Notebook: Storm Preparing for Tough Decisions
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | April 26, 2010
Seattle Storm Head Coach Brian Agler likes what he's seen from the 10 players on hand for the team's first two days of practice during 2010 training camp, and that's something of a mixed blessing. With half the team's roster still due into camp - including four starters and veteran newcomers Svetlana Abrosimova and Le'coe Willingham - the solid play from the early arrivals means some challenging decisions are apparently ahead.
"I think the best way to explain it is we've got a really good, athletic, active team right now," said Agler after Monday's practice, the first open to the media. "We know we have some really good players yet to come in and we're going to have some tough decisions to make, which is good and bad. It's tough to make difficult decisions but it's good from the standpoint that we think we're going to have several options."
With six or seven spots penciled in right now, that leaves four or five up for grabs. Talented players, including ones with WNBA experience, almost certainly will not make the final cut. Exactly who will fill out the roster is something not even Agler knows at this point.
"You go into the season thinking in your mind, 'This could be what our final roster looks like,' but that's all just speculation because it's still decided out here on the practice floor," he said. "I will tell you this. I think, after just two days, it's going to be a lot more competitive in the end than I thought it was going to be initially."
Agler also hinted there could be more additions in store to the roster in the frontcourt. That could affect the final roster, and the salary cap - which has been reduced this year - will definitely come into play. It will likely be impossible for the Storm to keep all veteran players to fill out the roster.
The roster may start to be trimmed later this week, after Agler and the coaching staff have had a few days' worth of practice - including a scrimmage against the Chinese National Team Wednesday in Portland - to evaluate players.
"I think the best way to do that is to make decisions when they're obvious," explained Agler. "At this point, we don't have any obvious decisions. Our plan is to practice tomorrow and go to Portland Wednesday. We're off Thursday and I'm sure that off day we'll really discuss things."
Agler described the team as making "good progress" in learning his system during the first two days. So far, the focus has been on installing an offense. Playing against another team four days into camp has accelerated that timeline to some extent.
"We want to be somewhat organized when we go down there, so we're working on that," he said. "Our offense, I'm sure we'll put more time into that at this point than we will our defense. But the defensive end is sort of our identity, so we'll be demanding of our players at that end of the floor."
Having veterans in camps helps Agler move more quickly. Three players - forwards Camille Little and Ashley Walker and center Ashley Robinson - are holdovers who are familiar with his system, and the Storm has two other WNBA vets on hand in guards Loree Moore and Chelsea Newton.
"To have Camille and Ashley Robinson and Ashley Walker out here, it's been very helpful," Agler said. "Then you add a couple of other veterans like Loree and Chelsea, they've been through it - they know. That's five people, that's half our roster right now, so that's been very good. But I will say this. From a point guard standpoint, (rookie) Alison (Lacey)'s done a very good job. She picks things up and she's been good."
- As expected, Storm third-round pick Tijana Krivacevic will not be joining the team this season. The Hungarian post is just 20 and can continue developing overseas, where she plays in the Euroleague for MKB Euroleasing Sopron, before taking her shot at the WNBA. Agler did say Krivacevic might be coming to the United States to visit her sister, who lives in New York, and could make a trip to Seattle to familiarize herself with the city.
- The Storm will add two more players to its camp roster tomorrow evening, when guard Lindsey Wilson and forward Laura Kurz return from Greece. Their season ended yesterday. Agler indicated Kurz and Wilson are scheduled to complete their physicals on Wednesday morning before traveling with the team to Portland.