Thorough Process Results in Storm's Final Roster
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | May 14, 2010
Just before Friday's 11 a.m. Pacific deadline, the Seattle Storm finalized its 11-player roster to start the 2010 season by waiving guards Loree Moore and Aja Parham and forward Ashley Walker. That the decision came down to the final day reflected how difficult it was for Storm Head Coach Brian Agler.
"We've had difficult cuts before, there's no question about it, and it's never easy," Agler said after the Storm practiced Friday. "This one seemed to be a little bit more taxing."
Agler described a "thorough process" that involved him talking to a variety of sources to get their input. Those discussions helped convince Agler of the need for center Ashley Robinson, the only true center and shot-blocking threat on the Storm's bench.
"That was a very common theme coming from most people - that we needed to really have size around the basket," explained Agler. "Obviously Ashley's shown us she's a very good defender. She's got length, she's a good athlete, so we leaned that way."
While Moore's fate was sealed - at least for the time being - by arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week, the other two cuts were more painful. Agler made it clear that all 13 players left in camp had done enough to make the roster, but it simply was not possible to keep all of them because of the WNBA's 11-player rosters. Parham was one of the team's final cuts for the second straight year, while the Storm also said goodbye to 2009 first-round pick Walker, whom Agler called "a good player in her own right."
Ultimately, the key was fitting together a roster. That made both Robinson's height and the versatility and size offered by Czech forward Jana Veselá valuable to the Storm.
"She's a big perimeter player," Agler said of Veselá. "She's got a wealth of experience. She's an exceptional passer, an exceptional defender, has length on the perimeter. People who have played overseas know what she's made of and how good a player she can be."
BISHOP MAKES IT
One of the happiest players on Friday was rookie post Abby Bishop, who also made the Storm's final roster. At 21, Bishop will be the second-youngest player in the WNBA this season. (No. 1 overall pick Tina Charles is a week younger.) Yet the potential and perimeter shooting she flashed during training camp made her a keeper.
"I'm really excited," Bishop said. "I was nervous this morning when I came into the changing rooms. I wasn't sure whether to tape and get ready. It's a great feeling to have made the final 11. I look forward to the game on Sunday."
"I'm really happy for her," added fellow Aussie and WNBL teammate Lauren Jackson. "I think she came in here and really showed what she's got."
Jackson, who helped tip off Agler to Bishop's ability, gave the Storm's coach credit for bringing Bishop to camp to see whether she could contribute in the WNBA.
"He took a gamble on her and I think it paid off," Jackson said. "She's obviously very talented and one of the Australians that is better-suited for this league."
For now, Bishop isn't expecting to play a big role, but is happy to be a part of the team.
"It's huge," she said, "considering most people are still at college at my age. But just to be making it - no matter if I was 25 or 21 - it's something I've had on my goal list for a few years now. I've always wanted to achieve this. I know my role isn't going to be playing, but as the 10th, 11th player I'm still excited to be part of this great group. When my time comes, I'll be ready."
BUILDING A ROTATION
"I know who's starting," said Agler. (That would be Sue Bird, Tanisha Wright, Swin Cash, Camille Little and Jackson.) "I think Le'coe (Willingham) and Svetlana (Abrosimova) will be right in there off the bench. We'll gauge the rest of the way. Alison (Lacey) will be in there at some point."
The size of the rotation, Agler said, "Depends where Ashley fits in. Jana can come in. We're going to go through a process of experiments still."