What Essence Carson signing with Mercury means for the West

Essence Carson is making the move from Las Angeles to Phoenix.

A free agent who has spent the last three seasons with the Sparks, Phoenix gains a three-time WNBA Champion and 11-year veteran in Carson. In her 11 years, this is the third team she has signed with. One among many of Carson’s highlights includes winning a WNBA Championship with LA in 2016. She started in all 43 games that season.

Carson played over 20 minutes a game and averaged 7.5 points per game for the Sparks last year. In somewhat of a down year for the team, finishing third in the Western Conference at 19-15 overall, Los Angeles took down Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs but were eliminated by Washington in a second-round blowout.

Not only does Carson add tremendous playing and championship experience to the Mercury’s roster, who was one win away from a trip to the WNBA Finals last season, but will be a strong addition to the perimeter. In 2018, she cashed in on 39 three-pointers at a 36.1 percent clip, the second-best mark in her 11-year career.

If Brittney Griner continues to dominate inside, Phoenix, as a team, will continue to dominate on the outside. With five players, including Carson, who connected on more than 30 threes last year, she adds another layer of scary to Phoenix’s squad beyond the arc. The Mercury led the league in points per game (89.6), field goal percentage (50.3) and three-point field goal percentage (39.9), while finishing second in assists per game (20.3)  in 2018.

Offensively, Carson will fit right in. Between Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, DeWanna Bonner, Briann January, Sancho Mitchell and the up-and-coming Yvonne Turner, Phoenix is a legitimate contender for a WNBA championship.

Three of those players averaged double-digit points: Taurasi, Griner and Bonner in 2018. January shot 47 percent from three and is one of the best defenders in the league. And there were nine players on Phoenix’s roster who played 13 minutes or more.

Can you say, serious depth and versatility? Carson will give them even more.

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