Hoops with House 9

Hey Sky Fans!... the road warrior here… it’s all fun and games being on the road, right? Four consecutive 4:00 AM wake-up calls after shutting it down around 1:00 AM each night. My daily meals were grabbing an egg sandwich, chicken fingers, burgers and coffee… lots of coffee. I almost forgot I did have some really good BBQ in Nashville and an incredible waffle cone at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Did I mention how much I love hotel beds and airports, endless airports. Although, I must say the beds at the O’Hare Westin are amazing. In fact, that entire property is phenomenal. If you’ve never checked it out… do it!

You know what I just realized… I was on the road for seven days and four of my breakfasts were in the Philadelphia airport… Jet Rock Café… and I didn’t see one game in Philly! Strange.

For those that don’t travel much, enjoy the ride – it’s fast and furious this time. For those of you that do travel a great deal… you know, it’s enjoyable, it’s really exciting, but it wears you out. I had to take Monday and just shut it down and regroup.

Let’s see… it was: Richmond, VA, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indianapolis, (Philadelphia) Nashville, Knoxville, Philadelphia, PA, Manchester, NH, Lowell, MA, Philadelphia, and Richmond, VA: the last eight games – in 72 hours! 3,215 miles. A basketball junkie’s paradise! It was a fantastic trip, so many good teams, players and games. Enjoy the video.

I saw several other WNBA teams and agents out on the road. You can tell it’s getting close to draft time! (*April 11th in case you missed the announcement.) We’re (the WNBA) the first professional sports league to ever hold their draft at the ESPN Studios in Bristol, CT! The Sky draft headquarters will be right here in Chicago and we’ll be locked in via satellite to Bristol.

I know many of you have been wondering… what is going on in the Sky player personnel world. Why there hasn’t been more “action.” There is a ton of “action” going on, just no “reportable action!” Player action is defined in many different ways. I’m not sure how many of you heard my radio interview on WSTR’s Dishin’ & Swishin’ with David Siegel. I tried to sum up many player personnel thoughts and draft ideas during the show. Check it out. We cover the draft, our current team and the upcoming season.

Sometimes, the “action” seems slow – when really there is a great deal going on. Everyday, coaching staff’s throughout the WNBA engage in many conversations with each other and/or agents regarding current players, draft picks, free agents as well as European prospects. Most days I feel like I have my headset stuck to my head all day! These conversations are usually the informational fact finding and feeling out of what each staff feels will help improve their roster… and then there’s the magic formula: what they are willing to give up to try and get it. I always find this part interesting. There are coaches who speak in circles – you definitely don’t know what they want or what they are willing to give up. Agents always speak “agent-speak.” That’s a hybrid of the English language, vagueness and then laced with every fact as to why their player(s) will be “the answer” to your team’s needs. I have to give the agents credit though… they advocate hard for their players and I respect that. Then there are the very open coaches – they tell you who is available on their roster, who is not and whom they want from your roster. That’s really the majority of the coaches in the WNBA. Lastly, there are always the one or two out there that want someone without having to give up anything in return.

Each team’s staff understands the makeup of their roster, their current players – their strengths and weaknesses, the upcoming draft and has an understanding on how to best improve their team. Also, each staff has a pretty good idea of what will improve each of the other teams in the league as well.

I try to employ a simple philosophy… Do what you do to improve your team, period. If it improves your team, don’t worry about if you are trading within your conference or to a certain team or if you think it will improve the other team too much. Do what you do to improve YOUR team, have NO other agenda.

In watching our games from the 2010 season Coach Chatman and our staff has identified areas for us to improve. The 2010 squad was able to consistently put points on the board most nights, but was not able to consistently get the defensive stops and rebounds needed to close out games. Our opponent’s shot over 44% from the field against us in 2010 and out rebounded us by an average of three rebounds a game. We will address that immediately when training camp starts. That’s not a “player movement” situation… that is a “getting to work” situation. Being committed to defense and rebounding right from day one! Sometimes improvements come through self-evaluation and developing current talent, adjusting a style of play or creating a different mindset. I know many fans only look at “improvement” through making the big trade. Sometimes your greatest assets are right under your nose.

Our staff continues to look and evaluate any potential trade situation and consider it for its ability to improve our team.

In all reality, our roster is pretty balanced. It has very good players that when we commit to each other, commit to defense and commit to rebounding… we will achieve great things. May cannot get here fast enough!

See you next week!

For previous editions of Sky Hoops with House, click here.