Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Little Trade That Could be Big

Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

In late June, the Storm trades next year's second-round pick to an expansion team in exchange for a player to bolster the team's bench. Sound familiar? It should. While that describes Sunday's trade that brought second-year forward Camille Little to Seattle, it's equally accurate when applied to the Storm's 2006 trade with the Chicago Sky for Ashley Robinson. That move has paid off handsomely; Robinson is still with the Storm, while just two players drafted after the Sky picked Stephanie Raymond with the Storm's pick remain active in the WNBA. This trade has a chance to be as beneficial to the Storm.

In Little, the Storm gets a young player who has already contributed to a playoff team and has two-plus years left on her rookie contract. Taken early in the 2007 second round by San Antonio, Little was considered a major steal. I had her as the second-best power forward available in the draft. Here's my scouting report:

Just as much as Ivory Latta, Little has been responsible for North Carolina's remarkable success over the last four seasons. The seniors hope to cap their career by winning the NCAA title next week. It was Little who was the ACC's "Rookie of the Year" in 2003-04 before taking a backseat to the Latta Show. Still, Little has played a key role in the Tar Heels' frenetic defense and is a capable scorer who is averaging a career-high 14.4 points per game as a senior.
As a rookie, Little played both forward positions off the bench, giving the Silver Stars a big lift when Erin Buescher was lost for the year with a torn ACL. She averaged 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and was one of five rookies in the league to play at least 20 minutes per night. That earned Little a spot on the All-Rookie Team.

Surely San Antonio wanted to hang on to Little, but when the opportunity came up to acquire veteran center Ann Wauters, the Silver Stars made Little the centerpiece of their package to the Dream. Now Little is reunited with her former assistant coach in San Antonio, Brian Agler. Not only does Agler know what he's getting, that should help make changing teams easier for Little.

The strength of Little's game is her defense. A very athletic player, she can defend either forward position and is active at that end of the floor. She gives the Storm another option off the bench up front and should be a regular part of the team's rotation.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Seattle Camille Little looking forward to seeing you on the floor at the Key. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an excellent trade. Will Little help the in the rebounding department?

Kevin Pelton said...

When she's at small forward, definitely. Last year, Little grabbed 13.1 percent of available rebounds, which is great for a small forward and more than passable at power forward. She hasn't been quite as formidable on the boards this year, at 10.9 percent.

Anonymous said...

This move makes me an instant fan of the Seattle Storm. I love everything about that girl and her game. With her combination of good looks and talent I will definitely be watching a lot more of this team.