Becky Hammon dreams come true in Vegas

A’ja Wilson’s transition to the WNBA was as smooth as entering the basketball court. Her rookie season went the way every fan would imagine a first-choice rookie season – so dominant that fans don’t have to do much fantasizing by the end. That early, polished footwork told you that Wilson would be a WNBA star for a long time. The numbers told you it was really the same: She finished third in the league by scoring that season, and tied with Diana Torassi. It was her aja.

In connection with that, the ace-picked players who took first place before and after Wilson – adding Aces to the lottery/Oilers luck category – were disappointing at times. Who wouldn’t? Jackie Young, the goalkeeper recruited to the upside in 2019, has flashed back into the junior season: She can drive through people with sheer strength, and keep her defensive. But the offensive numbers were disappointing enough to require some imagination. She played Kelsey Plum’s first year in the WNBA in an equally memorable way. In 2017, the front office It is said believed So few of their first pick that they considered trading it on draft day. After injuring her ankle in pre-season, she played the off minutes as a starter. Bill Laimbere took over as the next General Manager, after the franchise moved from San Antonio to Las Vegas, and plum description He saw him in the 2017 tape as a “lost person. It was the pressure on her, being asked to do things she wasn’t used to. Kind of a lost year for her.” Last year, Plum’s fourth season, she ended up in a bench role, winning her sixth Woman of the Year award. This was her first season, averaging over 10 points per game.

Training is all about imagination, which is why a change of coaching can be so refreshing. Here’s a new person! Bring a new set of their eyes! to a list that could use a new perspective. When Becky Hammon took over the Aces from Limeber this summer, the first thing she said to reporters was that the team would get more triples. Las Vegas ace teams, at 8-1, have kept that promise: Under Hammon, they take 25.1 per game, the second-most in the NBA, and move up from the league’s lowest tally with 13.5 per game last year. In a 104-76 onslaught for Sparks last week, the team tied the WNBA record to score three goals in one game, with 18. Where they’ve always been a very effective three-point shooting team, they’ve now added the three-point the sound to make it important. “If you’re on guard, move it. If you’re open, shoot him. He’s not very genius,” Hammon said after the Sparks match.

Genius or not, the system has helped unlock Young, who made big leaps defensive in her final season but plays with new confidence up front. With an average of 18 points per game, she became one of the best players in the league Kevin Bilton’s War Scale. “For me, that’s a mentality thing,” Young reporters. “If you come in and feel relaxed and confident and aggressive, it shows on the court.” Everyone seems to be enjoying more the green light that Hamon has given the team. Even base guard Chelsea Gray, whom I would have kissed and admired for his mid-range game, was shooting from deep; Some infectious effects may have a role at play. “Basketball is a game of confidence. When you see one or two in the basket, people roll in,” Hammon said after the Sparks game. “When you see the ball go through the hoop, it becomes really fun, as an attacking player. Especially when you know your teammates will find you when you’re open.”

Despite all the differences in their shot profile, the Aces didn’t give up everything that made them so good under Laimbeer. They still get to the line more than most teams and use Wilson to cement a solid defense. The starting lineup of Young, Wilson, Gray, Derica Hamby, and Bloom has an offensive rating of 112.5 and a defensive rating of 88.2, making it the best in the league by a good margin.

And yes, that’s Bloom in the starting lineup. “Fuck on the bench,” Tell Bloom The Athletic before the season starts. “I am tired of being off the bench. I am a key player in this league and I know that; I think everyone does it.” Hamon agreed, and transferred both the Sixth Aces, Plum and Hampi, to form this charged starting lineup. As a beginner, Plum averaged 18 points in the game, shooting more than ever, and flying in there, like the killer everyone hoped she would be.

The downside to the supercharged starter kit is the very drained seat. With Plum and Humpy, the Aces deck was the team’s strength. When the Aces played the Sky game on Saturday, their seat didn’t really do anything except let Sky cut off Vegas’ lead. Seriously: All 83 aces came from the start. In actual qualifying, with shorter courses, that might not matter much. But on the way there, as a matter of managing fatigue and injury risk, it will help the Aces get some bench shareholders they can trust. (One, Riquna Williams, was dealing with a foot injury but should be back soon.) Vegas’ only loss of the season, to the Mystics, occurred because Washington’s stacked defense weakened the starters. Could the same thing happen when they face another elite defense at the Connecticut Sun tonight and Thursday? Hmmm. Let’s ask Kelsey Bloom what she thinks of all this.

There will be plenty of time to pick out the finer details on fatigue and bench depth as the season goes on, but in the end there’s not much to do but salute a team with an 8-1 record and 14.7 plus rating. Hamoun carried her vision, the players made it a reality, and no one has much to complain about.