The WNBA draft order comes down to the Wings
The world of the Dallas Wings is utterly changed from where the franchise was just a few years ago. It’s not something team president and CEO Greg Bibb dwells on.
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“Hindsight’s always 20/20,” Bibb said. “I think anyone who tells you they look back at a certain situation and don’t see opportunity to do things a little differently is not being genuine in their response. With that said, I really haven’t given much thought to the past. We’ve been very focused on the future. I think we did a really good job in getting as much value as possible back from those two transactions over the last two years. When you think about the fact that we have as a direct result of those deals: Isabelle Harrison, Moriah Jefferson and Astou Ndour already on the roster. We will have the 5th pick and the 7th pick and the 21st in this draft to go along with our own second. Now we have two additional first rounds to go with our first round next year. I think that’s a pretty good return based on the situation we’re in looking at those transactions.”
With the WNBA draft fast approaching, many are waiting to see just what the Dallas Wings will do.
They’ve already used some of their assets. On Wednesday, the Wings were involved in a trade with the New York Liberty and the Washington Mystics. The trade sent Tina Charles to Washington in exchange for Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, multiple picks and Tayler Hill. New York gets Walker-Kimbrough, Hill, as well as picks 9, 12, & 15 in this year’s draft and Dallas received a 2021 first round pick from Washington and New York’s 2021 second round pick.
“For us it creates roster flexibility,” Bibb said. “As a young team you’re always looking for roster flexibility to provide you with the most options, not only for now, but down the road. By making this deal we create some additional salary cap space, open a roster spot and also allows us to acquire two more picks next year, most notably D.C.’s first round pick. You know, right now, we have 2, 5, 7, & 21 in this draft so we have three first round picks in 2020, now we’re sitting on three first round picks in 2021. We believe we’re going to have a very productive draft on Friday night and are well positioned again to do it next year.”
Even so, there’s no reason to rule out additional moves. Bibb certainly didn’t.
“Eh, I don’t know, it’s Wednesday and the draft is Friday so we’ll see,” Bibb said.
Of course, Bibb knows the value of those picks is greatest before they are selected, giving more teams wishing to add to their rosters a chance to make the choice.
As for what the next good Wings team will look like, Bibb said history will not necessarily be a guide.
“I think it’s a different makeup, scenario and situation altogether,” Bibb said. “The team that made consecutive playoff appearances, I guess especially the second year of that, we were anchored by two superstar players and we built around them. [We] had spent a long time trying to get both of them on the roster at the same time to construct a complimentary set of players to maximize their performance. This is a completely different process. This is aggregating as many draft picks, as much young talent as you can, create a competitive environment and come out of the process with 12 very talented young players who can grow together, learn together, probably lose a little bit together, but ultimately end up win on a consistent basis together to keep that core group together for the foreseeable future.”
In short: Dallas doesn’t mind the growing pains. As the youngest team in the league last season, they don’t have a problem getting a little younger this season as long as it keeps their core together for years to come.
To get draft day right, all decision makers need to be on the same page. You not only want to get the player on the court correct when drafting, you want to get the right people to represent the franchise for years to come. That’s a joint effort between Bibb and head coach Brian Agler, Bibb said.
“We make all of our decisions in the basketball side of business in collaboration,” Bibb said. “It’s not only myself and Coach Agler, but the other assistant coaches and our basketball operations personnel. Everyone works hard. Basically we spend the entire calendar year preparing for a draft, certainly from the start of the women’s college season, but we all log miles and hours evaluating talent both live and on tape. We have collaborative conversations that include healthy disagreements, different perspectives, scenario planning and then ultimately we reach a consensus. When I submit our picks it’s my voice making the picks, but it’s our talented team of basketball operations folks and coaches behind me that allow me to make that pick with confidence.”
With three picks in the top 7, that group decision is more important now than it’s ever been.
This reset will change the organization for years to come no matter what.
In the end it the Wings have a plan for the big picture and even managed to position themselves a bit next year for the next draft.
“Now it’s up to us to execute that plan,” Bibb said, “and take the final most important step to ensure we get the right players in the draft on Friday night and then in 2021 as well.”
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