The Dallas Wings would really like to forget their inaugural season in the Metroplex. The squad finished with an 11-23 record, the second worst record in the WNBA, and ended up with the 3rd pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft1. There are 12 teams in the WNBA, eight of those teams make the playoffs, and the Wings were not one of them… The Wings first season in Dallas was possibly the worst first date you could image. But after an offseason of trades, drafting, and shuffling only six of the 13 players that suited up for the Wings remain on the roster. Let’s take a look at the remaining veterans on Wings roster this season.
In this breakdown, we will list some NBA comparisons for reference2. These comparisons do not reflect the level of play so much as the style of play. For example, we compare Glory Johnson to Nene but she is a starter-level player on the Wings. However, she is a big that can grab a lot of rebounds, defend positionally, and score around the basket.
Skylar Diggins-Smith3 is the one name that everyone should know on the Wings. Diggins4 averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 assists per game in her rookie season (2013) and shot up to 20.1 points and 5 assists per game in 2014 as she became the WNBA’s Most Improved Player and made the ALL-WNBA 1st Team. Drake’s former love interest was in an All-Star in both 2014 & 2015 but hasn’t been able to return to peak form since tearing her ACL in July of 2015. Last season was not a good representation of what Diggins can do and she hopes to return to All-Star form this season.
Diggins’ game is comprised of attacking the basket, driving & kicking to teammates, getting to the free throw line, and sharking for bad passes to turn them into transition buckets. In 2014 Skylar ranked 1st in Free Throws, Free Throw Attempts, and Minutes Played. She is not an elite three-point shooter, a career 29% from range in the WNBA, but her driving abilities still create space on offense. Her NBA comparison is John Wall5 because of her quickness, driving ability, passing, and defensive awareness. Diggins is the leader of this team and the Wings will ride or die right there with her. Watch her work:
Glory Johnson is the other name you may have heard because of her past relationship with Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner. Johnson was the (then Tulsa Shock’s) 4th pick overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft. After making the All-Star team in 2013 & 2014 Johnson missed the entire 2015 season on maternity leave6 and then was suspended for 7 games following a domestic violence incident with Griner.
Unironically, Johnson posted the WNBA’s first ever 20 point 20 rebound stat line in a win over Griner’s Mercury last season.
Her NBA comparison was difficult, she’s an athletic relentless 6’3” forward that grabs a lot of rebounds and plays good positional defense. We settled on Nene because he embodies those factors but Markieff Morris was highly considered.
Karima7 Christmas-Kelly, the other hyphenated veteran leader of this team, started her career as a second round pick by the Washington Mystics in 2011. She was waived just three months later after playing in 14 games. She was signed by the Tulsa Shock8 as a free agent the following day. A year later she was traded to the Indiana Fever and then resigned with the [Now-Wings] on February 5th, 2015.
KCK9 is a 6’0” forward that has become a solid three-point shooter and role player for the Wings. Her NBA comparison is Tobias Harris because she is good at a lot of things but does not jump off the page in any specific category. She could also slide between both forward spots, handle the ball, and grab double-digit rebounds when necessary.
Also, here’s her scoring 42 points in a game in South Korea.
Courtney Paris spent the first few seasons of her career bouncing around until she found a home with the Tulsa Shock10 in 2012. Paris has found inconsistent playing time in her team-leading seven seasons in the WNBA, but started all but 2 of the Wings’ 102 games the past three seasons. She is listed at a generous 6’4” and is one of the best rebounders in the WNBA. Paris is 2nd in WNBA History in Rebounding Percentage (20.44%) behind Cheryl Ford (20.46%) and led the league in both total rebounds and rebounds per game in 2014 & 2015.
Paris is the clear starter at center despite her questionable fit with Up-Tempo Fred’s11 preferred style of play. Her NBA comparison is Tristian Thompson because of the rebounding ability and lack of offensive polish.
Before she had to sit out the last two games of the 2016 season and get hip surgery, Powers had a strong showing her rookie season. Averaging 10.4/2.7/1.0 points/rebounds/steals per game and shooting 36.8% from three Powers made the All-WNBA Rookie team.
The 6’0” guard/forward averaged almost 22/10/2 points/rebounds/steals per game her final two seasons at Michigan State. And she was the first three-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree in MSU History. Powers future in the WNBA is bright and her personality on and off the court as a cheerleader while injured provides a spark for the entire team. Her NBA Comparison is Khris Middleton because of her shooting ability and rebounding ability as a wing player.
Theresa Plaisance is a 4th-year player that still hasn’t found her rhythm or role in the WNBA. She has played all three seasons with the Shock/Wings and averaged just 8.9 minutes per appearance in her 73 games played. In college, she averaged 17/8.3 points/rebound per game her junior year and 13/7.2 points/rebounds per game her senior year. Her NBA Comp is Skal because she is a 6’5” big that likes to take jumpers and attempted 45 threes in 27 games last season.
There’s another German Basketball player in DFW, Kayla Thornton is a 6’1” forward that made the Wings roster as a free agent. After securing a spot on the Mystics in 2015, her rookie season, Thornton spent last season in Israel and last winter in South Korea. She is an undersized 4 that that occasionally steps out and takes a three but mostly operates as a rim runner and energy player. Her NBA Comparison is Kenneth Faried because of all of those reasons.
*All WNBA Stats and Pictures via WNBA.com
*College Stats via msuspartans.com, lsusports.net, and und.com
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