Ask Nancy: 2006 Season Preview Edition
Basketball Hall-of-Famer and ESPN analyst Nancy Lieberman answers your questions
and emails throughout the year. Click here
to submit a question of your own.
Who do you
believe has the best chance of taking it all this year and who do you think the
best regular season team will be. Do you see the team with the best regular season
record translating their game to the post season?
-Chris, Scottsdale, AZ
"Well I have Detroit winning the East and Sacramento winning the West. That
is by virtue of experience, veterans, young players and offseason acquisitions.
I think that Sacramento didn't hurt themselves after winning a championship. They
had the 13th and 14th pick in the Draft and the only big loss they had was Chelsea
Newton. With the Draft, they brought in Kim Smith and Scholanda Hoston, a terrific
defender, so I just think they didn't lose much and may have gotten better. Then
with Detroit, Swin Cash is healthy, Katie Smith is 15 pounds lighter, they bring
back Kedra Holland-Corn and there's no reason for me to think that they can't
be a better basketball team than they were a year ago. With Kara Braxton, Ruth
Riley, Cheryl Ford and Plenette Pierson, who has better post depth than Detroit?
They're big, strong, experienced and they get after you. I love everything about
their game. The only thing they need is chemistry. Talent doesn't always win.
But they have skill and talent. When they won the championship, they were considered
young upstarts. Well, they're not young upstarts anymore."
some predictions. My rookie of the year pick is Monique Currie, Sheryl Swoopes
as Defensive Player of the Year and my MVP is Lisa Leslie. What do you think?
Do I have a future as an analyst? Regards,
-Paula, Kent, OH
A: "I have
Tamika Catchings as my Defensive Player of the Year and potentially this year
as my MVP. She's been at the top for the past two years, and although I really
like Monique Currie, I think that she and Seimon Augustus are going to battle
it out. I think Seimone is going to get a lot of touches in Minnesota, but I like
the fact that Monique has already come in and taken control. She's putting up
some shots, and I think that's awesome."
Hey Nancy! WOW! I am so
happy that Shona T. and Kim S. got picked in the 1st round! My question is...how
do you think Kim is going to do with the Monarchs? Will they use her? Also, do
you think Thorburn, Augustis, and Anderson will work together? Hey, I got to watch
for my Utes! I love it!
-Laura K., Salt Lake City, Utah
"Both of them are very good young players and they're only going to get better
as they get time on the court. They will get a feel for what Suzie McConnell Serio
and Coach Whis want, so I expect them to get a lot of playing time. I expect their
coaches will let them play through their useful mistakes, and they've got great
veterans around them."
Hi Nancy! I love your analysis of the game!
You are absolutely terrific for women's basketball of all levels.
to get your opinion about the Silver Stars. With the three great draft picks that
they got and the offseason acquisitions, how do you think San Antonio will do
-Jackie, Pipe Creek, TX
A: Okay, I really like San Antonio
a lot, but the one thing I don't like about predictions is that it means putting
teams down. I'm not doing that with them at all. This is a much-improved team.
Shanna Zolman was one of the steals of the draft and between her and Sophia Young,
they get an A+ in the draft. Now you get LaToya Thomas back, you get Kendra Wecker
back and acquire Vickie Johnson. I love their team. My only question about them
is how quickly they can get the pieces of this puzzle together. So where I pick
them is of no direct correlation to how good I think they are. I think they are
probably going to be a lot better than where I pick them. I think they are going
to be dramatically better than what anybody is saying."
and teams are you looking for to have breakout or improved seasons? Thanks and
looking forward to seeing you on TV this season.
-Bonnie, Sacramento, CA
"I think Indiana will be much-improved. Indiana is almost like a total makeover.
It's like having a pretty girl and making her gorgeous. They were already good,
winning 21 games last year, and I just like everything about the moves that they
made. They brought in Anna DeForge, Charlotte Smith, Olympia Scott and Tamika
Whitmore. Although I think they are going to end up playing post by committee,
it's going to be production, the total production of their bigs. As for Tully
Bevilaqua, there's no stat sheet for her. She just gets it done. She's an incredible
teammate. I think it's going to be more difficult to guard Catchings than ever
because if you put Anna on Catch's side of the floor, it's pick your poison. Anna's
going to knock down shots. She's All-Star quality. I think that Catch is going
to be thrilled. I watched them play the Sparks the other day and they have shooters
everywhere. Tully can hit the three, Catch opens the floor for them, Charlotte
Smith can shoot the three, Whitmore can shoot the three, Tan White has improved
her outside game and they're a really nice team with a wonderful coach. I really
do expect them to challenge for the East, at the top with the Sun and Detroit."
My name is Jacob and I'm doing a report on you for my English class. I have reaserched
a lot of things on you and I admire & respect all of your talents. But, I have
not found an answer to my question.To date what has been your greatest basketball
accomplishment? Thank you for taking the time to answer this for me. Sincerly
-Jacob, Valdosta, GA
A: "I think it has to be either the two
national championships at Old Dominion, or winning the Olympics, because it was
the first Olympics for women's basketball in history. There will never be that
first team, and it was pretty cool to be a part of it."
I love Deanna
Nolan. She is my favorite player. I was wondering, when all is said and done,
will she end up having a Hall-of-Fame career? How close is she to becoming the
best player in league?
-Brittany, Louisville, KY
A: "Deanna Nolan...
we know she's an exceptional player already. Time will be her greatest ally. To
be a Hall-of-Famer, you can't be just good. You have to be consistent, and consistency
is a function of time. So only she will be able to answer that question. She's
so young and she's really good, and she plays on a wonderful team where she gets
a lot of support. She's getting better every year. Plus she's expanding her game,
they've played her a little bit at the one, she plays the two, she's got everything."
As a spoiled Liberty fan who got used to the Final appearances, do you see the
rebuilding effort in New York taking a long period of time. What do you think
of their young talent?
-Martin, Sumnerville, N.J.
A: "I'm a great admirer
of the foundation of the Liberty and what Carol Blazekowski built from the ground
up. They're one of the most storied franchises in WNBA history. They and Houston
set standards by which everyone else will be measured when this thing started.
Do I think they have work to do? Yes. Do I think they will be a tireless, working
team and people will emerge? Yeah, I do. It's nice to have Becky Hammon, a legitimate
superstar, but they also have young people who are going to have an opportunity
to make a name for themselves and step up. For those younger players, this is
your opportunity. Are you going to seize the moment or not? I think Coach Coyle
is excited. She thinks this is a team that she can teach. If you don't look at
it as a negative, it's a chance for her to go back and do what she does best.
She and Marianne will have a young group. The real question is about their post.
Is it Kraayeveld? I don't know who's it going to be. But we are going to have
an opportunity to find out who wants that position. It's up for grabs. Ashley
Battle will also get a chance to play because she's tenacious. This is a good
stick for her. I also think Shameka Christon has got to lift her game. This is
her chance to average more than three or five points a game. I think she has to
get double figures for them and improve on her rebounding, and it's a wonderful
a question of your own.