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.