3-31, 6th in Western Conference
The bad luck continued for Tulsa as not only did it not get the No. 1 pick despite having the best chance (44 percent), but it actually fell to the lowest possible position in the lottery, fourth. In 2010, the Shock also had the league’s worst record and they ended up with the No. 2 overall pick, missing out on a chance to draft Minnesota’s Maya Moore.
The Shock are coming off a season that saw them win only three games, so they could use help all over the court. Coach Gary Kloppenburg, who comes to Tulsa after four seasons as an assistant with Indiana, inherits a team that struggled mightily to both rebound and score last year. Those are two major areas that they will look to improve upon this season via the draft and free agency. The Shock were the only team to average under 70 points a game last season (69.2) and they grabbed a league-low 30.7 rebounds per game.
The Shock selected 6-foot-8 Elizabeth Cambage, who averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in her rookie campaign, with the No. 2 selection last year and her continued development, after she comes back to the team following the Olympics, will be important for Tulsa in the paint, a team that also finished last in the league in total blocks. Since Cambage will not be with the team for the first half of the season, that may make size a priority with the No. 4 pick. Despite only being 6-foot-3, Tiffany Jackson is the team’s most productive post player. She plays a physical brand of basketball to make up for her lack of size and she may be called upon to improve on her team-leading averages of 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds from last year. If she continues to do that, and the Shock add a post player in the draft, they have the potential for a formidable frontline in the second half of the season when Cambage returns.
Where the Shock might need even more help is on the scoring front. The Shock will desperately be looking for a scorer on the outside to replace Sheryl Swoopes and to give newly acquired point guard Temeka Johnson, who helped pace the Mercury to a league-high 89 points per game last year, another viable option alongside guard Ivory Latta. Shenise Johnson from Miami or Shekinna Stricklen from Tennessee, if available at No. 4, could fill this role admirably.
“We’re kind of in a position that we want to get the best player,” Kloppenburg said. “Obviously if that best player is a wing we’re really going to take a good look at it for sure. Regardless of position, I think we want to get a really good basketball player at that pick. My vision is that that rookie is going to play a lot.”
Despite finishing with the worst record in the league, the Shock do not have the first pick in the first or second round, due to the lottery and a trade. Tulsa does have four picks total, however, and the players they select will certainly have a chance to compete to make the rotation as the Shock, and new head coach Kloppenburg, try to reverse their fortunes from previous years.
“We have a core of kids that are coming back that are good kids,” Kloppenburg said. “They went through a tough time, but they’ve all been winners at some time in their careers and that’s what you do, you try to build with those players that have had some of that success.”
--Anthony Oliva, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
2. Elizabeth Cambage|
7. Kayla Pedersen
21. Italee Lucas
25. Chastity Reed
19. Amanda Thompson|
31. Vivian Frieson
11. Shavonte Zellous|
18. Britany Miller
37. Tanae Davis-Cain