The WNBA: Thread II

tims4wins

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The list of great college players that weren’t that great in the pros is enormously long.

I think Clark will be a great WNBA player but it’s not a guarantee and if she isn’t, then we’ll see how long the Clark Effect (TM) lasts.
Right, Redick came to mind due to the shooting aspect.

However, Steph Curry only got better as a pro. Hope that is how it turns out for Clark.
 

luckiestman

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The list of great college players that weren’t that great in the pros is enormously long.

I think Clark will be a great WNBA player but it’s not a guarantee and if she isn’t, then we’ll see how long the Clark Effect (TM) lasts.
True but I think it’s less likely. It’s a much shallower pool and Clark was so dominant. It would be like Larry Bird failing in the NBA.
 

BigSoxFan

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I don’t watch the WNBA. What is the argument that she won’t go out there and be a star? She’ll have more room to operate and won’t be the entire focus of every defense every game.
 

BaseballJones

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I don’t watch the WNBA. What is the argument that she won’t go out there and be a star? She’ll have more room to operate and won’t be the entire focus of every defense every game.
All true. But the argument that she might not be CAITLIN CLARK in the WNBA is that virtually every player she goes up against will be far better than virtually everyone she went up against in college (and she was a mediocre defender at best in college and is going to get absolutely abused in the WNBA, barring some serious improvement on that end - which, by the way, she's probably capable of). And she might not have the same level of freedom to just gun from everywhere on the court when someone like Aliyah Boston is calling for the ball in the post. A WNBA team might not be too interested in Clark going 17-46 (36%) like she did against UConn and South Carolina (teams with WNBA talent) in the Final Four.

Personally I think she'll be more than fine and will adjust her game accordingly, but the above ^ is the argument against her being as successful in the WNBA as she was in college.
 

Cellar-Door

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I don’t watch the WNBA. What is the argument that she won’t go out there and be a star? She’ll have more room to operate and won’t be the entire focus of every defense every game.
Basically that while she was very good, half the WNBA were similar level talents in college. It's an incredibly small league with a ton of talent. Clark has been amazing, but she's not the best college player of the last decade, maybe the best scorer, but her all around game isn't at the level of Stewart, Moore, etc. The player whose scoring record she broke this year is Kelsey Plum... a very good player but also one who took 6 years to make a WNBA all-star team and didn't break 10 ppg until her 4th season. Going from college to the WNBA is as hard (maybe harder) than the college to NBA transition. The talent concentration gets much tighter. Like some of the top 15 picks in this year's draft.... might not make a roster, that's how tight it is right now.

Clark will probably end up a star scorer in the WNBA, maybe even quickly, but also... maybe not? She'll face much better talent than she ever has, and they'll all be experienced pros.
 

BigSoxFan

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All true. But the argument that she might not be CAITLIN CLARK in the WNBA is that virtually every player she goes up against will be far better than virtually everyone she went up against in college (and she was a mediocre defender at best in college and is going to get absolutely abused in the WNBA, barring some serious improvement on that end - which, by the way, she's probably capable of). And she might not have the same level of freedom to just gun from everywhere on the court when someone like Aliyah Boston is calling for the ball in the post. A WNBA team might not be too interested in Clark going 17-46 (36%) like she did against UConn and South Carolina (teams with WNBA talent) in the Final Four.

Personally I think she'll be more than fine and will adjust her game accordingly, but the above ^ is the argument against her being as successful in the WNBA as she was in college.
I can see that. She will have to adjust to not be as much of a gunner, as that won’t fly on a team with better talent. I could also see players “getting up” to guard her to take her down a . While the attention on her is good for the sport, I’m sure it has created some jealousy.

Athletically, how does she compare? About average? Below average?
 

Curtis Pride

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Caitlin Clark is a point guard. She's Sue Bird with a better shot. I think the WNBA will showcase her passing and court vision in addition to her shooting. Against UConn, she had a quickness that enabled her drives to the basket, so I think she'll adjust well to the speed of the pro game. The only concern would be her defense, but I don't think it's going to matter. The Fever is a great spot for Clark as they already have Kelsey Mitchell and Aliyah Boston. Her skills will make the other players better.
 

InstaFace

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Athletically, how does she compare? About average? Below average?
I don't watch as much WNBA as some here, but my sense would be, slightly below average. There are players in the league who are there because of extreme athleticism, who don't have her shot or her creative court vision. The frontcourt players generally all dominated college like adults playing with children. Some guards are there for defense and hustle.

I wouldn't say she's outclassed, but the athleticism of the opposition and their willingness to defend her really energetically, will take some getting used to. When Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi joined the league, the talent wasn't at the same level. The WNBA was the same size it is today, but the investment in college WBB wasn't nearly as substantial. Now college has outpaced the pros in terms of generating talent for the last decade plus, concentrating the talent and raising the floor, and while they might be about to expand, it hasn't happened yet.
 

InstaFace

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Had no idea Mark Davis had poured this kind of money into the LV Aces. That's awesome.

View: https://twitter.com/JoePompliano/status/1785024125360050177

Joe Pompliano
@JoePompliano
I've seen many people talk about how Mark Davis got a great deal by buying the Las Vegas Aces for $2 million.

And he did — but Davis also invested heavily in the franchise, spending $40 million to build the first-ever practice facility exclusively used by a WNBA team.

• 64,000-square feet
• Two full basketball courts
• Locker room & weight room
• Infrared sauna, plunge pools & cryo chamber

Facilities like this really set a WNBA team apart, as the league's collective bargaining agreement has hard salary cap rules, making it so teams can't recruit free agents with higher salaries or private air travel.

And when you add in the fact that Davis brought Becky Hammon over from the San Antonio Spurs, paying her a record-breaking $1 million annual salary, it's no secret why the Las Vegas Aces have won back-to-back championships.

Davis also recently added Tom Brady as an investor.

So, yes, Mark Davis got a good deal and will make a ton of money on the team, especially considering WNBA expansion fees have already reached $50 million.

But it wasn't luck — he invested tens of millions of dollars in the franchise, hired the best people, and made Vegas the league's top free-agency destination.

That's a winning formula.


That looks palatial.
 

reggiecleveland

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Caitlin Clark is a point guard. She's Sue Bird with a better shot. I think the WNBA will showcase her passing and court vision in addition to her shooting. Against UConn, she had a quickness that enabled her drives to the basket, so I think she'll adjust well to the speed of the pro game. The only concern would be her defense, but I don't think it's going to matter. The Fever is a great spot for Clark as they already have Kelsey Mitchell and Aliyah Boston. Her skills will make the other players better.
Shooting like that makes her quicker. She has such range the D has to be in her grill from halfcourt on so she gets a lot of blow bys. There has been lots of talk in the wnba haterverse twiterverse that she can't go left, but she hits a lot of thos deep three going left.
 

riboflav

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Watched the highlights. Holy hell her creativity in getting to her shot from 23-plus feet is amazing. The W can talk about shutting her down and making her life difficult but they ain't seen this.
 

amh03

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Anyone going to tune into the Sun/Fever game tonight? Should be an interesting debut for Clark.
 

amh03

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Yea…very different for her. Think she got 20 points all told.

Excited to see Bonner move up to #5 in scoring. A good game for the Sun.
 

Remagellan

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Clark played a bit better in the second half than she did in the first. although she had five turnovers in each half. She threw a number of passes early that looked like she wasn't yet completely used to the fact that the WNBA defenders are quicker and have a longer reach than the ones she faced in college.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I tuned in for the 1H expecting Steph Curry but instead I got Jordan Poole. I figured she’d adjust from that performance and from what some have said it looks like she did a little in the 2H.
 

OCST

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She’s not playing against teenagers anymore. These are tough, grown-ass women. The athleticism, power, quickness, game smarts of the perimeter defenders who harassed her all night were light years ahead of what Clark faced in college.

she did better off the ball, her shots fell on catch snd shoot plays off screens. When she was trying to create she struggled. CT threw bodies at her and she didn’t take care of the ball.

she contributed little defensively.

Of course it’s only one game. It also must be kept in mind that she’s coming straight off a full college season plus tournament whereas the veteran players are fresh. And CT is a much better team than the Fever, 1 thru 5 plus bench.

But it was a real welcome-to-the-show-kid kind of game, complete with getting knocked on her ass a few times.
 
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BaseballJones

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She’s not playing against teenagers anymore. These are tough, grown-ass women. The athleticism, power, quickness, game smarts of the perimeter defenders who harassed her all night were light years ahead of what Clark faced in college.

she did better off the ball, her shots fell on catch snd shoot plays off screens. When she was trying to create she struggled. CT threw bodies at her and she didn’t take care of the ball.

she contributed little defensively.

Of course it’s only one game. It also must be kept in mind that she’s coming straight off a full college season plus tournament whereas the veteran players are fresh. And CT is a much better team than the Fever, 1 thru 5 plus bench.

But it was a real welcome-to-the-show-kid kind of game, complete with getting knocked on her ass a few times.
She will be fine but shot 5-15 and had 10 turnovers and couldn’t play a lick of defense against WNBA players.

Taurasi got roasted for her comments but she was 100% right that there will be a period of adjustment for Clark at this level.

It in the end, she will be really good.
 

Ale Xander

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I dunno. (Based on that game, unfair to her, but still) She's as likely to be Redick as she is Allen
 

BigSoxFan

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She’s not playing against teenagers anymore. These are tough, grown-ass women. The athleticism, power, quickness, game smarts of the perimeter defenders who harassed her all night were light years ahead of what Clark faced in college.

she did better off the ball, her shots fell on catch snd shoot plays off screens. When she was trying to create she struggled. CT threw bodies at her and she didn’t take care of the ball.

she contributed little defensively.

Of course it’s only one game. It also must be kept in mind that she’s coming straight off a full college season plus tournament whereas the veteran players are fresh. And CT is a much better team than the Fever, 1 thru 5 plus bench.

But it was a real welcome-to-the-show-kid kind of game, complete with getting knocked on her ass a few times.
The other thing is that there is clearly a lot of built up resentment towards her among some players so she’s going to get everybody’s best effort. She dealt with this in college so now it’s just about adjusting to the size and speed difference.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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A new record for turnovers in a debut!

She'll figure it out.

The Golden State expansion franchise will be The Valkyries.
Valkyries is awesome.
I don't get it, people were ragging on Bill Simmons for his WNBA naming takes but love that Golden State will basically be the Lady Warriors. (Tongue firmly in cheek, this is a creative name to keep the same motif but not just Lady ______.)
 

pantsparty

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But it was a real welcome-to-the-show-kid kind of game, complete with getting knocked on her ass a few times.
There was one play in particular where she drove to the basket, a CT player saw her coming, and just completely laid her out where I was like "Oh, damn. She got her money's worth on that foul."
 

OCST

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There was one play in particular where she drove to the basket, a CT player saw her coming, and just completely laid her out where I was like "Oh, damn. She got her money's worth on that foul."
Probably thinking of the same one.

It was her struggles against the Sun perimeter defenders that really stood out to me. They kept throwing different players and different looks at her. Few of the teams that Clark faced in college had even one player that good defensively, taking into account everything- height, length, quickness, and obviously strength, smarts and experience.

I think she will adapt- she just seemed surprised by the pace. She won’t be for long.
 

InstaFace

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Agreed. As soon as I heard it, I thought, "How the heck did no other franchise think of that before?" They'll probably come out to Wagner, or use it to pump up the crowd in key moments.
Their end-of-season party for season ticket holders will be called Götterdämmerung.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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Saw the second half of NYL-IND tonight. Liberty just brutalized the Fever, 102-66, and it really wasn't even that close.

9 points for Clark on 2-8 shooting. 6 assists to 3 turnovers was an improvement. She fouled out.

Again, Clark just could not turn the corner when she tried to drive - every time she was met and cut off by one or two very large bodies. She got knocked sprawling into the photographers a couple of times. Boston, too, was beat up in the low post by the Liberty bigs.

A little tough on the Fever to start them at CT and then with a home-and-home with NYL. Maybe the league wanted to show of their new box office draw with marquee matchups, but those are ferocious defensive teams.
 

BaseballJones

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Clark has started the season shooting 7-23 (30.4%) and 5-18 (27.8%) from three, with 13 turnovers to 9 assists.

She’s not in Iowa anymore.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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It's tough for her now. The Fever are a bad team. They have played two games against two very good teams.

My hot take is that her insanely long threes are her trademark, but her Iowa game depended on her passing and her ability to penetrate - and she's struggling with those because her opponents are exponentially bigger, stronger, faster, meaner, and savvier than what she's used to.

She passes, and you can see what she's trying to do, but the ball's barely left her hand and a defender has already moved into the passing lane. That should improve. It was a little better last night.

Cutting to the hoop? That's tougher. She's getting zero help from her teammates - they're not moving and spacing well as a unit, so the wing defending her can drape all over her, and the bigs can just wait for her to drive so they can stonewall her. Several times she tried and came nowhere close to getting around and through the defense. If she weren't the college GOAT I wouldn't think that she was anything special based on these two games. She's not able to physically overpower most defenders, either by blowing past them or by being strong enough in her drive to shrug off the contact.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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my other hot take is - admittedly not knowing enough about the Fever's roster to know if this is an option - she'd be better off as a 2 than as a PG right now. Give her less to think about and less pressure. It's not like her teammates are moving well for her, to give her a lot of passing options.
 

Remagellan

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my other hot take is - admittedly not knowing enough about the Fever's roster to know if this is an option - she'd be better off as a 2 than as a PG right now. Give her less to think about and less pressure. It's not like her teammates are moving well for her, to give her a lot of passing options.
I missed last night's game, but I watched all of her first game and she herself did not move well without the ball, which I guess might be due to the fact that she was so used to running the offense at Iowa and using some of the times the ball was out of her hands to take a break.

But starting her off against two of the tougher defensive teams may prove providential as the season goes on, because it can only get easier for her.

I think her stat line from last night (9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 turnovers) sounds like she played a lot better than her first game. If nothing else, she has me paying attention to the WNBA this early in the season. Usually I only watch the playoffs, and often only the finals---and even that is if nothing else is up against them.
 

Cellar-Door

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my other hot take is - admittedly not knowing enough about the Fever's roster to know if this is an option - she'd be better off as a 2 than as a PG right now. Give her less to think about and less pressure. It's not like her teammates are moving well for her, to give her a lot of passing options.
They played her off-ball more last night, but the problem is....
1. She's not used to it, she's not a motion player, she's a ball dominator by nature.
2. They don't have anybody else who can win off the dribble and get her the ball.

Might be better next year when she's sharing the court with Bueckers.
 

Batman Likes The Sox

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They played her off-ball more last night, but the problem is....
1. She's not used to it, she's not a motion player, she's a ball dominator by nature.
2. They don't have anybody else who can win off the dribble and get her the ball.

Might be better next year when she's sharing the court with Bueckers.
It's been a rough couple games but if the Fever get three #1 picks in a row, look out in 3-5 years, WNBA.

I need three screens tonight for Sun, Bruins, and watching the next Celtics opponent, but WNBA will be on the big screen. Alyssa is fun to watch and if she keeps playing like she did against Indiana will deserve the MVP award.

I assume folks have seen this by now but kudos to the CT Sun arena team for the very enjoyable deployment of a bandwagon cam at the season opener:
https://x.com/chloepeterson67/status/1790519626994196842
 

kfoss99

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I watched the extended highlights of the Fever game and I have a question for those who follow the WNBA.

Do the women coming into the league add strength in similar ways as men coming into the NBA? Being women and coming into the pros at older ages, I'm sure their growth spurts for height are well in their past. But, do they train to add muscle mass?

I ask because #44 was guarding Clark and was just as quick, but much "bulkier" or stronger. Clark seemed so small compared to the other players on the court.

I think she'll end up fine, but I worry she could end up like Maine legend, Cindy Blodgett, who went into the WNBA and didn't have the size and speed to be competitive in the league. Clark is a few plains higher as a player than Blodgett ever was, but their styles are so similar.
 

BaseballJones

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Some players get bigger yes. They are now working with professional organizations, with pro-level strength training, and all they need to focus on is being better as a player and athlete. In college, these women still have to worry about other things like their academics. Yes, I'm being 100% serious.

Plus, they just mature as humans - older, stronger, wiser, etc.

Of course there are skinny players in the WNBA. Dewanna Bonner on the CT Sun is one of the most slender basketball players you'll ever see. She doesn't seem to have put on any weight, but she probably is stronger than she was in college.

Clark is orders of magnitude better than Blodgett ever was.
 

InstaFace

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Cutting to the hoop? That's tougher. She's getting zero help from her teammates - they're not moving and spacing well as a unit, so the wing defending her can drape all over her, and the bigs can just wait for her to drive so they can stonewall her. Several times she tried and came nowhere close to getting around and through the defense. If she weren't the college GOAT I wouldn't think that she was anything special based on these two games. She's not able to physically overpower most defenders, either by blowing past them or by being strong enough in her drive to shrug off the contact.
Point of order: although she isn't my favorite player (that will always be Taurasi), the college GOAT is pretty clearly Breanna Stewart, imo - hard to do better than four titles in four years - and she is a top-3 player in the league in the eyes of some astute observers. Clark certainly has plenty of room to grow to stardom, or plenty of chance of that anyway.

As for the rest of your report, that's good stuff and thanks for breaking it down like that. Here's some video about those struggles so far:

View: https://twitter.com/takamaikauri/status/1791195689093104003
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah, Clark is the most electric college player ever but not the GOAT. That title is indisputably Breanna Stewart's. Yes, she played with much better players than Clark did, but Stewart's college resume will never be topped.

Oh, and also, she's:

- 2x WNBA champ
- 2x WNBA MVP
- 2x WNBA finals MVP
- 5x WNBA all star
- 5x all-WNBA first team
- 1x all-WNBA second team
- WNBA ROY
- 2x all-WNBA first team defense
- 3x all-WNBA second team defense
- 2x Euroleague champ
- Euroleague MVP
- gold medalist and Olympics MVP

So her post-college resume is ridiculous too. She's the GOAT, even if some other players were more fun to watch (and were legends in their own right) - like Taurasi and Maya Moore and Tamika Catchings.
 

Cellar-Door

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Yeah, Clark is the most electric college player ever but not the GOAT. That title is indisputably Breanna Stewart's. Yes, she played with much better players than Clark did, but Stewart's college resume will never be topped.

Oh, and also, she's:

- 2x WNBA champ
- 2x WNBA MVP
- 2x WNBA finals MVP
- 5x WNBA all star
- 5x all-WNBA first team
- 1x all-WNBA second team
- WNBA ROY
- 2x all-WNBA first team defense
- 3x all-WNBA second team defense
- 2x Euroleague champ
- Euroleague MVP
- gold medalist and Olympics MVP

So her post-college resume is ridiculous too. She's the GOAT, even if some other players were more fun to watch (and were legends in their own right) - like Taurasi and Maya Moore and Tamika Catchings.
Could probably make a very good case for Cheryl Miller as college GOAT. Played at a less loaded school won 3 straight player of the year awards, etc. etc.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
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You’re right. Should have said “a GOAT”; presumably the all time high scorer can put in a valid claim to membership in a very exclusive club. But she is not THE GOAT.
 

BaseballJones

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Could probably make a very good case for Cheryl Miller as college GOAT. Played at a less loaded school won 3 straight player of the year awards, etc. etc.
Miller is definitely in the inner circle of all timers but her USC teams were LOADED in a time when there wasn’t nearly as much talent spread throughout the country. And she “only” won two titles. I mean, Miller’s resume is ridiculously great. It’s just that it’s almost impossible to match (never mind top) Stewart’s.