The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, August 7, 2019

Building the Wings — Breanna Stewart interview — Must-click women's basketball links

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Building the Wings

Much of the ground that has been covered about the lone deadline trade in the WNBA is focused on the Connecticut Sun, and rightly so — they are the team that added Theresa Plaisance, as part of an effort to win in 2019.

But the Dallas Wings made a shrewd move for their own timetable, adding Kristine Anigwe to a talent base that is both encouragingly diverse and designed to max out the kind of team Brian Agler coaches.

The trade of Plaisance, even if she continued to develop beyond the extremely versatile role player she is now, doesn’t eliminate a lot of future value, with Plaisance only signed through 2020. Anigwe, however, is on a rookie deal that keeps her under team control until at least 2021, 2022 if the Wings exercise that team option in current rookie scale contracts, at half the annual price of Plaisance’s current contract.

Now consider who is also around for 2020 and potentially beyond: already signed are Arike Ogunbowale, Allisha Gray, Azura Stevens and Kayla Thornton, along with Tayler Hill. Moriah Jefferson has one more season of team control, should she not return in 2019. Imani McGee-Stafford leads Dallas in player efficiency rating, while Isabelle Harrison has carved out a role for herself as well, and Megan Gustafson has gone from training camp disappointment to regular season revelation. And they have multiple first round picks upcoming, including one that looks like it will be in the lottery, with Sabrina Ionescu and Lauren Cox furiously approaching.

That’s a lot of talent, a lot of size and a lot of versatility for Brian Agler to mold in 2020 and beyond. Anigwe, in particular, profiles to me like a potential Nneka Ogwumike with the right buy-in, and now in Dallas, she’ll be playing for the coach who saw Ogwumike blossom into an MVP.

All of which is to say: the future might be now in Connecticut, and I expect to be covering multiple playoff games at Mohegan Sun this fall. But the outlook, just beyond the horizon, looks pretty exciting for the Dallas Wings as well.

This Week in Women’s Basketball

Dorothy Gentry mines the Imani McGee-Stafford story for even more gold.

Terrific Alexis Mansanarez piece on Yvonne Turner.

Brian Shank is a critical part of the Rutgers coaching staff.

There are more of us watching, you guys.

This is a fascinating way to look at a shot chart.

Just your standard basketball-player-turned-nun story.

Who is the Rookie of the Year right now?

Erica Wheeler on Around The Rim!

I spoke to a bunch of league folks for my updated 2020 WNBA Mock Draft.

Camile Buxeda spoke with Ari Chambers, you’ll want to listen to them both.

Sarah Spain spoke to Muffet McGraw on leadership.

Get well soon, Azzi Fudd!

Eric Nemchoke’s primers on the stats pages are really helpful!

Here’s Jackie Powell’s latest deep dive into the Liberty.

Basketball Reference Stat of the Week

Want to know why New York Liberty head coach Katie Smith is so upset about Liberty turnovers? Look no further than the turnover rates of her two point guards. The only player, minimum 300 minutes played, who has as high a turnover percentage as the two Liberty point guards in 2019 is… Brittany Boyd in 2018.

Five at The IX: Breanna Stewart

We’re trying something a little different for this week’s edition: an audio Five at The IX! Let us know what you think. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.