First-overall picks rarely play revenge games. But in just three weeks of his rookie season with the Atlanta Dream, the do-it-all wing Ryan Howard has already found himself in two. In the first, against the Washington Mystics, Howard made a perfect 4-for-4 shot in the first quarter, leaving 15 points in that frame alone. Seeing this, it was hard not to be surprised by the same thing I thought before the five games of the dream: What did the mystics think when they won the draft lottery but traded with Atlanta a week before the draft?
This is not quite a rhetorical question. It was the old “need vs. best player available” confusion, and the mystics liked them. “At the end of the day, we felt we needed more of a post player in the long run,” Mike Thibault, head coach and general manager at Mystic, said in a post game. “But he’s an excellent shooter.” Mystics would not make the mistake of underestimating Howard again. The second time they played, the league’s best defense held all the way and kept Howard goalless in his only bad game of the season so far. Last night, though, Howard celebrated a Rookie of the Month award with a 22-point, three-steal performance against the Minnesota Links. It was another night in the office for Rocky who found his way to this league extraordinarily fast.
We probably came to the league for a very draft Rocky and closed the door. Sabrina Ionescu entered the WNBA with unrealistic expectations, but injury and her limited athleticism still prevent her clear skills from translating into team success. Last year’s first-overall pick, Charlie Collier – well, I couldn’t really tell you anything about him. According to his basketball-reference page, he was 6-foot-5, attended Barbers Hill High School in Mont Bellevue, Texas, and averaged two points and less than five minutes in a game with the Dallas Wings this year. There are plenty of seasons left না don’t call the race now — but this year’s rookie class looks set to turn the best rookie of the year into more interesting discussions than last year, when the prize went to the only rookie by default, a starting lineup crack. Shakira Austin, the post player who was traded for picking The Mystics at No. 3, has made the transition so impressive to the professionals that Thibault can’t stop the trade too much. Howard, meanwhile, could only build a one-year resume but a decent MVP case. She has taken her dreams from clown shows to stingy and respectable ones. By Kevin Pelton’s War Metric, She is second in the league, behind Brenna Stewart and just ahead of Elena Dale Don. There are always excellent spreadsheet companies.
There was something before the start of the season Online chat About whether Thibault really traded the mystics for positional needs or whether the trade could be read as a judgment of the top possibility of the draft. In a pre-draft survey conducted by The Athletic, a WNBA general manager called Howard “the irresistible best prospect of the year. I don’t think there’s anyone around him,” and then added, “I think the question on his motor And his passion and his struggles এটি it’s going to be a question mark for everyone around him. ” Taking remote psychoanalysis from anonymous GM and Twitter scouts is the price that long-term speculative first-overall picks must pay, in fact long-term predictions are annoying and the paradox is nothing but funny.
In college, Howard was a big fish in a small pond; Among his Kentucky teammates, perhaps one got a chance to play in the WNBA. The questions about “passion” and “fighting” become clearer if you consider how tiring it can be to play in such a national team. Howard’s game, like his coach Tanisha Wright’s made it, doesn’t draw much attention to itself either. (Well, probably on the defensive end, where Howard is already a formidable shot-blocker.) Most of his production comes from great three-point shooting at high volume করছে shooting three to about 43 percent in about seven attempts per game. What makes the shooting so wonderful is that Howard already has a cool, intelligent way of looking beautiful. It’s not that some rockies have that kind of feeling, though it’s true. Very few players ever develop anything like this.
Maya Moore, if she has a much deeper bag than Howard, could similarly dominate a game. He thrived off the screen curling, and then strikes with a quick release. For all that Moore’s teammates in Minnesota were going for, I remember a fun way to watch a Lynx game was just to keep an eye on Moore, his hiding around the ball, moving away from defenders, and always ending in the right place at the right time. The kind of threat Moore had, Howard needed to diversify and expand his game. (Three-point shooting can sink in because he scouts better, and at the moment, he’s less efficient than two.) He’s shown more interest in making his own shots in his last few games, which is encouraging. But those “motor” concerns seem particularly funny now. Ryan Howard never stops walking. That’s what makes him a star.