The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, October 14, 2020
Some candidates for the Dallas Wings job — Aliyah Boston talks 2020-21 season — Must-click women's basketball links
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Some candidates for the Dallas Wings job
Expect plenty more in the weeks ahead about the surprising news, made public Wednesday afternoon, the the Dallas Wings and Brian Agler were separating two years after he and Greg Bibb described the creation of a partnership.
This was not the trajectory either man had in mind, to be sure — and at 18-38 over two years, with most players signed for 2021, this was a promising roster, but one that no one really sees as on the cusp of contending for a title, the way Agler teams eventually did in Seattle and Los Angeles.
But this does leave a young, talented team a few years and pieces away from contention. Bring in the right coach now, build around Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally and Bella Alarie, add picks and other ancillary pieces this offseason, stir and serve: there’s a path.
Who should be the one to lead them forward? Some potential options:
You want pedigree? You want a coach whose teams overachieve? Looking for a voice the players will respect? This is an easy one. Her Indiana team finished strong in 2019 before a change was made, her Sky team reached the WNBA Finals, and her voice on player personnel moves would be key as the Wings look to add pieces capable of lifting the team from competitive to championship-caliber.
We all see that for the most part, the team that’s reached the playoffs in consecutive seasons in Chicago was built by Amber Stocks, right? That the defensive struggles that plagued Stocks haven’t disappeared under James Wade, and the players she empowered, from Diamond DeShields to Cheyenne Parker (acquired, let’s be precise, by Chatman) have excelled? There were some rough edges to her tenure, but that’s also how people learn and incorporate those lessons into their second shot at a head coaching gig. Happens for men all the time.
If Dallas wants continuity with the Agler system (Smith played for Agler) while getting a new voice into that locker room, how about Katie Smith, who paid her dues, knows the game, and whose two years with the New York Liberty — in exile, with an unhappy star in Tina Charles — does not really count as a first opportunity. Now she’s spent time learning under Cheryl Reeve.
Spend more than a minute talking to anyone with the Los Angeles Sparks, and the coaching prowess of Latricia Trammell comes up, notably on the defensive end. Considering Dallas finished 11th in defensive efficiency, and Trammell’s teams in Los Angeles have been top-three routinely, this is a logical route to take.
At some point, I’ll either get an explanation why the heart and soul of Curt Miller’s staff — a team that came within a game of winning it all in 2019, and then surprised the world (#DisRespeCT) in 2020, isn’t atop lists for head coaching gigs. She wasn’t getting interviews for the openings last year. It’s no knock on those who were hired, at all — Marianne Stanley obviously did much the same thing for the team that beat Connecticut, and Walt Hopkins had a similar role for Cheryl Reeve in Minnesota. But Brandi needs to be in those rooms getting interviews. Period.
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This week in women’s basketball
Maitreyi Anantharaman explains why Breanna Stewart and the Storm were not, in fact, inevitable.
Good stuff from Jackie Powell on what Sabrina Ionescu’s been up to away from basketball.
Alex Azzi proves Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe’s collective greatness, mathematically.
I am watching closely to see how Penn State grows in Year 2 of Carolyn Kieger.
In which Kelly Loeffler appears to be paying a price for trying to use her WNBA employees as political fodder.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
We spoke to Aliyah after her first official practice of the new season on Wednesday. You need to get ready for her to be the best player in the country this year. She might have been the best player in the country last year. Click on her photo to hear from her. Photo courtesy of South Carolina Athletics.