The newly named and relocated Dallas Wings (formally the Tulsa Shock) will look to pick up where they left off last season. Tulsa was one of the best teams in the WNBA last season despite losing their all-star guard Skylar Diggins to an ACL injury. A bitter departure for the fans of the Shock as their team FINALLY clinched a playoff spot after missing out in all of their years in the city. The Shock finished third in the Western Conference with a record of 18-16 and took on second placed Phoenix Mercury in the first round of the playoffs. The Shock, full of young talent, started the season off strong and went on a eight game winning streak in June which tied the franchise record all time win streak. However, this success was short lived. Shortly after losing Diggins the Shock lost ten games in a row and looked to be defeated. Luckily for the Shock, their heroics to start the season kept them in playoff contention despite the losing skid. They eventually were swept by Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs but have much to look forward to next season. With Diggins returning to the line up along with Sims, Williams, and Pierson, who was named to her first all star team, the Wings should do some damage in the west.
A huge missing piece to the Shock’s roster is Australian center Elizabeth Cambage. Cambage was drafted with the second pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft and had a solid rookie season. However, since then she has only played in 20 games in the last four seasons. Will the move to Dallas, a larger metropolis, with plenty more to do than Tulsa entice her to head back across the water? 2016 being an olympic year it’s very unlikely that she will come this summer but perhaps 2017 will be the year she makes her return to the W. In the meantime, Dallas can stand to make some changes to improve their roster. Having Diggins back will be an instant bolster to the team. Sims had a great season as she took on the bulk of the scoring after losing Diggins. Also huge for the Shock is Riquna Williams. She is dangerous in the open court and can put up huge numbers. Remember she scored 51 points back in 2013 against the San Antonio Stars. She has had nagging knee injuries throughout her professional career but if she can find a way to stay healthy during the entire season it will be beneficial to the team’s success. Williams is a restricted free agent this year and teams in search of a scorer will definitely be interested in her services. Tulsa should be ready to match any offer that she may field from other teams. Also a restricted free agent is Karima Christmas who returned to the Shock after spending a few seasons with the Indiana Fever. She is definitely a piece they need to keep. The only unrestricted agent on the team is Tiffany Jackson who has been plagued with injury for the past few seasons. She recently came out with a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis so who knows whats in the cards for her return this upcoming season. We do wish her well and pray that she makes a full recovery and gets back on the court! Let us not forget Glory Johnson who recently gave birth to twin girls. She should make her return to this Wings this summer after serving her seven game suspension which was handed down after a domestic dispute with Phoenix’s Griner. Since she sat out last season the seven games will have to be served at the start of the 2016 season. Of course having her back on the team will be huge for the Wings as her and Pierson will take turns at the four position.
So what should the Wings do this off season? Their bench could use some upgrading. Vici Baugh was pretty good off the bench but didn’t play major minutes. Jordan Hooper and Theresa Plaisance also gave little off the bench. An improved Amanda Zahui B would definitely strengthen the Wing’s front court. With what the Wings already have on their roster they should be back to competing to be western conference champions but they will definitely need to make improvements to their bench if they want to win a championship. Can they do this via a trade? The draft? Or will players return to camp with improved games? This will be an interesting summer for the Dallas Wings as they transition to a new city.