Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yolanda Griffith Notebook

Odds and ends from today's press conference introducing Yolanda Griffith as the newest member of the Storm ...

- Griffith has had a great WNBA career and is clearly one of the league's elite players, but I don't think her profile is as high amongst the casual WNBA fan as Sheryl Swoopes, for example. I've long thought that Griffith is one of the more underrated players in league history.

That said, I've got to admit even I didn't realize quite how impressive Griffith's career numbers were, especially given she missed the first two seasons of the WNBA while in the ABL. Check out Griffith's Basketball-Reference.com player page and her career ranks at the bottom of the page. If they don't impress you, I don't know what will.

- One big question: What number will Griffith wear? She's synonymous with No. 33, but that is Janell Burse's number in Seattle. As a result, Griffith will switch it up this season.

"This is a new beginning for me, this is a fresh start," she said. "I know I've been No. 33 my whole career, as long as I've been playing basketball, but JB, she's earned it. She can keep it. I'm not going to persuade her, I'm not going to pay here. She can keep the uniform."

- Another question: Who starts at center? Griffith said it isn't a big deal.

"Brian (Agler) is a good coach," she said. "He is going to put the players that need to be in the starting lineup in the starting lineup. I'm not worried about that. I'm here to help this team and whoever starts has got to do what they've got to do."

Agler implied the position will be open during camp.

"Competition is always good in training camp, whether it be in this specific situation or at some other spots," he said. "Yolanda's always found a way to get to the floor and play a lot of minutes, and I don't anticipate that to be any different."

Incidentally, Griffith will be in camp from day one. Burse will likely be a couple of weeks late.

- Agler delivered his funniest line as Storm head coach responding to the notion that the Storm is an old team.

"I hope everybody thinks that Sheryl and Yolanda are over the hill, but they're the only two players on our roster that are over 30," he said. "People think that we may have to be bringing the Geritol out or something, but Lauren (Jackson) and Sue (Bird) and Swin (Cash) are still 27, 28 years old." (For the record, Cash is 28, Bird is 27 and Jackson will turn 27 next month.)

- A little more on Ashley Robinson's situation. Agler said Robinson had turned down offers so far in hopes of staying in Seattle, but that could change as she continues to talk with teams and tomorrow's draft could affect their interest in her.

I had forgotten that Agler worked with Robinson during her rookie season in Phoenix, where he was an assistant coach.

"I've worked with Ashley when she was a rookie down in Phoenix and think the world of her," he said. "I know that she really came on down the stretch and played some good minutes for Seattle."

- Agler also talked about tomorrow morning's WNBA Draft.

"We feel good about our roster, but we'd like to try to help ourselves tomorrow also," he said. "I don't see us doing anything tomorrow. We've talked with teams about trying to move up a little bit, we've talked with teams about acquiring a draft pick. I don't envision anything happening."

And what will be the Storm's focus in the draft?

"We're going to try to give us some depth in the backcourt," said Agler.

- Remember that we'll be blogging live on storm.wnba.com during tomorrow's draft, so be sure to check in for league-wide analysis and the latest on the Storm. The first round will be on ESPN2 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific, while the second and third rounds move to NBA TV and ESPNU.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the EXCELLENT coverage of the Storm, Kevin. This is some good, good stuff. Nice to have a glimpse into the Storm's thinking about the draft, competition in training camp, etc. The update on A-Rob is also appreciated.


herky said...

a young 38 year old yolanda griffith is just what the basketball doctor ordered for the seattle storm. a big strong tough as nails no nonsense consistent performing all around center; and, an effective established team leader to boot.

lauren jackson will receive the big body help in the paint since the 2004 championship season.

how many legitimate wnba hall 'team' player is a seattle storm with enough game in the tank? how many potential wnba hall 'team' player with game is a seattle storm? how many 'team' player with solid/potential game is a seattle storm?

as long as the seattle storm has brian agler as an executive and coach (wnba hall potential as a coach and executive), the seattle storm family has much to hope for and rejoice...ie...wnba's west coast team legacy per the nba's west coast los angeles lakers.

the commitment, pride, responsibility, and work required for the entire seattle storm family (fans included) to be the best we can be to represent the wnba on earth is a worthwhile challenge to meet per the nba boston celtic family and the los angeles laker family.

ljunstoppable said...

This is unbelievable. I was not even aware of all the free agency possiblities and for that matter, the monetary headroom that has made these incredible offseason acquisitions possible. LJ, Sue, Swin, Swoopes, and Yolanda all on the same team? All 5 on the floor? All with at least a championship ring? Incredible. All Decade, All-Stars, All-WNBA team, living legends? Incredible. I wouldn't ever had imagined the timing and good luck to be able to construct this current roster. I wish Anne Donovan was still part of the organization and witness this from within. The Storm now have THE MOST PRESSURE on them. They should now be expected to be the 2008 WNBA champs. You must be crazy thinking otherwise. Go Storm! Go LJ! Incredible. I'm speechless. I'm excited. Confidence level just shot through the roof! IT's good to be a STORM fan:)

Patrick said...

any thoughts on why Sharnee Zoll fell so far in the draft?

Kevin Pelton said...

Patrick, I think in a draft like this with so many point guards of relatively similar overall value available, someone was bound to drop. When there aren't huge drop-offs in talent, team preference plays a larger role and the teams picking in the early second round apparently were OK with the smaller points, Bobbitt and White.