Los Angeles Sparks
Excuse me, I will be right back, I need to go throw up. Yes, that is right, at the moment I am victim of fear that the Sparks may be the best team in the west. It is not just the return of Lisa Leslie or the debut of Candace Parker. It is also the miracle ACL recovery poster girl Delisha Milton-Jones, the addition of former All-Star and great athelete Marie Ferdinand-Harris, the development of Sidney Spencer and the supporting cast that includes Temeka Johnson, Shannon Bobbitt, Jessica Moore, Muriel Page, Sharnee' Zoll and even former Storm Tye'sha Fluker. There is a lot of national championship Tennessee on this roster. I could flip flop the top four teams in the west in any order without batting an eye...face it folks the west is up for grabs and it will be a fight worth watching.
Need I say more? I want to put them number one. They might be number one. I am worried about Sheryl's back. I am worried about the backup point guard slot. I am worried about the five games LJ is missing to train with the Opals. I am worried about an injury to Yolanda Griffith without JB around. I think Swin Cash is going to be fantastic on this team. I think Katie Gearlds may break out for Agler like Shannon Crossley did for him in San Antonio. I want to believe this coaching staff can make A-Rob into this team's Tyson Chandler. I want to see Shyra Ely prove she deserves to play in this league. I want Tanisha Wright to play the shooting guard spot like we thought should would before AD tried to make her a point guard. I want to sit in my third row seat in September and feel confetti fall on my face again while more than 17,000 fans make the jumbtron shake with their screaming and Sue, LJ, Sheryl and Yo hug each other and celebrate what they have done together.
San Antonio Silver Stars
I think the loss of Shannon Crossley this week really hurt the upstarts from Texas. Getting Erin Buescher back could help...Phoenix might not have made it past the Silver Stars last season if Erin had been with them...even with the questionable referees in the playoffs. Becky Hammon is going to be even better than last year folks. Ruth Riley and Sophia young make another excellent tandem in the post. This team is not as strong after those names though, people. If Agler was as big a deal as everyone in Seattle is making out, his loss could mean something as well.
This is why I don't rank teams in the preseason. I think losing Penny Taylor and Paul Westhead is a big deal. I love Cappie Pondexter and there may not be a better perimeter player than Diana Taurasi, love her or hate her. She is just that good. Candace may have been the best at her level, but she has to earn her stripes at this one. Diana is to the perimeter what LJ is to the post. They change the game with what they are able to do at their positions. They differentiate with a blend of sheer talent, fiery competitiveness and sheer desire that are of the rarest blends in professional sports. I like Kellie Miller and Tangela Smith, but that is the extent of the roster. They don't get the respect their fans think they deserve this season because they have no bench and Penny Taylor was the soul of their success. Cappie and Dee are the heart and Kellie is the head, the engine, but Penny is the soul. Her play at the power forward spot made the offense work. Paul Baul didn't work until Penny showed up in his first season, and she kept it going through the championship in his second. Without Penny this team will blow teams out one night and get blown out the next.
I know, it has been a long time since the Lynx were a contender. If they hadn't lost Lindsey Harding to injury before the season even started, I would have an even tougher time with my western conference ordering. With Seimone Augustus, Candice Wiggins, Ann DeForge and Noelle Quinen, they should be able to score. Nicole Ohlde is a great post player, but she needs some help down low if the Lynx are going to break out. I am not sure what else they have on that roster that will make a big difference for them. The losses of Harding and Svetlana Abrosimova are not to be underestimated.
I though Jenny Boucek was going to get a chance to do some damage this season. Then Yolanda Griffith headed to Seattle, and DeMya Walker went down for the season. Brunson and Powell are a nice tandem and Ticha and Kara have a lot of experience, but I am not sure who is going to score points besides Powell and Lawson on this roster. They will remain a strong defensive team (NOT offensive as I said in the original post during a moment of typing faster than I can think), but this team is going to have a tough time of it this season. I hope they surprise a few teams, as long as we are not one of them.
That last championship was a really long time ago. They have a group of 11 year veterans in Temecka Dixon, Mwadi Mabika and Tina Thompson, but Thompson is the only one I think has much juice left in her at this point. They have what should be a strong center in Michelle Snow, perhaps someday she will play like one. They have veterans Maiga-Ba (6), Latasha Byears (9), Sancho Lyttle (3), and Pee-Wee Johnson (9). Then they have some youth with Ashley Shields and Matte Ajavon. I read one Comet fan on Rebkell say that Houston was where old Sparks come to die. Karleen is likely to wear black most of the season folks. This franchise is starting from scratch.