2013 WNBA Season Previews: Connecticut Sun

 

PG: Kara Lawson/Renee Montgomery

SG: Allison Hightower/Tan White

SF: Kalana Greene/Kelly Faris

PF: Kelsey Griffin/Mistie Mims

C: Tina Charles

(plus SG Johannah Leedham or SG Natasha Lacy, and PF Ashley Walker or C Latoya Williams, pending final cuts)

 

Significant gains: Faris and Leedham/Lacy – so not much. Ann Donovan on the bench, if you happen to be a fan.

Significant losses: Asjha Jones, Danielle McCray, and Mike Thibault if you prefered him to Donovan.

 

Much like Atlanta, there’s been very little turnover in Connecticut since last year – bar the one big hole that’s opened up. Power forward Asjha Jones is taking the season off to rest a variety of injuries, leaving a glaring issue in the post alongside last season’s league MVP Tina Charles. The front office made a change on the sidelines, replacing long-time head coach Mike Thibault with Ann Donovan, in the hope that she could take them to the championship that always eluded her predecessor. But whoever’s in charge, covering the gap left by Jones isn’t going to be easy.

 

Ever since Tina Charles was drafted and created a two-way debate between herself and Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles for the title of ‘best center in the world’, she’s had a nice balance with Asjha Jones. In a lot of ways their offensive skills overlap, both possessing the ability to finish inside and hit a mid-range jumper, but they managed to become a complementary pair rather than get in each other’s way. That’s gone now. Charles will still be a prominent force, but defenses will be able to collapse on her even more than before. The remaining options aren’t great. At all. Kelsey Griffin has been in the league for three years now, is yet to shoot over 36% for a season, and is still just as undersized to play the 4 as she’s always been. Mistie Mims was a solid contributor as a 4/5 backup last year, but she’s limited offensively and distinctly slower than Jones. Mims is one of those players you love on your team as a 15 mpg backup, but scares the hell out of you as a 30 mpg starter. The one potential option who could replace Jones without much drop-off is French post Sandrine Gruda, who hasn’t been seen in the WNBA since 2010. She’ll be with the French national team through EuroBasket Women, which ends on June 30th, but there’ve been some signs that she might have interest in joining the Sun after that. If so, she’ll be welcomed with open arms. Because without Gruda – unless Griffin or Mims make a big leap – it’s going to be a case of papering over the cracks all season alongside Charles.

 

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2012 In-Depth WNBA Season Preview: Connecticut Sun

PG: Renee Montgomery/Kara Lawson

SG: Kalana Greene/Tan White/Allison Hightower

SF: Danielle McCray

PF: Asjha Jones/Kelsey Griffin

C: Tina Charles/Mistie Mims/Chay Shegog

Significant additions: Nobody. Oh alright, Mims (free agency after being out of the league), Shegog (college draft)

Significant losses: Also nobody, unless you count Jessica Moore (currently out of the league)

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Should I just refer you to everything I wrote about them last year? Head coach Mike Thibault apparently spent the offseason sitting on his couch knocking back a few cold ones, because as far as he’s concerned, this team is already good enough. In fairness, they are one of the younger teams in the league, and they did finish last season tied for top spot in the Eastern Conference. But it’s always risky to stick with the status quo and expect improvement from within when everyone around you is at least trying to bring in new pieces and improve. Especially when you were swept out of the first round of the playoffs with your best player being essentially shut down. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Connecticut Sun

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Renee Montgomery/Kara Lawson

SG: Kalana Greene/Tan White/Allison Hightower

SF: Danielle McCray

PF: Asjha Jones/Kelsey Griffin

C: Tina Charles/Mistie Bass

Fighting for the final roster spot: Sidney Spencer, Jessica Breland, Dawn Evans, Chay Shegog

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Well this one’s dull. Sun head coach Mike Thibault is so convinced that his roster is all set and that no one could break into his rotation that he used the 9th pick in the draft on a Malian 19-year old playing in the French second division. Free agency produced forward/center Mistie Bass as a serviceable replacement for Jessica Moore to back up the post players, and WNBA running joke Sidney Spencer. The last time Spencer had any real success on a WNBA floor was in her rookie year in 2007, but somebody’s going to have to fill that 11th spot on this roster and it could easily end up being her.

That’s about it. Sorry Sun fans, but when your team basically does nothing in the offseason, there’s not much to write about in a wrap-up.

WNBAlien 2011 Previews: Connecticut Sun

PG: Renee Montgomery/(Lawson)

SG: Kara Lawson/Tan White

SF: Kalana Greene/Danielle McCray/Allison Hightower

PF: Asjha Jones/Kelsey Griffin/Kerri Gardin

C: Tina Charles/DeMya Walker

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Head coach: Mike Thibault

Significant additions: Greene and McCray add to the neverending list of wings Connecticut has paraded through in recent years. That’s your lot.

Significant losses: Sandrine Gruda, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota.

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Uh, improvement from within, I guess we’re going with here. Continue reading