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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 5:32 pm    ::: Atlanta Dream 2018 Reply Reply with quote

Lots of question marks.

Coach?
Angel?
Dantas coming back?

plus the usual questions - trades? draft? retirements (Sancho, Matee)? roster adds?

Might as well get the ball rolling.


Shades



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 5:54 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Did you see the way I started the Minnesota thread? You're not supposed to have the questions. You're supposed to have the answers. Wink


And no, you're not trading McCoughtry and Hayes.



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 6:17 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Shades wrote:
Did you see the way I started the Minnesota thread? You're not supposed to have the questions. You're supposed to have the answers. Wink


And no, you're not trading McCoughtry and Hayes.


I didn't see that. I don't know the answers anyway. And as for Angel - she has signed with every other team - the Beruit Bombers, the Russian Oligarchs and the Altanta Heir - but not the Dream. So who knows if she is coming back.


Rock Hard



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 6:17 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Atlanta best chance at improvement is for Angel to return and Boyette to have a season like J. Jones did this season.



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Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 6:40 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Rock Hard wrote:
Atlanta best chance at improvement is for Angel to return and Boyette to have a season like J. Jones did this season.


As long as the first of those things happen, the Dream will make the playoffs. There haven't been eight teams in the WNBA better than Atlanta in any season that McCoughtry has played for them.



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 7:38 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Dream were a lottery team in 2015 with Angel. But it is nice to see someone with a positive mental attitude. Razz


Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 7:57 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
Dream were a lottery team in 2015 with Angel. But it is nice to see someone with a positive mental attitude. :P


Please re-read what I actually wrote, and advise.

There weren't eight teams in the WNBA better than Atlanta then, either. Under the current playoff format, the Dream would have been the eighth seed that year.



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toad455



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 8:11 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Really falls on whether Angel comes back or not. Otherwise it's mostly the same team.



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 8:45 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Dream were a lottery team in 2015 with Angel. But it is nice to see someone with a positive mental attitude. Razz


Please re-read what I actually wrote, and advise.

There weren't eight teams in the WNBA better than Atlanta then, either. Under the current playoff format, the Dream would have been the eighth seed that year.


Except they would have had to play more games with the West teams so who knows.

For 2018 you might be right, but I don't see much better than a quick exit from the playoff. Also depends on who the coach is and assuming they don't trade away Hayes, Sykes, Clarendon, Williams, Holmes or Dantas for 3 magic beans.


Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 8:57 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Dream were a lottery team in 2015 with Angel. But it is nice to see someone with a positive mental attitude. :P


Please re-read what I actually wrote, and advise.

There weren't eight teams in the WNBA better than Atlanta then, either. Under the current playoff format, the Dream would have been the eighth seed that year.


Except they would have had to play more games with the West teams so who knows.

The trade-off to having to play one more game against the western teams that had their number, like the Lynx, Mercury and Sparks would have been one fewer game apiece against the eastern teams that had their number, being the Liberty, Sky and Fever. Not to mention an extra game against the Shock, Storm and Stars.



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Luuuc



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 9:06 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Dream were a lottery team in 2015 with Angel. But it is nice to see someone with a positive mental attitude. Razz


Please re-read what I actually wrote, and advise.

There weren't eight teams in the WNBA better than Atlanta then, either. Under the current playoff format, the Dream would have been the eighth seed that year.


Except they would have had to play more games with the West teams so who knows.

The trade-off to having to play one more game against the western teams that had their number, like the Lynx, Mercury and Sparks would have been one fewer game apiece against the eastern teams that had their number, being the Liberty, Sky and Fever.

ATL were 0.455 vs the East and 0.417 vs the West, which doesn't suggest that more games vs the West would have helped them.

Silky Johnson wrote:
Not to mention an extra game against the Shock, Storm and Stars.

They lost to all 3 of those teams that season.



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Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 9:10 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
For 2018 you might be right, but I don't see much better than a quick exit from the playoff.


Depends on what you mean by "quick." The best team almost always wins in a best-of-five series, which is a big part of why Atlanta is 0-9 in WNBA Finals games. But, with all due respect to Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, there's no player in the league that I'd fear more in a one-game playoff than Angel McCoughtry. If McCoughtry returns in 2018, she'll be returning to a team that was better than the last team she played on (+Sykes and Dantas, better Williams and Clarendon, more mature Hayes). I would put money on a team with a core of McCoughtry, Sykes, Williams, Hayes, Clarendon and Dantas getting to the semis, maybe even the Finals, depending on how the draw plays out.



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Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 9:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Luuuc wrote:

They lost to all 3 of those teams that season.


They also beat all three of those teams that season.



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 9:41 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
For 2018 you might be right, but I don't see much better than a quick exit from the playoff.


Depends on what you mean by "quick." The best team almost always wins in a best-of-five series, which is a big part of why Atlanta is 0-9 in WNBA Finals games. But, with all due respect to Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore, there's no player in the league that I'd fear more in a one-game playoff than Angel McCoughtry. If McCoughtry returns in 2018, she'll be returning to a team that was better than the last team she played on (+Sykes and Dantas, better Williams and Clarendon, more mature Hayes). I would put money on a team with a core of McCoughtry, Sykes, Williams, Hayes, Clarendon and Dantas getting to the semis, maybe even the Finals, depending on how the draw plays out.


Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


myrtle



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:02 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It will be an interesting dynamic between Sykes and Angel. Is one basketball enough?



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Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:05 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


You'd rather y'all were 0-0 in the Finals, like the Mystics?



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:07 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


You'd rather y'all were 0-0 in the Finals, like the Mystics?


Nobody wants to be the Mystics



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:08 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


You'd rather y'all were 0-0 in the Finals, like the Mystics?


Yeah. Playoffs are proof that God hates Atlanta sports fans. That's why we the opposing teams always smite us.


Queenie



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:17 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


You'd rather y'all were 0-0 in the Finals, like the Mystics?


Nobody wants to be the Mystics


Does that include the Mystics?



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:20 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Queenie wrote:
pilight wrote:
Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
Great - we get a shot at 0-12 in the finals. Sign me up.


You'd rather y'all were 0-0 in the Finals, like the Mystics?


Nobody wants to be the Mystics


Does that include the Mystics?


Yes. That's why they're retreating to a 4000 seat arena and why they've never had a mascot that's even remotely Mystical and why their attendance has always been inversely related to team success. The Mystics and their fans are the most self loathing bunch in sports.



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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:27 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

So here's a general impression, and I haven't studied the stats to confirm so feel free to tell me I'm wrong:

First half of 2017, we saw a balanced team, moving the ball well, four-five players in double figures just about every game, and some surprisingly good basketball and unexpected wins.

Second half of 2017, mostly the same players, but now it's turning into the Brittney Sykes Show. Fortunately Sykes is good, but at the same time it sort of feels like the old Angel McCoughtry show - with a key difference being that the Brittney Sykes Show isn't enough to win many games.

I put most of this on the coaches - let's call it some combination of (a) other teams got surprised at the first meeting - then they adjusted and figured out how to stop us, and our coaches had to adjust back; (b) need to know how to make use of a star (or up-and-coming star) without sucking all the oxygen away from the rest of the team. (And if the rest of the team has suddenly started sucking, period, that's another problem...).

If someone can get that core of talent that Silky listed playing all together with only one basketball (thanks myrtle Smile ), then this is a pretty dangerous team.

Not too hard to argue that Michael Cooper isn't the coach to do that - if I buy my own line of reasoning above, then he was only able to get the team playing together when there wasn't a big star in the picture. To me, that's a much more telling reason to let him go than the results of any single trade.


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PostPosted: 09/05/17 10:58 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Should Atl experiment and try and put A. McCoughtry at the PF spot. Going small worked well for the Sun moving A. Thomas to PF this season. With the teams it doesn't work well against you have Boyette on the bench, slide Williams to the 4 and have a more conventional lineup. It is either that or have Sykes as your instant offense off the bench, or someone gets traded.

I would not trade McCoughtry or Hayes, or have Hayes come off the bench as she is a great compliment to Angel.

Clarendon/(Free Agent)
Sykes/(2nd round pick #16 S. Thomas, Vivians or Atkins)
Hayes/Holmes
McCoughtry/(Dantas)/(Lyttle)
E. Williams/Boyette

If you don't go in this direction do you consider trading Sykes? Coming off a possible she will have good trade value, but I'm not convinced that she isn't healthy R. Williams as opposed to being a future all-star. I could be wrong jury is out. Atl was looking at Sims last season, Sykes for Sims would LA consider it?

Free agent PG if not Ajevon maybe bring back Cortijo, give O'neil a shot, wait to see if someone like Colson or dare say L. Allen ends up waived after next seasons draft. Other future waiver wire possibilities A. Peterson, Epps, S. Chong. I wonder if Latta is an unrestricted free agent.

Also with the Worlds next Summer I could see Dantas or Lyttle missing some of the season (if not all) so maybe try to pick up another post. I guess you still have Henry as an option. R. Gray is still available. If Dantas wants another Brazilian in town Dos Santos is floating around. If Chicago get a big in the lottery someone will drop off their roster maybe Hampton or C. Parker.


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PostPosted: 09/05/17 11:17 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

J-Spoon wrote:
If Dantas wants another Brazilian in town Dos Santos is floating around. If Chicago get a big in the lottery someone will drop off their roster maybe Hampton or C. Parker.


Pretty sure Dos Santos is still with San Antonio - just under a suspension. Tho Dantas could call de Souza up and tell her to make a comeback for the ATL!

Hampton was already waived due to her injury and with 2 lottery picks, I doubt they pick her back up.


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PostPosted: 09/05/17 11:49 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

lynxmania wrote:
J-Spoon wrote:
If Dantas wants another Brazilian in town Dos Santos is floating around. If Chicago get a big in the lottery someone will drop off their roster maybe Hampton or C. Parker.


Pretty sure Dos Santos is still with San Antonio - just under a suspension. Tho Dantas could call de Souza up and tell her to make a comeback for the ATL!

Hampton was already waived due to her injury and with 2 lottery picks, I doubt they pick her back up.


If she is healthy Atl could do a lot worse than Hampton for a 4th or 5th post. I wouldn't mind NY giving Kiesha a camp invite for that matter.

I almost did think about bringing Erika back to re-unite the band for one last shot, but I didn't think it would go over well.


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PostPosted: 09/06/17 12:38 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I still like the Boyette acquisition(as long as Atlanta doesn't win the lottery).The dream have legit championship talent.However,atlanta management will probably trade Boyette to eliminate the chances of having egg on their face for firing Cooper.


Randy



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 7:30 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I do appreciate J-spoon and others chiming in on how to fix the Dream. Sadly we just don't have the kind of fan brain trust NY has so we are probably doomed to fail.

Trading Boyette could be an even bigger mistake - what if our pick turns out to win the lottery and Boyette goes somewhere and finds herself. Same thing for trading Sykes. She could well never get any better, or she could become an even better player. This is what worries me most about the coaching change. A new person in charge will sense the need to do something and likely make a bone headed move (remember Bentley for Ajavon, Thomas for Hyrnko?).

As for the team falling apart when Sykes became a starter: #fakenews. Sykes became a starter on June 30, and prior to that they had lost 5 of the last 6 games. Sykes was put into the lineup because the ship was already sinking. So pinning the blame on Sykes is off base. After she became a starter they played around 500 ball until the losing streak at the end of July. The real reason for the losing streak was the schedule got a lot harder with 3 games against the Lynx, and games against NY, DC, Sun many of these games being on the road. The Dream had a easy schedule to start the season and a much tougher one later. Aside from Sykes this is about the same team that went 17-17 last year with Her Majesty (Angel). Dream losing streaks have been a feature of the landscape long before Sykes came around - it's really unfair to blame her for it.


UK1996



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 9:14 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

The Drean need to let Ajavon walk, and pray that Angel stays and plays. They also shouldn't sign Lyttle unless she works for cheap. Let Henry-Morello walk. If Angel returns, let Tamera Young walk. They should pursue Howard who should be a RFA next year. Would the Lynx be able to match a Max offer?

Clarendon/draft pick or FA
Hayes/Sykes
McCoughtry/Holmes/draft pick or FA
Howard/Dantas/Draft Pick or fA
Williams/Boyette



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 9:57 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

J-Spoon wrote:
If she is healthy Atl could do a lot worse than Hampton for a 4th or 5th post. I wouldn't mind NY giving Kiesha a camp invite for that matter.

She's not really a post. More a tall 3. Although her value goes up if she can legitimately guard 4s (kinda like Jordan Hooper or even Sidney Spencer's would have).

UK1996 wrote:
They should pursue Howard who should be a RFA next year. Would the Lynx be able to match a Max offer?

It rather depends on who they want to re-sign. High-paid backups like Montgomery and Perkins are out of contract as well (plus Pierson retiring), so there's room if Howard is considered the priority. But somebody has to back up the aging perimeter as well.



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 4:20 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'd be shocked if the Lynx let Howard go with Pierson retiring. Talk about living life dangerously. That's not the Lynx style. They'd have to have some breakthrough signing for that to happen. Who's overloaded at PF?

If Perkins stays, she'd have to accept around a $45,000 pay cut. According to the salary database, she is the Lynx's most expensive player. That should be enough to sign a rookie. I wouldn't be opposed to letting Perkins go because I'm not sure how vital a vet salary is for the backup SG. The Lynx signed her as a result of Augustus' chronic conditions which haven't been a problem this year. So if Augustus continues to avoid overseas play, I don't think they need an expensive backup for her.

Hey Randy, thanks for starting the 2018 Minnesota Lynx thread. Wink



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 4:38 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It'll be curious what the Lynx do to replace Pierson. I think McCarville's done, too. Maybe Reeve keeps both Howard, Temi and adds a young post to the roster and keeps 12 players.



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 4:40 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

It'll be curious what the Lynx do to replace Pierson. I think McCarville's done, too. Maybe Reeve keeps both Howard, Temi and adds a young post to the roster and keeps 12 players.



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Randy



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 4:53 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Shades wrote:
Hey Randy, thanks for starting the 2018 Minnesota Lynx thread. Wink


Well, it is the only way we are going to get to 40 pages like the NY threads.


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PostPosted: 09/06/17 5:10 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Don't hate us because we love our team.

Hate us because we won't STFU. Wink



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 5:18 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
Shades wrote:
Hey Randy, thanks for starting the 2018 Minnesota Lynx thread. Wink


Well, it is the only way we are going to get to 40 pages like the NY threads.

You're my man, Randy. I love your humor. Very Happy



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PostPosted: 09/06/17 11:54 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy, I don't know who you're thinking is blaming anything on Sykes, but it wasn't me. I was saying something else entirely and I thought it was pretty clear,


Silky Johnson



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PostPosted: 09/07/17 12:42 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
... The real reason for the losing streak was the schedule got a lot harder with 3 games against the Lynx, and games against NY, DC, Sun many of these games being on the road. The Dream had a easy schedule to start the season and a much tougher one later.

Funny how, when I pointed this out, you called me a hater.


Quote:
Aside from Sykes this is about the same team that went 17-17 last year with Her Majesty (Angel).

Plus Brittney Sykes and Damiris Dantas, minus Reshanda Gray and Carla Cortijo... that's not "about the same." The Dream made a substantial upgrade at two positions over the offseason. If you take Angel McCoughtry off the 2016 Dream, that team doesn't even win ten games.



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PostPosted: 09/07/17 7:17 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Silky Johnson wrote:
Randy wrote:
... The real reason for the losing streak was the schedule got a lot harder with 3 games against the Lynx, and games against NY, DC, Sun many of these games being on the road. The Dream had a easy schedule to start the season and a much tougher one later.

Funny how, when I pointed this out, you called me a hater.


Quote:
Aside from Sykes this is about the same team that went 17-17 last year with Her Majesty (Angel).

Plus Brittney Sykes and Damiris Dantas, minus Reshanda Gray and Carla Cortijo... that's not "about the same." The Dream made a substantial upgrade at two positions over the offseason. If you take Angel McCoughtry off the 2016 Dream, that team doesn't even win ten games.


1.) I never called you (or anyone else around here) a hater. I would say, all things considered (including your log in ID) you are much more of a lover than a hater. Of course, most of it is unrequited love for Angel.
2.) I agree on the roster upgrade. Cooper found those players.


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PostPosted: 09/07/17 10:35 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I don't speak twitter but I think this might mean something.

Quote:
Young Metro‏ @tiphayes3 Sep 5

☹️☹️😔😔
0 replies 0 retweets 2 likes


Quote:
Young Metro‏ @tiphayes3 Sep 5

🤦🏾‍♀️ dumb
1 reply 0 retweets 1 like


Randy



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PostPosted: 09/07/17 6:03 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Great analysis of Cooper's downfall. Really better to read the source - pictures included.

https://hawksquawk.net/community/topic/421821-2017-atlanta-dream-and-wnba-previews/?page=5

Quote:
posted 11 minutes ago

WileECoyoteReadytoFall640.jpg

We all know the TV trope by now. Wile E. Coyote has convinced himself he has the Road Runner dead-to-rights. His monumental failures are well-catalogued, but in his mind, at this moment, that’s all a thing of the past. And, of course he soon finds himself okey-doked.

The coyote’s gung-ho momentum has him dashing toward the avem meep-meepis niftius perched at the cliff’s edge at a full sprint, grinning, self-satisfied at his efforts to this point.

And then, moments later, Wile E. looks down.



That’s essentially the story of the 2017 Atlanta Dream. Lofty, outsized goals at the outset – “We’re out to win a championship!” was the mantra the coach sold to his players – followed by modest short-term over-achievement.

https://www.swishappeal.com/2017/4/14/15301726/atlanta-wnba-draft-2017-championship

Quote

"We are going to win a championship, okay?" Cooper told fans at the Dream's Draft watch party. "I think we're developing a very good basketball team that [fans] can be proud of."

https://www.swishappeal.com/2017/5/21/15656132/video-atlanta-dream-hype-wnba

Quote

Be it at the Dream’s WNBA Draft Party, the first day of training camp, or days away from their home opener, the word “championship” wasn’t far from head coach Michael Cooper’s mouth.

And then, moments later, they look down. They turn to you, wave “bye!”, and descend with a sharp whistling sound, toward the desert floor and the way-too-active train tracks below.

Even without the tools normally provided upon order from the Angel Packing Company, Atlanta’s mad-dash to start their 10th WNBA season began with a 4-1 start highlighted by a thrilling home win over the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks.

wnba_post_players_flourishing_basketball

Alas, the free-fall began as the calendar turned to June, a road-weathered 1-6 stretch that convinced WNBA fans that the Dream, indeed, were who everyone else thought they were. And hardly anyone was letting them off the hook.

Atlanta tripped up Connecticut back in May by seven points but, less than a month later, returned to Uncasville and cried uncle, losing by a whopping 33 points. A second-straight loss at home to an amorphous Chicago Sky team was especially unnerving.

The Dream crawled out of the crater they created for themselves, dusted themselves off while standing on the tracks, and thought to themselves, “Well… gee… that wasn’t so bad!” Five straight home wins in July, three All-Star selections and a Rookie of the Month recipient later, and things seemed to be looking up. That’s when the train came barreling out the tunnel.

The Dream proved to be no match for lynxis minnesotas, or virtually anyone else in August and September to close out the season, not even on the road at last-place San Antonio. The final two victories of the season, at home against unimpressive outfits from Seattle and Indiana, were harrowing at best and could just as easily have swung the other way.

Despite winding up like roadkill (railkill?) at season’s end, Atlanta (12-20) did have a decent shot at a playoff spot up until the final weeks, more of an indictment of the other contenders than faint praise. But having a shot at a 7-or-8-seed is pointless if you cannot stand toe-to-toe for 40 minutes on the road. After starting out the year with road wins at Connecticut and Chicago, the Dream completed their road schedule with a deflating 1-14 record, including 0-11 after nearly blowing a lead but escaping Seattle in overtime back on June 13.

Handed the disappointment, back in January, of not having Angel Lajuane McCoughtry available for the forthcoming season, a more pragmatic approach by head coach Michael Cooper might have helped salvage his spot on the bench. But Coach Coop, with title rings on his finger, was insistent on Shooting His Shot.

As he preached incessantly about having eyes on the prize, more focus by players and staff was needed on acknowledging the hazards in the schedule that awaited them; about how steady, collective growth over the course of the year would suit the team well, both in the near-term and going forward into 2018, when their franchise player is expected to return to the fold.

There was no need to dwell on the shorthanded-ness that would wreck legitimate hopes of title contention, and no excuses were ever forthcoming from this outfit, to everyone’s credit. But boldly inferring that you’re capable of hoisting the trophy With Or Without Angel probably won’t bode well for you when Angel, who has a history of falling out of sorts with a coach or two, returns to the WNBA floor. That’s especially likely when your team fails spectacularly at the attempt.

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It wasn’t all gloom-and-doom around the Thrillerdome, and for that, we have Cooper to thank. Atlanta drafted Bria Holmes and Brittney Sykes in consecutive first-round drafts, neither of them lottery picks. Yet only Connecticut and, maybe, Dallas, can boast of getting as much production out of their rookie and sophomore blue-chippers in that time.

Only Cooper saw the potential for robust improvement from pivot Elizabeth Williams, for whom he coughed up a 2016 lottery pick to acquire. Only he looked at Layshia Clarendon, languishing on Indiana’s bench as an undersized two-guard, and foresaw a steady ballhandler capable of racking up near-record assists, notably on a team that cannot hit jumpshots (dead-last in 3FG% for the second-straight year; 11th of 12 teams in 2FG%) if their lives depended on it.

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Many of us had given up on Tiffany Hayes’ potential for expanding her range (37.5 3FG%, best since 2013), but not Cooper. Only he was able to look at Syracuse’s Brittney Sykes and see not a draft-reach with a sketchy collegiate injury history, but a willing go-to scoring threat and a Rookie of the Year finalist. And yet, Cooper sure could have advanced his cause so much more.

He can be a loyalist to a fault, and rather than buttressing this team’s depth with talent worthy of a playoff run, he and the Dream staff insisted on keeping Matee Ajavon, bringing back the oft-injured Aneika Morello, and clinging to unremarkable youngsters Meighan Simmons and Rachel Hollivay. Even with the WNBA’s notoriously shallow rosters, any team possessing limited dimensions to their play that are legitimately 8-or-9-deep won’t hold up for very long as a postseason contender in this league, never mind a championship candidate.

The team ditched offseason signee Darxia Morris in favor of the more experienced Brianna Kiesel, then dumped Kiesel and brought Morris back, only to cut her loose again weeks later. Much more than an under-appreciated season-long assist-record chase, Clarendon needed someone, veteran or otherwise, who could provide the team a steady hand off the bench in her relief.

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That Layshia’s once-reliable three-point accuracy (a team-best 34.6 3FG% in 2016) fell through the floor (18.0 3FG% in 2017, 13.3% on the road), that she concluded her last two games producing a total of two assists in the chase for the WNBA Peak Performer award, coincidental with the team’s many in-game collapses, is of little surprise. Cooper tried to patch the reserve point guard spot with extra minutes for Ajavon and, eventually, Sykes bringing up the ball, but to little avail.

2016’s Most Improved Player, Elizabeth Williams (31.6 MPG, again a team-high) likewise could have used better roster support from the jump. Sancho Lyttle was predictably bound for Eurobasket in June, and with Hollivay incapable of making a big leap in her second season, and Morello at turns injured and unproven, Cooper turned way too often to Damiris Dantas, who took the 2016 WNBA season off herself, to hold things down as a backup center, in the rare cases Williams got a breather.

The WNBA is loaded with titans up front -- Tina Charles in New York, Jonquel Jones in Connecticut, Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meeseman in Washington, Breanna Stewart in Seattle, Sylvia Fowles in Minnesota, Brittney Griner in Phoenix, Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker in Los Angeles. And many of them have adequate, skilled, experienced, bench help. It was indeed an accomplishment for Williams to find her niche among all this opposing talent, ranking 4th in the league in offensive rebounds per game and 2nd in blocks per game.

But with an undersized frame relative to those above foes, Williams found herself out-worked and out-witted on many nights, with the aging Lyttle and the lithe Dantas providing limited help at the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, respectively. Williams was needed to produce extra-chance attempts for Atlanta’s woeful offense. But that came at the expense of being routinely caught out of position in the defensive paint. Sancho remained useful as a defensive patch, but the global wear-and-tear on her soon-to-be 34-year-old frame continued to show.

Dantas was heralded as a stretch-four option behind Lyttle, but her inability to finish around the paint, her streakiness as a three-point threat (26.5 3FG%), and her inability to hold opposing bigs out of the post, made her return to the roster from Brazil a disappointment. Acquired from Connecticut for a second-rounder, forward Jordan Hooper served as a momentary fix on the shooting side, not so much on the defensive side.

Holmes held things together defensively at the forward spots (team-best 97.6 D-Rating) but regressed badly as a shooter (37.9 FG%), and the missing gravitational pull of McCoughtry sharing the floor perhaps harmed Bria’s development as much as anyone. It cost the second-year player her spot in the starting lineup, albeit fortunately for the ready-and-willing Sykes.

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Cooper tried to address his shortcomings at the wing and at the pivot by Shooting His Shot once more, this time a deal with Chicago to bring center Imani Boyette (above) and veteran swingperson Tamera Young (not shown) into the mix. Young’s introduction to the team somehow managed to pan out even worse than when the Dream rolled snake-eyes by trading for the Sky’s Swin Cash in 2014.

An unrestricted free agent this winter, Tamera may have personal interests in returning to this particular club as a backup swing player, but she won’t have Cooper around to vouch for her. Boyette showed flashes of what she could bring to the table in the future, but it was clear Cooper had few designs on granting her major minutes for the balance of this season, keeping much of the onus on Williams.

Acquiring Hooper cost Atlanta 2018’s second-round pick. Acquiring Boyette and Young cost the Dream their first-round pick, in what is expected to be a talent-laden draft, to a rebuilding rival in Chicago.

Perhaps, in Cooper’s mind, what would serve the team better than two blue-chip talents in 2018 is a healthy returning McCoughtry and an emerging Boyette. But the optics to the Dream’s frail fanbase, particularly should the Sky win the upcoming WNBA Lottery with Atlanta’s pick, are not too hot. This move for Boyette may pay dividends in the long-run, but the short-term failure to compete in the aftermath of this trade likely sealed Coach Coop’s fate with the ATL brass.

Despite being left bereft of 2018 picks in the opening two rounds, Atlanta certainly can make a move to get back into the WNBA Draft. Barring overseas injury issues, Angel Mac ought to be close to untouchable, even at her advancing age. But with Hayes, Holmes, and Sykes all under contract (and All-Star Tiffany’s deal expiring after 2018), a deal with an eager WNBA club like Seattle, Dallas, or San Antonio is certainly workable.

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Cooper’s dismissal puts that critical decision in the hands of Basketball Ops VP Natalie White, whose longtime relationship with Nike, the WNBA’s newest apparel provider, should help keep her and the team in Angel’s good graces.

An ideal starting unit for 2018 would have Clarendon (with reformulated jumper mechanics) sharing the backcourt with either of Hayes or Sykes, and McCoughtry at small forward, allowing the incoming staff to see how productive a frontcourt tandem of Williams (at power forward) and Boyette could become.

Granted a full offseason to expand upon her game, Sykes must continue to develop consistency with her jumper and improve her defensive positioning and court awareness for passing the ball. One of the bright spots for the Dream was again finishing among the top of the league in opponent 3-point percentage (31.5 3FG%, 3rd-best in WNBA), a factor which kept Atlanta close in quite a few games up until the final quarters. What did not help was the lack of a secondary passer, the Dream finishing tied for 7th in assists among 12 clubs despite Clarendon’s occasional brilliance with the dish. With her usage certain to recede in 2018, Sykes must become a greater threat on the floor in areas other than scoring.

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Elizabeth did manage to improve on her finishing skills around the glass, especially as the season wore on. If all goes well, Williams could work out as an heir apparent to Lyttle, an unrestricted free agent, and allow her to have more advantageous matchups than she currently has at center. What would not work well is compounding the strain on E-Will, an expiring contract in 2019 who may short-circuit her career in pursuit of a desired medical profession, with heavy-duty minutes at the 4-spot for McCoughtry.

Dantas, a free agent for next season, did not progress well enough at either frontcourt position to earn consideration for a future starting spot. Atlanta should probably consider that the Erika DeSouza 3-way deal from 2015 (the one which bolstered Minnesota’s juggernaut status) has run its course. But the Dream must be on the hunt again, via free agency and/or trades, for a frontcourt body with a decent jumper and discernible defensive acumen.

The offseason should be directed at granting Atlanta’s starting five a reliable second-string that can alleviate an unnecessarily heavy workload without adversely affecting the pace and the momentum. Veteran ball-handling guards should become available as other teams seek to promote younger up-and-coming talent.

Similarly, the 2018 Draft is potentially loaded with bigs, possibly including 2017 #2-overall draftee Alaina Coates, who has yet to play for Chicago and may re-enter the Draft next year. The resulting numbers-games should induce the availability of some steady backup vets to help the frontcourt behind Williams and Boyette. If there is a fullcourt upgrade to Lyttle out there, the Dream should pursue her.

As we were in many years past, for better or worse, 2018 is All About Angel, who will certainly be cored in advance of her next WNBA season. While she has fully recuperated, she has no plans to sit until next May with an ice cream scoop in her hand. Having played in Lebanon already during the WNBA season, McCoughtry also sponsored a local AEBL summer squad.

While she recently declined the invite to work out with Team USA for training camp at the end of this month (Hayes and Clarendon will attend), Angel did sign on to coach and play in the somewhat gimmicky Global Mixed Gender Basketball League. Her Atlanta Heirs (co-coached by Dominique Wilkins, owned by Tameka “Tiny” Harris) will face off in an exhibition with Master P’s New Orleans Gators in a matter of weeks.

Can the Dream identify a replacement for Cooper that can mesh well with its star? If appeasement remains the flavor of the month around town, the organization may choose to pursue her collegiate coach, Louisville’s Jeff Walz, who remains very active with USA Basketball. 2012 WNBA Coach of the Year Carol Ross has stayed out of the limelight since being let go in mid-season by the then-unstable Sparks in 2014. The former Dream assistant coach might consider a return if she finds the situation here to be amenable. Assistants currently in Dallas and Minnesota may also be granted an opportunity.

Candidates may propose a wholesale change to the well-worn "Run With The Dream" philosophy that has guided this organization since the days of Marynell Meadors. Whatever drastic changes they wish to make to this team's style of play, they had better run it by Angel.

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Whoever comes in to run the show on the sidelines should not have carte blanche to independently establish a coaching and player development staff. White and team president Theresa Wenzel should be directly involved in the hiring processes for the coach’s rank-and-file, establishing measurable goals tied to individual players’ development over the course of each season.

If a coach wants, say, her or his child to do the work, she or he had better have a sound resume coming in that stands alone from her or his parent. If players are stagnating or regressing, the team should not feel uncomfortable insisting on changes among the coach’s assistants.

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With the proper series of moves on and off the court, 2018 could be the bounce-back season Atlanta Dream fans have been waiting for years to see unfold since at least 2014. But as Coach Coop had to discover the hard way, there’s no need for this team to get wildly ahead of itself. Whether it pertains to Wile E., or E-Will, no one wants to find themselves by the end of next season caught up in a trap of their own making.

(If he'll forgive my Rebkell lurking, props to longtime Friend-of-the-Program @Randy for fostering the Wile E. Coyote notion in my head!)

~lw3


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PostPosted: 09/08/17 8:15 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Atlanta needs a disciplinarian coach. They've had "players coaches" in Coop and Fred, it's time to go the other way.

Top four things the Dream need:

1 Angel
2 Boyette to play like someone who got traded for a lottery pick
3 a backup PG
4 post depth



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PostPosted: 09/08/17 9:53 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I agree we need a disciplinarian. I'm not sure about Angel getting along with a disciplinarian coach. She is not a "coaches player." Dream don't have a very good track record for hirings - see all the execs, sales people and account reps that have come and gone (some in the blink of an eye) not to mention the Taylor debacle.

BTW - it has been mentioned a few places that Dantas is a FA. She may be unsigned for next year, but she has only 3 years in the WNBA. So it seems to me she is a reserved player or at worst an RFA (unless the Dream made some special deal to get her to come back, which seems pretty unique.) Real question is does she even come back next year?

I'd prefer evil Bill or Stef White, but am pretty sure that won't happen. I had an off the wall thought that VJ would be an interesting choice. She has shown she is not afraid to yank players out of the game. She said in one of her interviews that you miss an assignment you go to the bench. That might work wonders here (if we don't lose the first 20 games while players learn to do what she says.) She only had a one year deal with SA......


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PostPosted: 09/08/17 11:41 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Atlanta needs a disciplinarian coach. They've had "players coaches" in Coop and Fred, it's time to go the other way.


I don't really see Cooper as a player's coach. He might have had too much discipline for McCoughtry's taste. Might be time to bring Klop to ATL.

pilight wrote:
Boyette to play like someone who got traded for a lottery pick


It's not her fault if you have these high expectations on her. That's on you.
It's like that one time when she told her twitter fans to bet on her in FanDuel, she got this, and then she ended up playing like a mouse and barely registering any points When the fans pointed this out to her, she was like "That's why it's called betting." So the moral of the story was.... it wasn't her fault for not leaving it all on the court after guaranteeing a good night. It was your fault for trusting her.



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pilight



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PostPosted: 09/08/17 12:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I have no expectations of Boyette being good. I'm just saying she needs to be for the Dream to contend for a championship. She may not have that ability. It's possible her only skill is being tall. I won't be shocked if a year from now she settles down with her husband and starts pumping out kids, ending her career. A new coach might cut her before next season even starts if she's not any better than she was down the stretch.



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PostPosted: 09/08/17 1:06 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

The Dream should keep an eye on Devereaux Peters this winter. She's an unrestricted FA. If she looks healthy in the Euro season they should sign her up.



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PostPosted: 09/08/17 1:36 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
The Dream should keep an eye on Devereaux Peters this winter. She's an unrestricted FA. If she looks healthy in the Euro season they should sign her up.


She kinda fits the bad girls motif. Maybe not so much "bad" but outspoken. She'll let you know when she's unhappy.... sorta like Bone, Anosike, etc.



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PostPosted: 09/24/17 7:05 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Hoops to Scoops

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/hoops-to-scoops-basketball-star-finds-success-opening-ice-cream-parlor-1053575747718

Quote:
https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/hoops-to-scoops-basketball-star-finds-success-opening-ice-cream-parlor-1053575747718



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Nerd2



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PostPosted: 09/27/17 5:24 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I thought the detailed analysis of the Dream this season was very good. One item to note, though, is that while the Dream traded away their 2nd round pick to get Hooper, they gained Chicago's 2nd round pick when they traded her away.


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PostPosted: 10/10/17 4:19 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Boyette, no more.....




No, Imani didn't get traded or retired.

I noticed for a couple of weeks that she changed her twitter name from Boyette to McGee-Stafford, but I didn't want to jump to conclusions.

She tweeted this today.




So, any chance personal problems may have been weighing heavily on her this season, and she could have a breakout season next year? Something to give ATL fans hope.



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UK1996



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PostPosted: 10/10/17 6:19 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Its possible that marriage troubles messed with her. She was solid her rookie year. Being apart so much can be hard on any marriage. However, she has never lived up to her potential.



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Shades



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PostPosted: 10/10/17 7:25 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

UK1996 wrote:
Its possible that marriage troubles messed with her. She was solid her rookie year. Being apart so much can be hard on any marriage. However, she has never lived up to her potential.


Who established her potential? She was the #10 pick.



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