Connect with us


Moves to Win: Connecticut Sun



Part 1 of 3

By: Scott Jaracz

Dynasties are wonderful for sports. They give fans a team to root for and against, and they give people like me something to talk about. The Aces are the team everyone wants to beat, especially after adding Candace Parker to their mix of all-stars. These teams aren’t far away from giving the Aces a battle, but they need to make some type of change to their current structure, else we see the first back to back champions since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002.

  1. Connecticut Sun
    1. Current Record: 9-3 (1st in Eastern Conference)

Who do they have?

The Big 3 in Connecticut make basketball look easy. Their play styles mesh so well together, they feed off of each other, and most importantly, they all have the same goal on the court: win. Alyssa Thomas needs to be in the MVP discussion. 2nd in assists per game, 3rd in rebounds per game, 15 points per game, and a defensive monster, AT is one of the best players in this league. Period.

Brionna Jones is finally getting the chance to play where she deserves to, and she’s doing as predicted. She’s a consistent playmaker, hard-working scorer, and determined rebounder. She plays her strengths. She’s smart. I’m not sure what I can say negatively about Jones’ game.

DeWanna Bonner just scored 41 points in a statement win against the Aces, and shows she can still get buckets like the all-time great she is – 11th in total points in WNBA history. However, DB is inconsistent. She was most inconsistent in the finals against the Aces last year, which may have been the biggest factor in the Sun’s losses.

This is why the Sun must make a move to win the title this year. They need a consistent player to give them nonemotional points. Hayes isn’t doing this job as effectively as she could. I see her as a perfect 6th woman for this team. Thomas can get to the rim effectively, but that’s the extent of her offensive game, save for those few 5-10 foot jumpers we see her form shoot with one hand. I love them. They’re just not the best way to get points down the stretch in a championship series. AT, you’re my favorite player, just calling it like it is.

What have they done?

Dealing Jonquel Jones this past offseason was a blessing in disguise. I was shocked to see the super team form so quickly in New York, and I was quick to consider the Sun’s opportunity for a championship to be over. Then, I remembered Jonquel’s contribution to the Sun the past 2 seasons, the change in style of play, and considered this move to be already beneficial. The league is faster, featuring fewer back-to-basket players. Jonquel is still one of the most talented defensive players and lane cloggers in the league, but offensively, she’s nothing exceptional. Tiffany Hayes is a solid piece for the Sun. She doesn’t quite fill the void of Jones, but it’s a good start.

Curt Miller heading to Los Angeles was a welcomed sight for the Sun as well. Stephanie White as his replacement is, well, curious. White has not proven herself as a head coach. She struggled at the collegiate level after a brief stint with the Fever. A quarter of the way through the season, it looks like the right decision! I love how she’s bringing an edge to this Sun team. They didn’t have this same fire with Curt, and maybe it really was just a simple switch. He coached the Sun through 7 strenuous seasons, including 4 nightmare inducing playoff exits. Oh, and COVID.

Who do they target?

I’ll save my HOT take for last. Let’s start with a low-level get who might push their offense a bit.

  1. Kierstan Bell
    1. Las Vegas Aces
    2. 5.8 mpg; 1.3 ppg; .136 3p%
    3. She’s only logged 223 minutes of WNBA basketball. She’s 12-47 from 3 (25.5%) in those minutes. The Sun need to steal her from the Aces for 2 reasons: Bell is a dog; the perfect player for this Sun team, who, with an extra chip on her shoulder after being traded to the Aces finals rival, will be full of extra energy. The second reason is simple, she’s a fearless shooter. Her stats don’t back that statement, but when I watch her play, whether in the W or in Athletes Unlimited, Bell loves to play this game. She takes advantage of opportunities.
    4. If the Sun don’t want to completely flip pivotal pieces of their organization, this is their shot at a youthful talent who could give them the extra nudge they need.
  2. Lexie Brown
    1. Los Angeles Sparks
    2. 31.9 mpg; 13.3 ppg; 2.9 apg; 1.2 spg
    3. The Sparks are all of a sudden filled with talent. They may even start producing meaningful wins here. They’re currently 2nd in the Western Conference, 5 games back of the Aces. With just a 5-6 record, they have no reason to feel proud over that record. Especially considering 3 of their 5 wins are against the Mercury, the worst team in the league. So, if the Sun want to move on their former player, now is the time. Lexie Brown is red hot, averaging a career best 13.3 ppg, and has multiple 20 point outings already. She is a sharpshooter. She’s 42% from 3, and has an eFG% of .599. That’s crazy efficient. That’s just what the Sun need.
    4. Brown isn’t just a shooter, which makes her that much more valuable. She’s averaging 1.2 steals per game, and she blends well with any type of offense. The Sun would have to consider players like Natisha Hiedeman, Dijonai Carrington, Bria Hartley, along with a pick to land someone like Brown, but they have every reason to.
  3. Jewell Loyd
    1. Seattle Storm
    2.  35.3 mpg; 25.4 ppg(1st in W); 4.2 rpg; 3.7 apg
    3. Man, I was so excited to watch Loyd play this year. The Gold Mamba is such a precious offensive talent. I’m always in awe watching her because she always reminds me she can score in any way. She can shoot, of course. She can finish through contact. She can post-up high or low. The only negative aspect of pursuing Loyd is it means likely parting ways with one of the Sun’s big 3. I don’t think it’s a meaningful trade if this has to happen.
    4. If the Sun could find a way to keep their big 3 in tact and land Loyd, it would only create another super team, only the majority of this team has logged over 1,000 minutes together, lost a WNBA finals series, and has every reason to prove to the rest of the world they still belong in that spotlight. Jewell puts the Sun back into the spotlight. Though, why they were out, I won’t understand.
    5. Seattle would land at least 2 future first round picks to their assets. They’re going to finish closer to the bottom of the standings, and all eyes are on Clark and Reese, as they should be. However, the 2024 draft is stacked with talent, and having multiple picks in a year like next is better than gold. It’s like they’d be trading gold for gold…
    6. Jewell Loyd is also in the last year of her contract, making a deal like this a little easier for the Storm. Do they really want to sign a 30 year old scorer who will vanish from her prime in the next 3-4 years, or do they want to trade her at the height of her value for picks determined to be franchise players? Michael Scott would call this a “win-win-win”.

Final Word

Connecticut can play out the rest of this season with what they have. Their fate will be similar to years past. They have opportunities to take what they have and make it better, yet they have to be patient and understanding with it. Breaking up any 1 of the big 3 is the wrong move. At the same time, just holding on to them isn’t sound either. Stephanie White might be reaping the successes of her accomplished veterans, or maybe she’s the spark we’re seeing to start the season. The sun hasn’t set on the Sun. They only need to clear the clouds.

Next: Chicago Sky

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar