was all for naught, as they once again lost in the first round and have many questions to address including whether or not Bill Laimbeer should continue to be the head coach.) The Liberty are still a top team, but they have their work cut out for them if they want to advance in the playoffs and have great success in 2018.

WNBA Team: Los Angeles Sparks

The Los Angeles Sparks ended the second half of the season on a great note. They managed to stay in contention for the #1 overall seed till the very last day and managed to win the regular season series versus the Lynx two games to one. The defending champions showed that they are still one of the best teams in the WNBA and are on a mission to win the WNBA title again this season. Nneka Oguwmike and Candace Parker are still one of the very best front court duos and Alana Beard’s defence is top notch. Along with that the Sparks have very good guard play in Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims plus excellent defence. The Sparks have tough offensive firepower heading into the WNBA Playoffs which will be difficult for any team to stop. The Sparks outlook for 2018 is once again very great as the majority of the team is still young enough for perhaps, another title run next season.

WNBA Team: Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx ended the second half of the season after such a strong start in the first half of the season just good enough to secure the overall top seed. They struggled in the second half of the season after losing their point guard Lindsay Whalen to injury. Although Renee Montgomery stepped up in her absence, the Lynx managed to win enough games and the Lynx’s age showed as many of their players just did not have the energy they had during the first half of the season. However, after setting a record start the slide was able to prevent the Sparks from gaining ground and the Lynx managed to stay tough. The Lynx were led by Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles plus their savy vets off the bench. The Lynx are still one of the top teams in the WNBA and it will be tough to stop them come WNBA playoff time. The 2018 outlook for the Lynx is still very good and the Lynx will be yet on another WNBA title chase.

With that, my review of the 2017 season through all 12 teams is completed and with the WNBA Playoffs well underway, there’s still some more endings needed to be written for the 2017 season. Make sure you tune into ESPN2 and catch the exciting playoff games to see who wins the WNBA title this year.

 

Halfway through the WNBA season – Observations and Thoughts so far

*NOTE: This post was supposed to be out last week, but I got busy with social events. As I am aware, teams have now played up to more than 19 games, so it’s a bit more than half way. Yet, we now have a clearer picture on all 12 teams, so right before All Star break, read my thoughts on the 2017 season below.

Half way through the 2017 season, we now have some answers and clarity as to which teams are playoff teams, which are championship teams and which teams are headed to the lottery. We also have some updates on the front runners for MVP, ROY, COY, MIP, DPOY, etc. *WARNING: Extremely long post ahead, so make sure you have some coffee and get caught up on all your WNBA action so far.

First up are the front runners for each major individual award:sylviafowles

MVP: Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx. Yes, the Lynx are the #1 team in the WNBA right now, and have a ton of weapons, but Fowles stands out this season. This may sound a bit crazy, but at age 30, she’s improved her game to where she is unstoppable down low. She was always an All Star type of player, but this season, she’s raised it up a notch and the league is taking notice. Hence why she is my pick for MVP so far.

ROY: Tie between Allisha Gray, Dallas Wings and Brittney Sykes, Atlanta Dream. This one was tough. Allisha Gray has been consistent since Day 1 and deservedly won ROM in the months of May and June. But Gray has competition now. Brittney Sykes is heating up and she’s becoming an impact player for the Atlanta Dream. Gray has the slight edge since she started since her first game but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it came down to a tie. I couldn’t decide so it’s a tie (for now)

COY: This is an interesting award. Do you hand this award to Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve whose team is even better than last year? Or do you reward the Sun coach Curt Miller for a rising Connecticut team? In my opinion, it could go either way, but for now I chose Curt Miller because the Sun were not expected to be this competitive and their players to have career best seasons. It speaks volumes, especially with such a young team who is still learning to grow and get better. Therefore, my COY pick for now is Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller.

MIP: Another intriguing award. First of all, there are two names that come to my mind when we are talking about Most Improved Player. Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun and Chelsea Gray of the Los Angeles Sparks. Both have improved pretty dramatically from a year ago and now are one of the top stars on their respective teams. The Sun depend on Jonquel Jones every night and she delivers with double doubles almost every night. The Sparks rely on Chelsea Gray to help out Candace Parker and Nneka Oguwmike and she does just that. Both teams have improved thanks to these two players. So who is the front runner for this award so far? I have to go with Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones. I think her improvement is just a tad bit more than Chelsea Gray at this point. But it is pretty close at this point.

DPOY: There are two to possibly three names that come to my mind when discussing Defensive Player of the Year candidates. Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks. Both Fowles and Griner have been tough on the defensive end of the floor by altering shots of their opponents, providing timely stops and taking care of their respective match up. (Of the games that Fowles has played Griner, Fowles has had the upper hand.) Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks also comes to mind because, she’s been a key part as to why LA is currently in second place. Her ability to lock down top guards in this league has helped LA tremendously. Her ability to pay attention to little details is what helps the other players on her team also step up defensively. Her stats don’t look as appealing compared to Sylvia Fowles or Brittney Griner, but when Alana Beard is locked in, that spells trouble for the opponent. This is a tough choice, but I would have to give Sylvia Fowles the slight edge over Brittney Griner so far, just because head to head Fowles has won and the Lynx are better defensively than the Mercury right now.

6th WOY: I’m not sure I have any candidates that stick out to me right now. Renee Montgomery of the Minnesota Lynx, Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks, etc probably are two names that stick out to me right now but I don’t think either one of them are the 6th Woman of the Year. I’m just not as sure as previous years, so maybe someone else comes along, but for now, I just don’t know about this award yet.

Now that all of the major awards are done, it’s time to take a closer look at all 12 teams. I am going to start in reverse order, so the worst team to the best team.

12. San Antonio Stars

At the half way point, I am going to say I am a bit disappointed. I wasn’t expecting the Stars to make the playoffs nor be in every game, but their current record and team play is just not up to par. I’m not going to delve deeper into the Ruth Riley/Vickie Johnson/Kelsey Plum mess, but I will say that I thought it was going to be better. The only current player who has been a bright spot for the Stars is PF/C Isabelle Harrison. She’s been fantastic and will continue to get better. The coach’s decisions have been baffling, and I always thought Vickie Johnson was a fantastic associate head coach. So, to see her decisions now, it is mind boggling. It’s a mess this season and for me personally, I want to see how this team does next year with a top 4 pick and improvements from their key players. At this point, the Stars are playing for pride.

11. Chicago Sky

There’s two parts of the Sky that are happening. The very ugly beginning part of the season where it looked like the Sky were also getting ready to tank and then the second part of the season where they look like a playoff team reminiscent to what they did last season when Elena Delle Donne was out late last season. So which team is it? I’m not sure. I don’t think they were as bad as they originally started, yet I don’t think they’re a playoff team either compared to all the other playoff teams. Yes, they have solid wins (win against Minnesota sticks out) but they also have some ugly losses (lost to San Antonio.) I think this team is in flux. They may be fighting right now for a playoff spot but that’s tough to do when you have so much ground to cover and few games left to do it in. The Sky are who I think majority of people thought they would be. Not terrible, but not a playoff team yet. The Sky are still a fun team to watch, and it will be interesting to see what happens after All Star break.

10. Indiana Fever

The Indiana Fever are a rebuilding team. They have some solid veterans but they also have some very young players. They struggle to score consistently and other than Candice Dupree, they do not have a second player who they can rely on scoring every night. They’re a mediocre team at best who is still trying to figure out their new identity post Catchings. They are in desperate need of a talent upgrade and their plan should be to continue to develop players such as Tiffany Mitchell, Natalie Achonwa, Erica McCall rather than make an attempt at the 8th and final playoff seed. The Fever have been a very good franchise, but so far, it looks like they will miss the playoffs.

9. Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm have been disappointing. The Storm should be better than in ninth place right now. They’ve been inconsistent and have not yet managed to win consistently. Jewell Loyd who started off hot during the early part of the season has cooled down and is inconsistent still from game to game. Breanna Stewart has been her steady self and Sue Bird has provided help, but they need more. Their bench hasn’t helped much and their defense hasn’t been great either. They need to figure out a new strategy because this team should be in the playoffs or at least in the playoff hunt but if they continue to play like this, they will be out of the playoffs after making them a year before.

8. Atlanta Dream

The Atlanta Dream have been surprising. I don’t think many people thought when Angel McCoughtry was out because she was resting, that the Dream would still be very much in the playoff hunt. But McCoughtry’s decision to rest may be a blessing in disguise. It allowed Tiffany Hayes to become the star player and the main focus, which led her to become an All Star starter. It allowed Layshia Clarendon to grow into her point guard role and become a better distributor as well as a scorer and it has also left room for rookie guard Brittney Sykes to bloom. The Dream have some great wins and for the most part, look like a playoff team. Angel McCoughtry could be on the way back for Atlanta however, so it shall be interesting to see what happens to the Dream.

7. Dallas Wings

The Dallas Wings are a hit or miss team. When they are on, they are one of the top playoff teams. When they are off, they are one of the lottery teams. They do have the talent to be a playoff team and make the playoffs, but their lack of defense is holding them back. Not to mention several times, they’ve had to fight back in the fourth quarters of games only to lose in the end. Their lack of size also hurts them and is allowing other teams to get to the rim very easily. The Wings could make the playoffs but they only have a few games left and can not afford any more losses.

6. New York Liberty

The New York Liberty like the Seattle Storm have also been very inconsistent. They have some great wins, but they also have some bad losses. After being the third best team a year ago, they are now towards the bottom of the standings. Tina Charles is still consistent and putting up great numbers but she needs help. Sometimes Shavonte Zellous is reliable, other times it is Sugar Rodgers or Epiphanny Prince. Just like the Storm, the Liberty’s bench has not been great so far. Bottom line, so far the Liberty have been disappointing and more was expected at this point of the season.

5. Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury have been one of the surprising teams thanks in large part due to their MVP candidate Brittney Griner and star Diana Taurasi. Those two have led the charge for the Mercury and not much was expected from the Mercury this year but those two have put Phoenix in the playoff picture. Leilani Mitchell and Danielle Robinson have also contributed, as well as Stephanie Talbot alongside Griner and Taurasi. Unfortunately, due to an injury to Brittney Griner, the Mercury have lost a key piece and now will probably fight to stay in the playoff picture until she is healthy enough to return.

4. Washington Mystics

The Washington Mystics had a lot of expectations placed on them due to off season acquisitions. Half way through, I think they are right where they are supposed to be. I think most thought they would be a top 3 team behind the likes of the Lynx and Sparks, but as of right now they are the fourth team in the league. Their team took a major hit when one of their top players in Tayler Hill suffered an ACL injury and now the team has to regroup. However, they still have Elena Delle Donne, who although is currently out with injury, it is not as severe compared to Hill’s. They also have Kristi Toliver and Emma Messeman. I would say the Mystics are right on target halfway through.

3. Connecticut Sun

The Connecticut Sun have been another surprise team and played better than expected half way through the season. They’ve had some really great wins and their players have played better than expected. They have three WNBA All Stars which is something considering their star player Chiney Oguwmike is out with an ACL injury. The Sun have also been very competitive and are looking like a second round playoff team who could potentially surprise teams. The Sun haven’t made the playoffs in a while and they are in good position to end the playoff drought half way through.

2. Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks, like the Mystics are right where many people expected them to be. The defending champion has been winning games, and is clearly the second best team in the league. Reigning MVP Nneka Oguwmike has continued her dominance from the 2016 season and Chelsea Gray has been tremendous as well. Candace Parker, who is now more of a facilitator rather than a scorer has been a steady presence. Alana Beard, has been a steady defensive presence. This is a different Sparks team with new weapons in Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams, but there’s no question about it. The Sparks are still a very good team half way through the season.

1.  Minnesota Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx are even better than last year. They’ve improved and look focused on winning the WNBA championship later this year. MVP candidate Sylvia Fowles leads the charge with contributions from the likes of Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus. Their defense has always been elite, but this year it is been phenomenal. Their bench also is adequate and helps out the starters. The Lynx are hungry and are playing like it half way through the season.

 

One quarter of the way through WNBA season – Observations & Thoughts

With more than half of the league played roughly 8 to 10 games, we are officially done 1/4 of the WNBA season. We have seen some incredible play, some lackluster referees, quality and some very bad teams early. It’s time to break it down and offer my observations and thoughts on everything I have seen played out through the first 8 to 10 games.

First of all, the ROY race is now open. After so much hype regarding the #1 Draft pick Kelsey Plum, it turns out in the early part of the season she is not even in consideration for the award. The front runner of this award clearly belongs to Dallas Wings G/F Allisha Gray. She has been steady and reliant as well as a key component to the Wings offense. She is headed towards becoming a future WNBA All-Star one day.  As for Kelsey Plum? She’s in a tough spot in San Antonio. It’s hard to be a rookie point guard in the WNBA and it is the toughest position to master next to the center position. It takes time and clearly Plum is not there yet. It’s even tougher when a very good, young point guard in Moriah Jefferson is there and has played better to this point in the season. I won’t get into too much detail about it but even if Vickie Johnson (Stars head coach) played Plum, Jefferson and McBride together, Plum still has a long way to go to become a future WNBA star and starting point guard. I won’t write her off as a bust. That’s silly. She has a learning curve and in time, she will be a great guard we will talk about it. But the question remains, will it be in San Antonio?

Moving on, the MVP race is heating up. Before this season began, there was talk of Nneka Ogwumike maybe repeating or Elena Delle Donne, Tina Charles, etc. I don’t think Sylvia Fowles was seriously considered just because of the depth the Lynx have. Well, 9 games into the Lynx season and Fowles has emerged as the front runner for the MVP award. Simply put, she has been amazing and has improved her game at the age of 30 years old. Remarkable. Fowles has always been an elite center in the WNBA and one of the top defenders in the league but her play this season is a notch above her All Star play. I don’t think being on the Lynx will hurt her MVP chances just like it didn’t hurt Ogwumike’s shot last year either. While Fowles is the front runner, don’t forget about the Mercury’s Brittney Griner. She’s been simply outstanding and for me personally, fun to watch her growth and development. There’s a reason why she was taken ahead of Elena Delle Donne because when Griner puts it all together, she’s unstoppable. She’s been able to avoid foul trouble for the most part and her level of play should make Mercury fans very happy. Their very hyped center is finally turning the corner and becoming one of the top three players to watch through a quarter of the WNBA season. Another player who has also emerged as one of the three contenders for the award is none other than Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne. If there is one thing Delle Donne is simply elite at, it is her ability to score. Being a versatile elite scorer has helped the Mystics off to a very great start through 10 games (7-3) and makes her a very serious candidate for the WNBA MVP award. Other names are also in the mix such as Sparks reigning MVP (Nneka Ogwumike), Liberty’s Tina Charles, etc. But these three (Fowles, Griner and Delle Donne) are simply a notch better through a quarter of the WNBA season right now.

Another key story is the quality of play of the top teams versus the bad teams. There is quite a remarkable difference between the Minnesota Lynx and the San Antonio Stars. One team is undefeated while the other is winless. Sure, the Lynx have more talent and have experienced veterans on this team, but the Stars do have talent regardless of what you have read about them. The Minnesota Lynx are 9-0 because they can close out teams, they have some very big blowout wins and are in cruise control right now. They get elite level production from Fowles (discussed above), steady production from Rebekkah Brunson, Seimone Augustus and a very good point guard in Lindsay Whalen to direct the team. Meanwhile the San Antonio Stars are winless because they cannot close out teams, they have had multiple chances to win games and their rotation is a mess because the coach has yet to figure out which line up combination works for her team. I did not expect the Stars to have a winning record at this point, but never did I think they would still be winless. It’s not fun to watch for anybody. The Lynx being 9-0 and the Stars being 0-9 are two stories to track through one quarter of the season. Both teams could set records (and in the Stars case, not a great record.)

REFEREES: Still not great, way too many games decided by their fate. Reviews are way too long and it takes the fun out of the WNBA game.

HOT SEAT? Two coaches right now are on the hot seat. Vickie Johnson of the San Antonio Stars and Amber Stocks, the coach/GM of the Chicago Sky. Of these two, I think Johnson will be let go after this season because she is only on a one year deal. Amber Stocks is on the hot seat because of some her rosters moves are puzzling. Not only that, but her team could have won more games, but haven’t due to the talent on the floor. It’s only a quarter of the way through the WNBA season, but keep an eye on these two coaches moving forward.

These are some of the top major stories around the league. When the majority of the WNBA has played half of their games (17 games), I shall do another post on what other stories have transpired in this 2017 WNBA season.

Twitter and the WNBA – What people are missing

The Twitter live stream of the first game was a smashing success. It was of great quality and the conversation was also great. There were very few trolls or mean comments. It was refreshing based on what we normally see in comments section on the Internet.  This was a very good step forward by not only the WNBA but Twitter as well.

One of the many things people often complain about the product is the fact that the WNBA does not market itself well. Very few TV ads are placed and the WNBA is not front and center in the public very often. The WNBA has started to address this by using Twitter, a social media tool that is used world wide and has great reach than what the WNBA can provide in the United States.

This is a very smart business move by the WNBA. Social media and online networks will continue to move forward and the WNBA has pushed forward in getting women’s sports out in the digital world. But what people fail to realize is, the WNBA has no intent to put out all of their games on Twitter. This is just a sneak peek to gauge casual fans interest and essentially get people to visit the website and purchase WNBA League Pass. It’s also to get people talking about the WNBA and for them to see the greatness of these WNBA players.

Another key part of this is Twitter. Twitter has started to already have an online digital network presence. They broadcast the news, sports, and other activities and have more lined up for the fall. For right now, the Twitter live stream is FREE. Remember, Twitter is a business. They need to make money. It could be in three to four years, that they start charging Twitter users who want to watch the Twitter live stream. Only then, will the WNBA have an active presence on Twitter.

I find it fascinating when I was reading the comments on #WNBALive and one of the comments said something along the lines of “I love this game! If there were MORE games to watch, I would!”. That kind of set me back a bit. The WNBA already does feature more games on ESPN and on local TV networks. Like I mentioned previously, they also have League Pass. Maybe the WNBA should have an in game advertisement saying if you enjoyed this game, you can watch the games on League Pass! Something along the lines of that.

I’ve been a fan of the WNBA for 9 years (10 WNBA seasons) and the product just keeps getting better and better. Every year, these new athletes get better. There will still be haters, or people who don’t want to see the WNBA get better. Over the years, I’ve shifted through articles of the following: “WNBA Players don’t get paid as much as the NBA Players”, “Where is the media coverage for the WNBA”, “Can the WNBA survive? Is it profitable?”, and so on and on. It gets annoying for me to read as well as other people.  So I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped reading those type of articles. Stopped mentioning to others to go read.

That is why I am so glad that the WNBA and Twitter have teamed up. Twitter is BY FAR the most social media tool I use and I am grateful that the league thinks the same way. I am ready to see the impact the Twitter deal will have on the league and if it can pick up more fans.

One last thing, if you want the WNBA to have more games on Twitter, be willing to pay. You like the action, but don’t live in a WNBA city? Buy WNBA League Pass. Stop making excuses and be honest with yourselves. You want the WNBA to succeed? Then prepare to open your wallet.

Personal Reflection – Looking back at WNBA Draft Week.

The WNBA Draft has come and gone and Kelsey Plum is headed to San Antonio as the #1 pick. It was a crazy week for me personally, as I have been dealing with the loss of my grandfather who passed away on Tuesday and I have been going back and forth to my parent’s house to help them out. On top of that, the draft took place on Thursday — and I was live streaming for WNBA365 (It’s on YouTube, just search WNBA365). All night long, we kept expecting draft day trades because we just kept hearing through out the week and then NOTHING came up! Talk about disappointment, but I’m pretty sure there will be some more trades or action with WNBA Training camp set to open in a week!

This week was just crazy for me personally. I had all these plans lined up for the summer and I have just found out this week that there are some big events planned both in my family as well as among my friends. It’s crazy right? What is the saying again? When you make plans, God laughs? Yup. That’s what happened to me this week. All these emotions of sadness and happiness mixed together.

As for how the WNBA Draft turned out, I was just disappointed. I am aware of the fact that this year’s WNBA Draft class was weak (not superstars, just solid role players or borderline All Stars) but still. It sucks for the draftees and their family not to get a picture with the league president on the stage and have that moment. It was robbed of them. There was nothing wrong with the Draft and if anyone had any objection to it otherwise clearly did the WNBA a disservice. Congratulations to all of the WNBA Draftees and good luck in training camp. It’s going to be extremely difficult to make a WNBA roster from this year forward (I would expect less than 10 to make it) but take the opportunity and make  your game better.

I haven’t put this on my blog yet, but I am working with Shattered Backboard for it’s  WNBA/women’s college basketball website. http://www.shatteredbackboard.com. Check it out as we will have great stuff rolled out for the upcoming WNBA season. It’s been a fun ride so far and more great things are in the future.

As always, I appreciate many of you who check my blog daily hoping for some updates. This post is for you! I don’t post here often, but I thought I would give an update on what is happening in my life as well as my thoughts on the WNBA Draft. I’ll try my best to blog more often on my thoughts on the WNBA season, players, etc.

Thanks for all the support on Twitter and everywhere else.

Peace out!

– Aneela