Prior to the 2004 WNBA season, Detroit Shock coach Bill Laimbeer speculated that it might be easier to win a second consecutive WNBA championship after winning the prize in 2003. However, after a mediocre start and an injury to Olympian Swin Cash, the Shock were eliminated in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Expect the Shock to have a chip on their shoulder in 2005, and expect Laimbeer to consider any trade or any prospect in the 2005 WNBA Draft that will make his team better this season.
Q. How have
you been preparing for the upcoming WNBA Draft? What methods do you utilize to
scout players for the draft?
"We've been preparing for the WNBA Draft
by visiting games and looking at statistics that we've been compiling all season
long. We will visit games especially if prospects are playing against good teams
or are in the playoffs. We look at their leadership ability and how they play
against the better competition."
Q. When do you start getting prepared
for the draft?
"We start preparing for the draft probably in November,
when the games started going on. We compiled a list of who we thought would be
available. Then we started to plan our schedule to visit them and started calling
around to try and understand who the player was."
The Shock have the seventh overall pick on April 16.|
Q. Are there specific areas or holes/weaknesses
are you looking to bolster with your picks?
"Yes, we are looking for
a backup point guard and a backup small forward."
Q. What are the
most important traits you look for in prospects?
"Leadership, a smart
player, and at least one specific WNBA skill, whether that is speed, shooting,
height, rebounding, or something else they can hang their hat on to be successful
in this league."
Q. With your pick, are you targeting a specific
player, a position, or will you take the best available players?
are probably going to target a certain position. I'm not sure we'll go with the
best available player, but we have our frontcourt, our four and our five, all
locked up solid. Our two guard is pretty locked up too, so we need a position
player or a trade may happen."
Q. What prospects do you feel can
or will make an immediate impact in the League this season? Are there any surprises?
"I don't see any surprises and I think most of the players will
be role players. Our league is so difficult to crack into right now that I just
don't see a lot of starters in this draft."
Q. How important is
the Tournament in helping you make last minute decisions? How closely does a player's
performance in the NCAA Tournament affect her draft status?
is all-important in making last minute decisions. You really get to see how they
perform under pressure. Also, they are playing against better competition, quite
frankly. They are playing against the best teams and the best players, especially
as the Tournament goes along. Its unfortunate some got knocked out early, but
that just lends to a weaker conference and makes you have some question marks."
How does this year's Draft compare to previous ones?
draft is average. Last year was strong and deep. This year by no stretch of the
imagination is that way. Last year had some marquee starters also, especially
the top two picks. But this one is going to be an average draft with maybe nine
or ten player from this draft making it to the league."
Q. Are you
looking to trade or considering trading picks/players?
always looking to trade. I'll trade players and/or picks to improve our ball club
at anytime it will make sense for us. Do I anticipate any? Not in our top six
players, maybe our fringe players and our draft pick will be used to cement a
Q. Does foreign scouting consume a lot of your
time in the off-season?
"No. We rely on foreign scouts that we have
overseas for us and then we look at tape. This year we had our first foreign player
in a while-that is Irina Osipova from Russia, 6-foot-5 and runs like the wind.
That is a good pick up for us, but I don't do a lot of foreign scouting."
What kinds of traits do you look for in players?
defense, and then some other skill or physical tool that can be utilized in our
Q. With free agency as an option now, are you more likely
to fill needs through the Draft, free agency, or trades?
"All of the
above. We signed a rookie free agent in Osipova from Russia. The draft we are
counting on to fill in spots. And also I believe that we will end up making some
kind of a trade to find a better role player for us (whether it is a nine, ten
or eleven player on our team) that will fit the chemistry of our ball club."