“It’s the hit man, yes the hit man, yo you know it.”
It has been quite the unpredictable season in the WNBA.
With so many players missing in action, old faces in new places, and an expanding of the pushback against those who hate for no good reason, the league has been a bit different…but not too different that the ladies didn’t put the world on notice every chance they got.
With more national coverage in the past 5 months than ever before, a great season was needed; and that’s exactly what we have been given.
And now we are down to the last two squads standing:
Here are my 5 drops for y’all as we prepare for the WNBA Finals that will tip off in DC this Sunday.
5- Sparks Fizzle
An inexplicable ending to a season, it was. Candace Parker (and eventually the whole starting five) was benched for 75% of the semifinals elimination game dragging suffered at the hands of Connecticut.
Did Coach Derek Fisher give up on Parker? Did Parker’s play lead to her benching? Or was the opponent just that much better?
All I know is this:
I cannot remember an NBA superstar ever being benched in an elimination game so unceremoniously.
What does this mean for next year?
4- Vegas Stripped-
I can’t front. I might be a little obsessed with this squad.
Between the personalities, the on the court skills from the first option to the last player on the bench, and their social media approach as an organization (LADY ACESSSSSS), I’m a big fan of what they are doing in Sin City.
That said, I’ll say this and leave them alone:
While I love the big swing of bringing in Liz Cambage in order to make a run at the title…and while Liz played well for the most part…I don’t know if this move benefits the current roster as constructed going forward.
Superstar in the making, A’ja Wilson, seemed lost in the sauce so many times this season. And even more than that, Kayla McBride was unable to flourish like we know she can.
This was most evident in their last outing as Wilson and McBride combined for a total of 12 points in a win or go home situation.
Both were required to change their approaches with the addition of Cambage.
Liz has already stated she wants to come back.
So what does this Aces roster look like going forward?
3- Walking On SUNshine –
Listen. There is no other squad in the WNBA with 5 DAWGS that give max effort seemingly all the time. Just the Sun.
Jonquel Jones dominates.
Alyssa Thomas is a bully in the best way.
Shekinna Stricklen is the glue.
Jaz Thomas is lightning.
And Courtney? Well, she will tell you…she is a certified BUCKET.
It was a dominant performance in the semifinals by Connecticut against LA, but the ultimate goal lies ahead.
2- Weight Room Crew-
More from Mystics’ Natasha Cloud on Aces’ Liz Cambage’s “weight room” comments: “When it comes to protecting my teammates, I’m the petty one with the loud mouth. You might see me do some push-ups on the court tomorrow. I’ll take my undersized forward any day of the week.” pic.twitter.com/lyWYPZJRQN
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 23, 2019
If you know, you know.
As I mentioned in a writeup earlier this year…
…somebody is on a mission.
This season Elena Delle Donne has captured her second MVP award, but the mission is not complete…yet.
With the Finals on deck, the real hardware EDD and her Mystics teammates covet is not theirs yet, but it is well within reach.
The perfectly timed return and subsequent takeover by Emma Meesseman in these playoffs has removed some of the pressure off the MVP; and has picked up the squad while Kristi Toliver has gotten back to full strength.
With a healthier Toliver back in the starting lineup, Meesseman and the explosive Aerial Powers solidifying that second unit, and the MVP doing MVP things…the ceiling is the roof for Washington.
(ya know, Mystics…Mystikal…DANger)
Been so loooong…
No? Nothing? Oh well.
1-And It All Comes Down To This-
While many of us thought the Sparks or the Aces would somehow be in the WNBA Finals, I believe we’ve got the most consistently good two teams and the most competitive two teams in the league facing off.
Can Natasha Cloud and Kristi deal with the quickness of Jaz and Courtney?
Will Jonquel and Alyssa be able to slow down the E Double (Elena and Emma)?
Which x-factor, Strick or Latoya Sanders, rises to the occasion?
For my money, it comes down to the bench play; that is the only place where one team has a clear advantage over the other.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Looking forward to a great series.
It all tips off Sunday at 3pm eastern.
follow me on Twitter and IG: @smittysource