Sigh. Basketball season is almost over with the NBA finals soon to begin. Not! For all those Warriors and Bucks bandwagoners, there’s a new bandwagon hurdling over cynics: the WNBA 2019 express. As Austin Powers tried to warn in the steamroller scene: get out of the way! Or, better yet, listen to three big reasons to join the stampede to basketball excellence.
1. Epic Trade
The Tulsa Shock/Dallas Wings is probably the worst historical franchise of the remaining 12. But in 2018 muscular forward Liz Cambage returned from a four year WNBA absence. She dominated unthinkably, leading the league in scoring and breaking the single-game record.
Unfortunately for Cambage, the Wings still were rather weak. But thankfully, we live in an age of player empowerment, and she demanded a trade. Thursday Dallas finally traded her to the surging Las Vegas Aces. While Vegas relinquished two players and two draft picks, it’s a massive boost for the franchise, and ESPNW is somewhat mortified.
Whoa 😮 pic.twitter.com/Xy6gsrqFgW
— espnW (@espnW) May 16, 2019
That’s two #1 picks, Wilson and Plum, joining Cambage. Tired of old dynasties? Hit on 17 and take a risk on a new challenger.
2. Better Leadership
Other than low salaries, by far the most popular WNBA player complaint is disinterested and incompetent management. Businesswoman Lisa Borders did a decent job before leaving with little notice. After an uncomfortably long break, the W found a great replacement in Cathy Engelbert. The financial service CEO played for hall-of-fame Muffet McGraw and has a passion for sports in addition to her business success. Experts agree it’s a great hire.
We had to wait for it, but this is a great hire for @WNBA. Cathy Engelbert brings a wealth of business experience, and I think the players will appreciate that and benefit from it. https://t.co/kOIGWRCrqq
— Mechelle Voepel (@MechelleV) May 15, 2019
3. New Experiences in a Bridge Year
With stars Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore not playing in 2019, and Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi missing weeks of the season, WNBA 2019 may be a bridge year. This fact is especially valid considering the apprehension behind the CBA expiration in 2020. But that’s another reason to pay attention now. Rookies Katie Lou Samuelson and Arike Ogunbowale will boost Chicago and Dallas, respectively. New York’s Tina Charles will rescue her team from the past of oppressive Knicks ownership. And Washington’s Elena Della Donne will push for her long-awaited first title. There probably will be better years in the WNBA. But the momentum towards that future runs through a present that’s never been more intriguing.