It’s been a busy morning for Greg Bibb
After finally ending the months-long negotiation for Liz Cambage, the Dallas Wings have added another big, dealing their 2020 third round pick for 6’7 center Imani McGee-Stafford, a league source confirmed to High Post Hoops.
The move makes a ton of sense for both the Wings and McGee-Stafford, who was the tenth overall pick in the 2016 draft, and is still looking for a foothold in the WNBA.
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McGee-Stafford was one of the most effective rookies for the Chicago Sky in 2016, finishing in the top ten in the league in both rebounding and block percentage. She was similarly effective on a rate basis in 2017, but fell out of favor with then-Sky coach Amber Stocks, who needed to juggle playing time between McGee-Stafford and Stefanie Dolson, who’d been the centerpiece of the Elena Delle Donne deal.
After a trade sent McGee-Stafford to Atlanta, she finished strong in 2017, but didn’t receive consistent time in the Atlanta rotation in 2018.
Still, the best indication that McGee-Stafford’s time in Atlanta might be coming to an end happened on 2019 draft night, when the Dream dealt their first-round pick, 11th overall, Brianna Turner to the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for Marie Gulich. In Gulich, Dream head coach Nicki Collen had someone to run her pick-and-roll sets as a backup big, something Gulich excelled at during her collegiate career at Oregon State.
Now, though, McGee-Stafford has a chance to play in a system that both needs her and can maximize what she does best. The Wings do not have a classic rim-protecting five. Theresa Plaisance is more of a do-it-all stretch five, while Kayla Thornton, sometimes deployed at center, is undersize. Glory Johnson is more suited for the four.
Put it this way: other than Cambage and Azura Stevens, who has yet to play this preseason, no Dallas player had a block percentage as high as 2. McGee-Stafford’s 4.6 career rate would have ranked atop the Dallas roster last year, even including Cambage.
The Wings next play at home on Sunday, May 19 against the Indiana Fever for their final preseason tuneup. Then it’ll be a trip someplace familiar for McGee-Stafford, as the Wings open the regular season May 24 in Atlanta.
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