Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bird is the Word

Ok, I know that headline is old, but still irresitable, though it still calls unwanted images of the Stanley Kubrick film, Full Metal Jacket, whenever I hear it. Yesterday was all about Sue Bird following her return to practice. The Times, PI and Trib all sang her praises, as did Kevin Pelton and David Locke. The love affair between the tough young point guard from New York and the media continues. Of course she probably was spectacular to a group of people stuck watching a team without a point guard. Williams and Eshe were both cut this week, leaving second year 2 guard Wright and surprise FA camp standout Shaunzinski Gortman as the primary backups for the guard positions. A few more ears are likely now glued to those waiver wires to see who gets cut from other camps. David Locke continues his raves about camp performances today with a prediction that Janelle Burse, despite a huge breakout in 2005, may be in the running for Most Improved Player again this season. Jayda Evans tracked the same story at the Times.

All-Decade Part 4

I am out past my sure heading into the gray area where many player could be selected. My last four candidates include two more veterans, both of whom are guards, and two newer players, both of whom are forwards. I will start with the veterans I picked.

Ticha Penicheiro
Ticha has led the league in assists for so many of the seasons of her career that last year was the first time Sue Bird broke through and earned that honor. Ticha is one of the best perimeter defenders, and equally as good at leading the team oriented "white line" defense of Sacramento head coach John Whisenant. She has been able get into the lane seemingly whenever she wanted throughout her career, and had she ever developed a consistently solid jumper would have been a lock for the All-Decade Team. Her numbers for 2005 were as follows: 45% floor percentage, 61% stop percentage, 95.42 offensive rating, 28% win percentage and 7.24 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#45 Points total
#29 Rebounds total
#1 Assists per game
#1 Assists total
#41 3 Point baskets total
#25 Free throws total
#50 Field goals total
#4 Steals per game
#12 Minutes per game
#6 Minutes total

2 All WNBA first team selections (99-00)
1 All WNBA second team selection (01)
3 WNBA All-Star first team selections (99-01)

Teresa Weatherspoon
T-Spoon...I didn't get to see her in her prime...but her game is known, and she was the best perimeter defender in the game for years. She led her New York Liberty (before their management destroyed the franchise) to be the only team to seriously challenge the big three in Houston. She went to LA, but they had eroded there as well leaving her without a ring.

All Time Records
#3 Assists per game
#2 Assists total
#8 Steals per game
#15 Total minutes

2 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997-98)
4 All-WNBA Second Team selections (1997-2000)
5 WNBA All-Star starter selections (1999-2003)

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