Gimme Five: Off The Court Moments

To celebrate five seasons in Atlanta, the Dream is compiling various top-five lists from those five seasons. We previously listed the top-five on-the-court moments in Dream history. Today, we look at the top five off-the court moments in team history.

No. 5 – Selecting key players in expansion/dispersal drafts
In February of 2008, Atlanta selected 13 players from other WNBA squads in an expansion draft that gave the Dream its first players since officially becoming a franchise. Among those players was Erika de Souza, who has starred for the team in all five of its seasons in Atlanta, and Iziane Castro Marques, who was a top player for the team’s first four seasons. In December of 2008, the Dream added Sancho Lyttle in the dispersal draft after Houston shut down operations, and Lyttle has excelled over the past four seasons in Atlanta.

No. 4 – Earning Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year in the same season
The 2009 season saw Atlanta improve from a 4-30 record in 2008 to an 18-14 mark and playoff appearance in 2009. Following that season, Angel McCoughtry was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies with averages of 12.8 points, 2.2 steals and 2.1 assists. In addition, Marynell Meadors was named the league’s Coach of the Year for guiding the 14-win turnaround, which was the second-biggest in WNBA history.

No. 3 – Winning the 2009 Draft Lottery to earn the right to make the first pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft
In December of 2008, following the team’s initial season, the lottery was held to determine the draft order for the 2009 WNBA Draft. Atlanta, having had the league’s worst record in 2008, had the best chance at the No. 1 pick, but chances were still less than 50/50, as the percentages showed the Dream had a 42 percent chance. But the Dream celebrated when it was announced that the team won the lottery and had the No. 1 pick, which led to ….

No. 2 – Drafting Angel McCoughtry with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 Draft
Angel McCoughtry was not the automatic selection for the No. 1 pick. Prior to the draft, some pundits had Atlanta selecting Reneee Montgomery out of UConn or Maryland’s Marissa Coleman. But the Dream selected McCoughtry, and it proved to be a wise choice, as she so far has earned All-Star honors, a league scoring title and an Olympic gold medal while also taking the team to back-to-back WNBA Finals appearances.

No. 1 – Atlanta being awarded a WNBA franchise
The most significant moment of the franchise’s first five years was simply coming into existence, as that made every other moment possible. The official announcement came from then-league president Donna Orender on Oct. 17, 2007, in a ceremony at Centennial Park. The team did not yet have a nickname, logo, colors, players or coaches, but that didn’t diminish the excitement following the announcement.