The 2022 WNBA season is now over with the Las Vegas Aces as your champion. I decided that for my last article here swish appealIn this article, I will try to analyze what the team that I have covered all year, the Atlanta Dream, can learn from the Champions. The Dream has enough potential as a franchise that if they embody these points they could indeed become a perennial title contender.
Build slowly around building blocks
I spoke to a good friend of mine about what Sapna can learn from Aces. He made some good points and I’ll add my points as we go on. He said that Sapna should gradually build her team. The Aces drafted Eja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young. He built around those three through pieces he added to the draft and in free agency.
Dream is in a similar situation with Raine Howard. In Rookie of the Year they have a strong building block that they can surround with pieces that suit their skills. It will all depend on where Dream lands in the draft lottery. If they get the No. 1 pick, they’ll have another building block in Aliyah Boston.
What has made both the Aces and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors so successful is that they have their core players and then add the right players around them who complement their game perfectly. Dream general manager and former Aces general manager Dan Padover should do the same thing to Howard and potential Boston if they land him.
playing team basketball
The second point my friend made is honestly the same point I made in my Precision Predictions. Aces head coach Becky Hyman was always the one to take that team to the next level. Hammon was an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, who are known for playing a team brand of basketball, and she successfully brought that system to Vegas.
Honestly, one of the major problems I had with Dream this year was that they often played too many iso balls and that resulted in some very poor shot selection. The Aces were near the top of the league in the regular season and the playoffs in both points and assists.
This off-season, Dream head coach Tanisha Wright will need to find a way to set up a more team-based offensive system that emphasizes actually passing the ball and passing good shots for better shots.
Emphasis on defense and closing games
Defense was the third point my friend made. The Dream were actually a very solid defensive team this year, finishing fourth in steals with 7.8 per game. However, they can be very inconsistent. Contrast that with the Aces, who were a very good defensive team, anchored by the Defensive Player of the Year in Wilson.
Several times in the playoffs we saw the Aces were able to take stops when needed. For example, Game 3 against the Seattle Storm was originally supposed to go back and forth in overtime after the end of the fourth quarter.
At times, I saw Dream fail to close the game when they had the lead because they couldn’t stop on defense consistently and make shots when they had to. Aces did both of those things and that’s why they have the trophy at the moment. If Sapna wants to take the next step as a franchise, she will have to do the same.
Dominant post play
One of the biggest problems for Dream is that his team has too many guards and not big enough. She has eight guards in the 14 women’s roster. The retirement of the center Kia Vaughan added to his troubles. Of course, Wilson is probably the best player in the league at the moment, having won the championship, MVP and Defensive Player of the Year this season.
I’ve beat this drum a lot since the season ended, but the best position would be for Dream to actually win the No. 1 Pick & Draft Boston. With his ability to control the post with his scoring and rebounding, I am sure he will complement Howard perfectly.
We see that in Las Vegas, as Wilson is perfectly complemented by not one, not two, but three elite guards in Plum, Young and Grey. Padover could set up something similar with Howard, Hayes, and McDonald’s in Atlanta. Even if it’s not Boston, it could be Elizabeth Kitley, Tamari’s or someone else.
Those are all points that both my friend and I were able to come up with. This off-season is going to be very interesting as Padover attempts to rebuild the team he built in Las Vegas. Even though he wasn’t there when they won, he deserves a lot of credit for the Aces championship because they are the team he built. Let’s see if he can do the same in Atlanta.
Anyway, I’m officially over my time here now swish appeal, It was really great and I am extremely blessed to be able to write here. I enjoyed learning more about women’s basketball while writing about it at the same time. I will always deeply value my experience here and take the skills I have acquired here later in my career. May everyone and God bless you for so long.