WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Tulsa Shock

Current roster certainties or virtual certainties:

PG: Temeka Johnson/Ivory Latta

SG: Scholanda Robinson

SF: Kayla Pedersen

PF: Glory Johnson

C: (Elizabeth Cambage)

Fighting for so many freaking spots it’s not even funny: (in alphabetical order) Vicki Baugh, Chante Black, Karima Christmas, Shanna Crossley, Amber Holt, Lynetta Kizer, Jennifer Lacy, Jene Morris, Riquna Williams.

———-

Well here’s the bright side – the Shock finally hired a coach who might know what he’s doing. Respected Indiana Fever assistant Gary Kloppenburg takes over, and all you can say is good luck Klopp. The first move he made was positive, sending loose cannon Andrea Riley (who could easily have been cut anyway) to Phoenix for veteran point guard Temeka Johnson. Any upgrade in talent is a good thing when you’re as bad as this Tulsa team was last year.

Unfortunately, a lot of things haven’t gone Klopp’s way early in his tenure. With the highest odds of the top pick in the draft, the Shock ended up dropping as far as possible and picking 4th. Last year’s prized rookie center Liz Cambage is skipping the first half of the season to prepare for the Olympics with the Australian national team. Free agency produced only the return of Scholanda Robinson, which made sense considering she had easily the best year of her WNBA career in 2010 when she was in Tulsa – but they would’ve been hoping to entice more talent than that to join the squad. And then a couple of days ago, probably the best performer on last year’s 3-31 Shock squad, forward Tiffany Jackson (now Tiffany Jones), announced she was pregnant and would be missing the 2012 WNBA season. This isn’t going to be a quick turnaround.

As tends to be the case when there’s a paucity of talent on your roster, many, many spots are wide open in the Shock training camp. They took post Glory Johnson at #4 in the draft, then found guard Riquna Williams still sitting there for them at #17 after a precipitous fall due to character issues and a suspension that ended her career at the University of Miami. If she turns out to be the first-round talent many people saw her as only weeks before the draft, that could be a steal. Third-round posts Vicki Baugh and Lynetta Kizer may have a shot to make it as well, especially considering the Shock have more than enough cap room to carry 11 players while Cambage is temporarily suspended as the 12th (Jackson won’t count either). The only veteran post players in camp are Chante Black, who missed last season with injury, and journeywoman Jen Lacy.

Out on the perimeter, point guard is presumably pretty set with Johnson and Ivory Latta, but they’ve got a whole host of wings competing with each other for jobs. Williams, Amber Holt, Karima Christmas, Shanna Crossley and even former Fever draft pick Jene Morris all have more chance to make this roster than they would anywhere else. It’s wide open, and there’s also every chance that Klopp will be jumping on the waiver wire when other teams start cutting players. As the worst team in the league last year, the Shock can claim anyone they want ahead of everyone else. There could easily be at least one or two players who make this team who aren’t even in Oklahoma yet.

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One comment on “WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Tulsa Shock

  1. [...] WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Tulsa Shock Well here’s the bright side – the Shock finally hired a coach who might know what he’s doing. Respected Indiana Fever assistant Gary Kloppenburg takes over, and all you can say is good luck Klopp. The first move he made was positive, sending loose cannon Andrea Riley (who could easily have been cut anyway) to Phoenix for veteran point guard Temeka Johnson. Any upgrade in talent is a good thing when you’re as bad as this Tulsa team was last year. [...]

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