Sunday, May 07, 2006

Preseason Kicks Off

The first Storm preseason game is tonight at Key Arena vs. the revamped New York Liberty. All of last years starters will play, though Tanisha Wright will start for the newly arrived Izi. My wife is joining me for tonight's game, and the kids are staying home. I also got some free tickets from my sales rep, and I gave them to a new family that moved into the neighborhood. They have three girls from around eight to fourteen. I found them playing basketball on my hoop earlier this week and my wife asked if they wanted free tickets to a Storm game. They got so excited that they started squealing and ran home to ask their parents. It was great to see how excited they were to go to a game.

All-Decade Part 5

Ok, this is my last installment. My final two players were both drafted in the first round of the 2001 draft, so they were only participants in half of the decade, but the same can be said for my top pick, Cynthia Cooper. These two players offer all-around games from the forward position, and will be top players in the league likely for the second decade of the league as well. They have been in the chase or winners for MVP every year that they have played in the league, and are tops every season in more than one statistical category. Their high ranks on all time record lists despite their limited time in the league attest to their place on my list.

Tamika Catchings
While Catchings was drafted in 2001 she was forced to sit out that season due to injury, which was good since the field for Rookie of the year was softer in 2002. Catchings does everything for her team. She has lead her team in points, rebounds, assists and steals in all four seasons that she has played. She holds the distinction of being the fastest player in league history to hit the 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals marks. She can play the small forward or shooting guard positions easily and the entire offense and defense of the Fever have revolved around her. If they ever add some shooters around her the Fever will offer a serious challenge to the Sun who currently dominate the Eastern Conference. Her numbers for 2005: 49% floor percentage, 76% stop percentage, 105.39 offensive rating, 90% win percentage, 15.45 points produced per game.

All Time Records
#4 Points per game
#27 Points total
#6 Rebounds per game
#21 Rebounds total
#16 Assists per game
#24 Assists total
#26 3 point %
#11 3 point baskets total
#22 Free throw %
#15 Free throws total
#29 Field goals total
#2 Steals per game
#13 Blocks total
#2 Minutes per game
#38 Minutes total

Rookie of the Year (2002)
1 All-Defensive First Team (2005)
1 Defensive Player of the Year (2005)
2 All-WNBA first team selections (2002-03)
2 All-WNBA second team selections (2004-05)
3 WNBA All-Star starter selections (2001-2003, 2005)

Lauren Jackson
Yes, I did select a Storm player for this team. I could have selected two, but I think that Lauren has distinguished herself far more than Sue at this point in their careers. Lauren is perhaps the best woman's basketball player in the world at this point, and she is still so young. If injuries allow, she should only continue to improve. Her Australian Opals team is the main threat to Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and LJ is the main reason why they hold that status. Lauren came into the league as the #1 overall pick of the 2001 draft. She was the runner up for the ROY award in 2001 losing to Jackie Stiles of the now defunct Portland Fire. I still believe LJ lost more because the team was so poor, and more was expected of her than was expected of Stiles who actually exceeded expectations, though injuries ended her bright career far to early. LJ has been a leading candidate for MVP for the past four seasons, and by many fan's reckoning should have more than one under her belt by now. She lead the league in efficiency last year (Catchings was second), was second in 2004 (Catchings was third and Leslie was first), and was first in 2003 (Catchings was third). Her numbers for 2005 (her worst 3 point shooting of her career) were: 54% floor percentage, 41% stop percentage, 115.98 offensive rating, 77% win percentage and 16.84 points produced per game.

All Time Records
# 2 Points per game
#15 Points total
#7 Rebounds per game
#14 Rebounds total
#37 3 point FG %
#16 3 point baskets total
#31 Free throw %
#14 Free throws total
#17 Field goals total
#3 Blocks total
#7 Minutes per game
#33 Minutes total

1 WNBA MVP (2004)
1 WNBA All-Defensive second team (2005)
3 All-WNBA first team selections (2003-2005)
1 WNBA All-Star starter selection (2005)
3 WNBA All-Star reserve selectiosn (2001-2003)
1 of six players to record 20 point/20 rebound game (2003)

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