Orange pinwheel balls, bright colored jerseys, one-third full NBA arenas, and a hell of a lot of layups. That’s right excited masses it’s time for the 2010 Womens National Basketball Association.
You may have seen the new WNBA commercial running during this year’s NBA playoffs. The commercial splices NBA footage with WNBA footage in an attempt to confuse everyone so much that they will watch the WNBA this year – even if by accident. The slogan at the end of the commercial says “Basketball is Basketball.” Okay guys sure. This is still better than some of the past official WNBA slogans such as: “We got next,” “Expect great,” “Basketball is Beautiful,” and “Hopefully our good players don’t get pregnant.”
With the highly successful 2009 WNBA season – they only spent a few million dollars of the NBA’s money and are still in existence as a league – there is much excitement going into 2010, so I thought why not give America what it wants…a 2010 WNBA Season Preview.
Starting off, I obviously had to look up who won the 2009 WNBA Finals, and found out that the Pheonix Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 3-2 in the five game series. Get used to singular team nicknames like Mercury and Fever. For some reason, of the 12 teams in the league, only three of them have plural team nicknames (25%).
This supports my theory that the lower your Plural Nickname Percentage is, the more of a joke your league is. For instance, the top leagues in PNP are the NFL (100%), MLB (100%), NHL (93%), and the NBA (87%). Mickey-Mouse leagues like the MLS (31%), Arena Football (47%), and the NBDL (65%) are all low in PNP and therefore not very successful. It’s a direct corollary.
Quick tangent: please do yourself a favor, peruse the NBDL website and check out the team names. Some real hits and misses here. The best: the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
The most questionable: the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. I’m not sure if they are angry or crazy, I couldn’t tell by the logo.
Back to the preview. So I thought about how to do this in order to get the readers as prepared as possible for the upcoming season. I settled on the countdown from 12 to 1. I also settled on suggesting some team name changes to spice things up a little bit. Just suggestions, but hopefully a few will at least be considered. Okay, here we go:
12. Chicago Sky
New Team Name: Anything other than Sky. How can you name your team after the sky? How does that relate to people playing basketball in any way? I can see no way this makes sense.
I have no idea who is on the Sky or if they will be any good next year. None of that really matters. Here is something that does matter: The WNBA started in 1997; in a Chicago Sky game on June 3, 2008 – 11 years later – Sylvia Fowles blocked a Lisa Leslie layup…and was called for goaltending. This was the first goaltending call in the history of the WNBA. An actual rule was not exercised for 11 years. Basketball is Basketball.
I found the clip on YouTube, and it is impressive. So impressive actually, that Fowles loses all control of herself and gets hurt on the play. That should teach the rest of the WNBA a lesson about goaltending. Also, according to the announcer in the clip, he’s been telling people that “Sylvia Fowles has a block party every night here in Chicago, and she’s sending out invitations!” To his credit, he is the color guy on WNBA broadcasts for a local TV station. It should be a requirement to be a complete douche.
11. Minnesota Lynx
New Team Name: Minnesota Lynx. This one I’m completely okay with. There are two reasons why this name is okay. 1 – It ends in an “x.” This is encouraged in porn and WNBA teams. See also the “double-z”ending. That’s why it’s a shame that the Utah Starzz moved to San Antonio and changed to the Silver Stars. 2 – It is an animal that can also be a label for a hot woman. Lynx, Cougar, Lioness, Panther – all these work in the context of hot women. How there isn’t a WNBA team named the Cougars yet is beyond me. We will take care of that later.
As for this team, because there name is the Lynx, I imagine them having attractive players which means they will probably be one of the worst teams in the league. Or not I really don’t know. Either way they are getting a ranking of 11th.
10. Atlanta Dream
New Team Name: Atlanta Wet Dreamzz
One actual basketball fact about the Dream, they went 18-16 last year. For the whole season. That’s right the WNBA only plays 34 games. Their coach, Marynell Meadors, also won Coach of the Year for 2009. Which makes sense because she was two games over .500 and was swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Basketball is basketball.
9. Tulsa Shock
New Team Name: Tulsa Why Do We Have a WNBA Team
The Shock moved from Detroit to Tulsa last year (Tulsa is in Oklahoma). Ironically most people in Tulsa are shocked to know that they have a WNBA team. On a positive note, Detroit now has even less jobs to offer with an entire sports franchise out of town.
The Shock also signed Marion Jones this year. The same Olympic-star Marion Jones who was shamed out of her sport because of steroid use (which she denied for some time before being caught) and spent six months in jail.
Jones was a star for North Carolina and was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 WNBA draft. That was seven years ago though. She now is not on steroids, she was in jail for six months, and she has had a child. Good signing Shock. This is why you are ninth.
8. Washington Mystics
New Team Name: Washington Attendance Champions (stay with me here for a second I’ll explain)
The Mystics, who are named in parallel with their male Washington basketball counterpart the Wizards, are one of the “Original 8.” This means they have had 13 seasons in the WNBA. In 13 seasons, they have proudly hung six banners from the Verizon Center. Unfortunately, they have a franchise history .403 winning percentage, only two seasons with a winning record, and four playoff wins. They have no conference championships or WNBA titles.
So why the banners you ask? From 1998-2000 and 2002-2004 the Mystics were the WNBA’s “Attendance Champions,” leading the league in crowd size. Someone decided it would be a good idea to throw up WNBA Attendance Champion banners next to championship banners and retired numbers from the Georgetown Hoyas, the Bullets/Wizards, and the Capitals.
The best part? When Washington Post writer Jon Gallo added this to the story, “The attendance banners were largely achieved because the Mystics gave away approximately 30 percent of their tickets before Sheila Johnson took over the team. If the Mystics had made everyone pay for a ticket, then they would not have had the best attendance in the league.” Basketball is basketball.
7. Connecticut Sun
New Team Name: UConn Huskies
Okay, so here is a suggestion that would make a lot of sense as to the fairness of women’s basketball on a collegiate and “professional” level. Switch the Huskies and the Sun. Gino’s ladies take their 1500 game win streak into the WNBA and the Sun get to play the Huskies schedule and the rest of the NCAA isn’t embarrassed as much. For a league that is struggling and looking for any kind of publicity, how would this not work?
You still pay the Sun and not the Huskies, but they just play each other’s schedules. Tell me you would not watch the first couple games at least. And you know what, I bet UConn would be the best team in the league. No joke. Can someone please suggest this to Commish Donna Orender please?
6. Seattle Storm
New Team Name: Oklahoma City Stormzz
It would go perfectly with the Thunder. I’m just sayin. Sorry Seattle, you’ve been through enough basketball pain already.
The reason I personally like the Storm is because of Lauren Jackson. The six foot five blonde Aussie is one of the best players (and hottest – relatively of course) in the league and has completed a trifecta that no one else in sports history can boast. Over the course of her career, Jackson has garnered league MVP awards in three different leagues – the Australian, Korean, and American women’s national basketball leagues.
In fact, she got both the Korean and American MVPs in the same year (2007). I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is extremely impressive. It was also reported in 2007 that she somehow found time to play for WBC Spartak Moscow in the Women’s Russian A Super-league, helping it beat CSKA Samara in five games for the league championship. Two league MVPs and another league championship in three countries and two continents in one year. Basketball is basketball.
5. San Antonio Silver Stars
New Team Name: San Antonio Suffrage
Why not celebrate one of the greatest advances in women’s history in the greatest sports league in women’s history? You could also go with the San Antonio 19th Amendmentzz, but Suffrage has a better ring to it, plus it keeps with the non-plural nicknames.
They did win the title in 2008, so logic would say the remnants of that team still have to be around. Enough to give them a rank of fifth on the season preview in my book.
4. New York Liberty
New Team Name: New York Glorias
Why the Glorias you ask? Because everyone in New York should be buttering up LeBron, even the WNBA team. Miss Gloria James is LeBron’s mom, and what a gesture it would be for the Liberty to change their name to the Glorias.
The only downside to this is that the team’s biggest fan would be Delonte West, which could get sufficiently awkward for LeBron if he does decide to come to New York. If someone could subdue West, I think this idea could work.
Once again, I have no idea if they’ll be any good this year but I’m giving them a fourth place prediction.
3. Indiana Fever
New Team Name: Indiana Cougarzz
Some actual WNBA knowledge went into this pick. The Fever were one game away from the championship last year, and I would assume return all their starters as long as no one got selfish and pulled the goalie in the offseason. With that assumption in mind, I see another good year for the Fever.
2. Los Angeles Sparks
New Team Name: Los Angeles Siliconzz
One of the two recognizable women’s basketball stars, Lisa Leslie, retired last year after spending her whole career with the Sparks. In a legacy-altering career move, Leslie got pregnant and missed the entire 2007 season. Pre-baby she averaged a 20-10 and shot 51% from the field. Post-baby her averages dipped to a 15-9-46%.
Her loss could be huge, and now that I think about it, they probably shouldn’t be ranked second going into a year where they lose their all-time star. At this point though it’s too late to change.
1. Pheonix Mercury
New Team Name: Pheonix Mercury
At first, I thought it was really stupid for the team to be named after a planet that’s not the one we live on. However, Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and when all the WNBA teams were originally named, they were named related to the NBA teams in the same cities. So Phoenix Suns = Pheonix Mercury. Actually kind of cool.
The Mercury won the championship last year and have Diana Taurasi, last year’s MVP and the best player in the league. Those are two things that are quite enough for me to expect another championship out of them. Take this one to the bank. The Mercury will be your 2010 WNBA Champions. You heard it here first.