Skylar Diggins-Smith has been a member of the Phoenix Mercury since 2020, but it’s time for her to go.
Currently, in her third year wearing purple and orange, Diggins-Smith has had a successful run— statistically speaking that is.
She’s averaged 18.1 PPG, with efficient shooting, and 4.9 APG across three seasons, backing these stats up with two All-Star appearances. She even averages 33.9 minutes per game this season, good enough for the third-most in the league.
Here’s the issue: The Mercury aren’t good.
Lack of Teamwork
As you all know, basketball is a team game.
“There’s no ‘i’ in team.”
“Teamwork makes the dream work.”
I could go on and on with corny teamwork sayings, but you get the point. In order to be successful, you need to work together. Diggins-Smith and the Mercury have failed to do this, which is why they are severely underperforming. We had Phoenix as a title contender in our preseason WNBA preview, but they are looking far from one now.
Phoenix started the year 3-8 and they haven’t done much to turn it around. Currently seeing themselves with a 10-14 record at the All-Star break, the Mercury are on the outside looking in when it comes the postseason.
Even one of their players, former MVP Tina Charles, decided she had had enough with Phoenix’s woes as she departed her squad a few weeks ago to finish the season in Seattle.
While Britney Griner, the team’s star center, currently being detained in Russia most likely has an impact on the team’s moral, it should technically bring them closer together. In reality, chemistry seems to be at a low point.
Now don’t get me wrong, Skylar Diggins-Smith is a baller and has been one since she started playing basketball growing up in Indiana, but she obviously doesn’t want to be in the Grand Canyon State any longer.
Twitter helps us come to this revelation.
In a recently deleted tweet, the Phoenix guard expressed her displeasure with head coach Vanessa Nygaard’s comments about Diana Taurasi, a teammate of hers, not being named an All-Star. Nygaard noted that the All-Star game will “not be an All-Star game because Diana Taurasi is not playing,” which Diggins-Smith responded to with a clown emoji. She felt disrespected by her coach and I don’t blame her.
Diggins-Smith is an All-Star this year, therefore she took it personal when Nygaard essentially disrespected the talent of her and the rightfully selected 2022 All-Star field.
The twitter incident isn’t the only time Diggins-Smith has had bad blood with other members of her team, as she got into it with Taurasi on the bench during a Mercury game in May.
Although it’s unclear why this heated exchange took place, it’s nothing short of concerning given the fact that Phoenix was winning when it occurred. After the game, neither Diggins-Smith nor Taurasi mentioned anything about the incident and Coach Nygaard just chalked it up as “passion.” A shouting match between two teammates having to be broken up by a coach is not the type of “passion” I want to see with my team.
Change of Scenery
With Griner out, this season was Diggins-Smith’s chance to be the leader for the Mercruy and she hasn’t been able to successfully show that she can take on this role. Now I’m not saying she can’t be a leader, but if she can, it certainly isn’t going to happen in Phoenix.
For this reason, the Mercury need to say goodbye to the star guard and ship her to a team that she can positively impact on and off the court.
It’s time for Phoenix to realize they are in a toxic relationship, hit Diggins-Smith with a, “are you a stopwatch? Because our time is up,” and move on.
It’s for the better and Diggins-Smith deserves a better opportunity.