No one knows what WNBA teams need to focus on in the upcoming draft better than their star players. In addition to being extremely competitive, they are knowledgeable about the game and have ideas on who might be available when their team makes its first pick. WNBA.com recently asked players from each team what type of player they think their team needs to improve in the 2004 season.
Adrian Williams – Phoenix Mercury
"I was in Sam’s Club the other day, and someone came running up to me and wanted to know if we were going to get Diana. And it was totally someone who you did not think would follow the WNBA. But he follows college basketball and is becoming a WNBA fan. So if we were to pick up Diana Taurasi
, we would bring in a whole different crowd, a new fanbase. Diana is very marketable because everyone knows her and she has a familiar face. The other players in the draft this year will also be great. Everyone near the top and middle is going to get someone great, but Diana brings something that is so different."
Stacey Dales-Schuman – Washington Mystics
"We are going to look for a player with scoring ability and can share the scoring load. The more balance you have on a team, the better you are going to do, in my opinion. I think we’re going to take someone with quickness. If you are drafted in the WNBA, you almost inevitably have quickness and someone who can score, defend, an all-around versatile player."
Andrea Stinson – Charlotte Sting
"Right now, we have a veteran team. Any young player we get will fit in because they will be learning. That’s what we are all about – giving them someone to learn from. I know I’m not going to be able to play forever. I’m not sure what position Coach Lacey is thinking or what area she is looking to improve, but as far as the Sting, we definitely need some inside help. We have Rushia Brown, but she can’t do it by herself. This is a league where you need to have depth on the inside."
Nykesha Sales – Connecticut Sun
"We need a point guard now. With Pee Wee (Shannon Johnson) now with San Antonio, we do have a veteran in Debbie Black, but she is going to need help. We also need a presence on the inside to compete with some of those good teams out there, especially in the east, that are well-rounded on the perimeter and in the post. Detroit is strong in both of those areas and we need people that can help us match up with those kinds of teams."
Becky Hammon – New York Liberty
"I think we need a big 3. Someone that can handle, or try to handle, a player like Tamika Catchings, Swin Cash, be able to guard those people. They are the prototype for those threes that are coming up, so someone like that. In the past, we have had difficulty scoring consistently. We have lacked a regular scorer that will step up in games and give us 15 to 20 points a game. We need a couple of people to step in a fill those roles."
Sue Bird – Seattle Storm
"This draft is going to be so interesting. It is the first draft that is really so deep. Teams actually have specific needs, but it’s hard to know who is going to go where. I think number one, number two, number three all have some idea. But after that, if Team X needs a big player, they might take a big player even if they think a guard is better. Because this draft is going to be based on need, we really have no idea who is going to be available when we choose at the sixth pick. There are a lot of good players out there, though, and no matter who we get, whether it’s a forward, a guard, a scorer, we are going to add someone really good to our team and it’s going to help us out a lot."
Tamika Catchings – Indiana Fever
"I think the main areas we need to focus on are post players and two-guards. We have to get better defensively. We went through spurts where we did well and were able to keep the ball out of people’s hands, but there were a lot of times where we couldn’t do that and I think that’s important for us. Since we’re not a very tall team, we have to be a defensive-minded team."
Kara Lawson – Sacramento Monarchs
"We are pretty much set in every position, but if there was one weakness for us, it would be depth at the 3 position small forward position. That would be our greatest need, but with this draft, you just take the best available player. There are so many great players out there that can impact your team and our system is easy to pick up. I think Coach Whisenant will do a great job in terms of picking someone, but I think he’ll just go with the best player available."
Tina Thompson – Houston Comets
"I think that we just have to be more consistent and bring a high level of intensity. We had lapses mentally throughout some games and that was our weakness, but we are a younger team now. We are meshing the old core of veterans with a lot of new players. The familiarity of having a season together under our belts will definitely help us."
Nikki Teasley – Los Angeles Sparks
"We will take anything that comes our way. Getting Teresa Weatherspoom was a great addition, not having to give up anything and being able to add her to our team, I think that was wonderful. If we could get a couple more just like her, I’d be satisfied."
Ruth Riley – Ruth Riley
"We want to continue to improve and will be happy to add a player that helps us do so. We are a very young team. We want to continue to improve our talents, making us harder to guard individually and as a team and continue to get a good balance and good players to support us."