Key Offseason Moves:
Drafted Kelsey Plum with No. 1 overall pick and Nia Coffey with No. 5 overall pick
Acquired Isabelle Harrison and the No. 5 pick in the 2017 draft from Phoenix in exchange for Danielle Robinson
Acquired Clarissa Dos Santos from Chicago in exchange for Astou Ndour
Signed free agents Erica de Souza, Roneeka Hodges and Adut Bulgak
The Kelsey Plum Era Begins
What’s not to like here? The Stars landed the 2016 Associated Press National Player of the Year and all-time NCAAW leading scorer with the top pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft, and she has the talent to come in and instantly revitalize the franchise.
Plum’s dynamic offensive game should give Stars fans plenty to cheer about this season, as she projects to be one of the most exciting players in the league right out of the gate. If she can translate her incredible success at Washington to the pros, the Stars landed themselves just that – the next WNBA star.
Stars On The Rise
Plum will join a duo of exciting young guards in Kayla McBride and Moriah Jefferson this season, creating a trio that could turn into another WNBA “Big Three.”
McBride rose her scoring (17.1 PTS), rebounding (4.0 REBS) and assists (1.9 AST) numbers to career highs last season before suffering a season-ending foot injury. The 24-year-old guard can take yet another step in her development in her fourth year.
Jefferson, the former UConn standout, had an excellent rookie campaign a season ago. She proved to be just as advertised, a strong scorer (13.9 PTS/37.5% 3PT) and capable distributor (4.2 AST). With Danielle Robinson gone, Jefferson will likely be handed the keys to the offense this year.
How Do You Like Your Coffey?
With their young backcourt duo in place — even before adding Plum — the Stars signaled the end of an era with their trade of former All-Star point guard Danielle Robinson, who missed all of last season due to injury. They dealt Robinson to the Mercury in exchange for the No. 5 pick in the draft, which they used to select Nia Coffey.
The former Northwestern Wildcats forward could become a productive player from the get-go, as she demonstrated both scoring and rebounding skills in college, becoming the first Wildcat to ever score 1,000 points and haul in 1,000 boards. A model of consistency in college, Coffey scored in double-figures in 66 straight games.
Centers Of Attention
The youth movement in San Antonio led to a couple of offseason of trades – the Robinson trade with the Mercury and the Astou Ndour trade with the Sky. Both trade netted the Stars a young center – two women who may be ready to break out.
Isabelle Harrison, the former first-round draft pick in Phoenix, was blocked by star Brittney Griner in her rookie season, playing sparingly. Despite her small doses of playing time, Harrison shot 52.5% from the field.
Clarissa Dos Santos, who comes via Chicago, also shows much promise. As a rookie from Brazil, she ranked fifth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage (11.8%) despite only starting seven games that season. If given the playing time, her work on the glass can help create second chances for the Stars as well as prevent them for opponents.
Building For Another Dynasty
Last year’s 7-27 was the Stars’ worst since 2005, head coach Dan Hughes’ second season with the organization. In between then and now, the Stars rattled off a stretch of six straight postseason berths, although they have fallen on hard times lately by making the playoffs just once in the last four seasons.
A new era begins under two former Stars players. Entering her second season as GM, Ruth Riley tabbed assistant Vickie Johnson to replace the retired Dan Hughes. San Antonio’s strong draft and interesting trades during the offseason added to their already strong core and set the table for the future. Their talent should start translating to more wins as soon as this season.