Aerial Powers saw the lineup against the Los Angeles Sparks last month—specifically her place in it, as starting center for the Dallas Wings—and believes there’s been an error.
“I see myself as a guard,” Powers said, laughing, during a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. “And I did see that, but I don’t think I’m a center.”
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The confusion from those listing lineups is understandable, and reflects Powers’ array of skills. The second-year player, picked fifth overall by Dallas in the 2016 WNBA draft, was listed as a forward at the time. And here’s how the lineup against Los Angeles read:
So how did it go? Against the Sparks, an ultra-big team, Powers scored a career-high 23 points.
Definitions aside, there’s also the varied skills that muddle the picture even further. Powers is 6′ tall and athletic, making her capable of guarding forwards and bigger guards alike. She shoots 42.1 percent from three this season, up from 36.8 percent last year (though due to injuries, she’s played in only five games so far).
And several around-the-basket metrics have improved dramatically here in year two: her defensive rebounding percentage is up to 17.4 from last season’s 12.2, while her block percentage more than doubled, to 2.1 percent in 2017 from 0.9 percent in 2016.
“I do try to rebound as much as possible,” Powers said. “Being from Michigan State, I left Michigan State with a lot of double-doubles. It’s a little harder in this league, because the girls are a little bigger and stronger, but I try to rebound as much as I can.”
The flexibility makes Powers a tremendous fit for the Fred Williams system, in which eight different players are averaging at least one three-point attempt per game, including bigs Theresa Plaisance and Glory Johnson, but Powers’ usage rate of 25.4 percent actually leads the team’s balanced attack.
Is the next element of Powers’ game a Sylvia Fowles-style set of power moves around the rim? Not so fast, according to Powers.
“I would like to post up smaller guards, I think I can,” Powers said. “But with the post players, the most I think I can do is bang with them, help with rebounding.”
Watch all the things Powers can do Thursday night at 8 PM EST on ESPN2, when the Wings take on the Phoenix Mercury.