Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yesterday's Draft

I have not had a chance to run numbers on the draftees yet, and I head on a two week Caribbean vacation tomorrow (if American Airlines is able to get me there) so I will be slow to post over that time.

One of our poll participants got their wish as Coach Agler drafted shooting/combo guard Allie Quigley from DePaul with the 22nd pick. Most of the top guards were gone by that point as Bobbitt, White and Swanier all went right before the Storm picked.

I am not sure why Sharnee Zoll fell so far in the draft. She was one of the top 20 invitees to the draft room, but she fell to the third round. I wonder if she did not have a good pre-draft would interesting to hear from the GM's and analysts what caused her fall. She was never a scorer at UVa, she has been tagged as more of a "true" or "traditional" point guard, and with Agler's leanings (see below) towards combo guards, she just may not have fit in his system.

Zoll was gone by the Storm's 36th pick so they picked up what appears to be a strong defender at the point guard spot in Kimberly Peck. She appeared capable offensively in her conference as well, but her defense is so strong I suspect it will translate into the WNBA. Of course, Tanisha Wright has never been the defensive professional after her stellar college career on defense, so we will have to see how things play out. Coach said in his post-draft interview that he liked Peck's combine performance.

There are a number of competitive spots at this point heading into training camp.

Assuming JB signs her contract, Coach will have to settle on a starter and a rotation at the center position with JB and Yolanda Griffith. He also needs one more post at the bare minimum to round out his lineup. However, he has the benefit that three players can all play lots of minutes regardless of who starts. He has to expect an injury at some point, so he needs a fourth post to round out the rotation. A-Rob is still available but if she gets an offer better than the minimum, Agler may choose to pass and go for a big rookie from the waiver wire or out of camp.

There is a lot of competition for the guard spots. Based on interviews, it appears that Coach Agler wants combo guards that can shoot and handle the ball so that he can move Sue Bird around between the point and the shooting guard to take advantage of screens off the ball. The league has scouted the Bird/Jackson pick and roll pretty well, though they still get what they want most of the time with that play. If they can have a second guard on the floor with ball handling and passing skills, then they have the flexibility to let Sue run around off screens like Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith do in Detroit. It gives him more options to make the opponents defense less sure of the coming plays. Last year we found that opposing teams could lock the Storm's go to plays down in the final quarter...and I felt that in-game adjustments were not Coach Donovan's greatest strength. Opening up the offense by using the new players and different combinations will allow the Storm to close out games more effectively. That killer Bird/LJ pick and roll is going to be a lot harder to guard when you haven't been guarding it all night long.

Coach Agler is looking at his two draft picks as well as last year's pick, Brandi Hoskins who has been playing overseas since recovering from her 2007 injury. He also has a few vets and camp invitees to review including Wright, Gearlds, Ely, both Hodges sisters, and former Husky O'Neil.

I am very excited for the pre-season events and the exhibition game on May 11th. I just hope they don't schedule everything while I am out of town the next two weeks.

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