Sky Hoops with House

February 2, 2012

Hey Sky Fans! I’m back! What a great trip!

OK. I tweeted out a picture from one of the arenas I was in the other night @BbbyJeffHouse

If you can tell me:
1. The name of the arena and/or the name of the university
2. At least 3 of the names of the five (5) potential WNBA draft picks playing in the game

And be the first person to email me at jhouse@chicagosky.net with the correct answers, you will win two of my game tickets for a Chicago Sky home game during the 2012 season!

You have to get both parts correct! Arena / university and players. Hurry! Email me first... then read the rest of my BLOG!

OK... you’re back. Thanks; I hope you got it right.

Pokey is still working hard on free agency and we should have some updates soon. Of course you know about Swin and Le’Coe... not really free agents, but great additions to the roster. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you more of an update next week.

Instead, let’s look how to evaluate free agents and what we look for and how the free agency process works.

Free agents are categorized as “Restricted” and “Unrestricted”, both for our own team as well as the other 11 WNBA teams. Simply put, a restricted free agent can be offered a contract by any team, but her existing team (called her Right of First Refusal Team, ROFR Team) can match the offer within five days of the signed offer sheet and that player remains with her current team. Unrestricted free agents are free to negotiate a contract with any team and decide on the team she would like to sign with.

There are also Reserved Players and Core Players that are designated at this time of year.

For a complete list of all of these players visit the “Player Movement Central” portion of WNBA.com. You can follow all the player movement throughout the off-season right there.

Also, players who not currently on WNBA rosters are also considered free agents. Each team around the league keeps active free agent boards through out the year to track these players’ development and progress. Players, who were waived last year, or during the last few years, may have gone overseas and really improved their game. It’s important to keep track of these players and stay current on who is out there in the free agent world.

There is a great deal of work to do when evaluating all of the potential players. Nearly all of the free agents are playing in Europe now. Europe is a great opportunity for all players to continue to develop as a player during the WNBA off-season against exceptional competition. Pokey, Christie and their Sparta&K team compete against many of them, so they have first hand opportunities to evaluate their most current games. This is a great situation for us. Combined with the film work I am doing here in the States and we have a really good feel for what each free agent potentially can add to a roster from a playing standpoint.

The film work revolves around all game breakdowns. For example: In looking at Swin Cash’s season I watched clips from 39 games from the 2011 season.

As you can see, there were 581 possessions that Swin was involved in during the 39 games... and that was only on offense! Every conceivable situation is reviewable. Synergy Sports produces the software to organize the many different game situations. They log every WNBA game and break everything down for us. It’s an exceptional research tool for looking at players in specific situations.

A few of the other areas we look very closely at are: Leadership, Character and Toughness, (LCT). It’s much harder to evaluate these areas on film, sometimes you simply can’t. The best way I know to gather this information is good old fashion phone calls. By reaching out to coaches, other players and people who know the player to really get a feel of who they are. LCT can make or break your team every year. Pokey cultivates LCT in practice everyday throughout the season, but the players who possess these characteristics already are the ones who end up being the best. The players who LCT is part of who they are, not just something they try to do. It’s like the old saying: Zebra’s have stripes. Shave a zebra down and they will always grow back stripes – never spots. Translation... if a player possess something already, they’ll keep it and have it no matter what happens, no matter what they face or go through.

All right Sky Fans. There you have it, a few ideas on how we look at free agents. Next week we’ll try to look at signings around the league and different roster moves.

Don’t forget to send me your answers to the two questions for a chance to win two of my game tickets for one of our home games at AllState!

To view more of Hoops with House, click here to visit the archive.