Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:
PG: Dominique Canty/Jasmine Thomas
SG: Matee Ajavon/Noelle Quinn
SF: Monique Currie
PF: Crystal Langhorne
C: Michelle Snow/Ashley Robinson
Fighting it out for the remaining three spots: Natalie Novosel, Natasha Lacy, Kerri Gardin, LaSondra Barrett, LaToya Pringle, Laura Harper, Ashley Walker
At least there are some new names in DC, even if the general quality isn’t much different from last year. They let former franchise player Alana Beard walk after growing tired of paying her to be injured; shipped wing Marissa Coleman to LA for Noelle Quinn in the hope that both could benefit from a change of scenery; dumped Nicky Anosike on LA in a separate deal, this time for fringe backups Natasha Lacy and LaToya Pringle; sent last year’s first-round pick Victoria Dunlap to Seattle for backup center Ashley Robinson; and signed over-the-hill point guard Dominique Canty and consistently inconsistent veteran big Michelle Snow as free agents. And breathe. You certainly can’t accuse head coach/general manager Trudi Lacey of being inactive in trying to improve this team after the debacle last season.
In amongst all that they also got a couple of important deals done, re-signing Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne to long-term contracts, and matching the offer sheet Matee Ajavon signed with Atlanta to keep her in town as well. If the important pieces stay healthy, and Lacey can discover the ability to coach her way out of a paper bag, they might have a chance to improve this season.
The last few spots on this roster look pretty open heading into the preseason. They had two first-round picks and took guard Natalie Novosel at #8 and post LaSondra Barrett at #10. You’d expect at least one of them to make the opening day roster, possibly both, as coaches tend to try to avoid looking like they completely wasted first-rounders. However, the likes of Natasha Lacy, Kerri Gardin, Ashley Walker, and Laura Harper will give the kids a run for their money in camp, and Coach Lacey showed a distinct preference for veterans last year, so the rookies aren’t guaranteed anything. Quinn’s flexibility to play anywhere on the perimeter and Jasmine Thomas’s potential to be bad enough to cut also gives them options as to what kind of players they keep. Pringle picked up an injury late in her European season, so may not even be healthy enough to make her case.
This may not be the most talented roster in the WNBA (who are we kidding – there’s no ‘may’ about it), but it is at least intriguing as to who’ll still be around when the season tips off.