| 2006 Record|
(2nd in East)
Award Winners & Honorees
2006 Draft Recap
Dispersal Draft Results
From the beginning of training of camp, every team's ultimate goal is to win the championship. Of course, only one can. In 2006, it was the Detroit Shock.
Detroit faced the reigning champions, the Sacramento Monarchs, in one of the most entertaining playoff series in WNBA history. The Shock prevailed in the first-ever five-game Finals, even recovering from a 2-1 deficit. In the final game, Finals MVP Deanna Nolan and her teammate Katie Smith scored 24 and 17 points, respectively. They declared themselves queens of the court in an 80-75 win, witnessed by the second largest crowd in WNBA history.
The Shock were no strangers to parades and celebrations, having won in 2003. Yet they fell short in both 2004 and 2005 as something just seemed to be missing from their roster. Meanwhile, Katie Smith was building a Hall of Fame resume in Minnesota, despite missing out on that championship glory. A late 2005 trade brought Smith to the Motor City and just a year later, she finally won her WNBA title. Among the other accolades, Smith, along with teammates Nolan and Cheryl Ford, were chosen as All-Star yet again. Smith was also honored for her longer-term achievements as she was named to the WNBA All-Decade Team.
There is an old saying in basketball: "Offense sells tickets, defense wins games." Detroit's run to the title vaidated that statement. The Shock's defensive performance was impressive all year long, as they averaged 4.0 blocks per game and set the bar for the league, averaging 37.8 defensive rebounds a game. Cheryl Ford was the First Lady of the Boards with an average of 11.3 rebounds per game and was the only WNBA player to finish the season averaging a double-double.
They may have won the championship, but the Shock lacked some consistency on the offensive end for stretches during the 2006 season. They lacked potency and did not put up the numbers of an elite team, finishing the season with an average of 74.3 points per game (good for only seventh in the league). Their 41.4% field goal percentage ranked in the bottom half and their free throw shooting was not much better (only 74.1%). Finally, the Shock's most obvious struggle was in their perimeter game as they made only 136 3-pointers, the second-lowest in the league.
Defensively, Detroit excelled in all areas but one: steals. Finishing in front of only the Minnesota Lynx, the team averaged a meager 6.3 steals per game. Their run-of-the-mill offense, shortage of steals and untimely turnovers may have kept the team from receiving the number one seed in the East and made the path more challenging, but they were able to come together at the right time.
|Head Coach |
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Katie Smith
-G- Deanna Nolan
-F- Swin Cash
-F- Cheryl Ford
-C- Ruth Riley
Key 2006 Reserves
Can they do it again? That's probably the biggest question. The Detroit Shock made history in becoming the first WNBA champion not to repeat and win in back-to-back seasons.
Center Ruth Riley started every game in the regular season for Detroit and finished the year off averaging 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. But Riley will no longer sport a Shock uniform in 2007, after she was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars for center Katie Feenstra, who averaged 7.8 ppg and 6.2 rpg in 2006. Riley played more minutes than Feenstra in 2006, but the young center out of Liberty could be poised for a breakout season. How will Coach Bill Laimbeer balance the time between her and another young, developing center, Kara Braxton?
Another former Silver Stars player will join the Shock this upcoming season. Free agent Shannon Johnson signed with the Shock and will play in her ninth season in the WNBA. Throughout her career, Pee Wee has averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. Detroit will look to Johnson to help move the ball around on offense, though just how she will be used remains the question.
Guidance by coaches Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn has contributed to the Shock's mental toughness and their ability to pull through in tough games. Veteran leadership coupled with determination and skilled defenders will make this team a tough out every night in 2007, and you know they will have targets on their back.
Offensively, the team struggled last year. Cap room remains another restriction on Laimbeer's roster, but there should still be plenty of talent left on the board when Detroit drafts late in the first round. And if we know the Shock's history, we can expect to see another athletic, strong player with an eye for the basket. But no matter who they take, if this team can play consistently and with the offensive spark they showed in the 2006 postseason, they have the chance to be unstoppable.