Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:
PG: Danielle Robinson/Tully Bevilaqua
SG: Becky Hammon/Jia Perkins/Shenise Johnson
SF: Shameka Christon
PF: Sophia Young/Danielle Adams
C: Tangela Smith/Jayne Appel
Fighting for the final roster spot: Porsha Phillips, Ziomara Morrison, Latoya Williams, Loree Moore, Ify Ibekwe
It was a strange offseason for the Silver Stars. They added some veteran talent, potentially improved their depth significantly, got lucky in the draft in the eyes of many – and yet unless a longshot or two comes through, failed to address their key weaknesses from a year ago.
San Antonio signed Shameka Christon, a player in a very similar situation to Alana Beard in LA. An All-Star level small forward back in her New York days, Christon hasn’t played in the WNBA since suffering an eye injury early in her 2010 season with Chicago. A knee injury then kept her out of the 2011 season, and unlike Beard there aren’t even any overseas numbers or performances to judge her fitness from. If she can return to something like her former self, it’ll be a nice pick up, but it could take some time. Shenise Johnson, thought to be the second-best player in this draft class by many, fell to the Silver Stars at #5 and may be ready to help the team quicker than Christon. A combo-guard/wing wasn’t really what this team needed, but head coach/GM Dan Hughes obviously felt she was too good to pass up once she dropped down the board. A trade also brought in Tangela Smith from Indiana, swapped for gunner Roneeka Hodges. Smith had a poor year for the Fever last season, but San Antonio will be hoping she can at least provide some veteran know-how and a little help for them in the post.
Because that’s where this team’s issues lie, and in fact where they’ve lain for quite some time – they don’t have much size or presence in the paint, and their rebounding is horrendous. They finally decided that they didn’t want to pay big money for what starting center Ruth Riley could provide, so let her walk to Chicago as a free agent. That leaves the Silver Stars needing more from third-year post Jayne Appel, and hoping to find a diamond amongst the various bigs they invited to camp. Sophia Young and Danielle Adams have both shown that they can score, but neither of them is that big and they need help on the glass. Chilean center Ziomara Morrison brings some size and some fairly impressive numbers from Spain, while Latoya Williams and Ify Ibekwe will both also be fighting it out in camp. There’s also returning forward Porsha Phillips, who looked a little like a poor man’s Sophia Young last season, but she may find herself pushed out in favour of someone with a little more bulk. Former New York Liberty point guard Loree Moore was also signed, but it’s hard to see how she can make this team when there are so many ballhandlers already in place.
There’s really only one open spot on this roster, barring an unlikely cut, but if someone big can step up and grab it that player could be a very important addition. Otherwise it’s looking like another season of trying to win games when you’re getting killed on the glass practically every single night.