Last season the Connecticut Sun was the most even team in the WNBA. As a result they finished a very respectable fourth in the league. This season they need to take it to the next level, however they have a settled roster so it may have to be organic growth.
The Connecticut Sun were certainly the most even team in terms of talent last season. No other team in the league could substitute as many starters with bench players and not notice much of a difference. However, what they are lacking is a class finisher who can ice a game.
This season the Sun have almost their entire core under contract. They have the chance to really build on last season with Chiney Ogwumike back for a second season after injury. Here is the list of players coming back for the Sun.
Rachel Banham – On most other teams in the league, Banham would get a whole lost more playing time thanks her long-range ability. Looks to be totally over the knee injury which threatened to derail her career before it started, Banham had five starts last year, her first ever.
Lexie Brown – The most under utilised of her rookie class, Brown needs to work hard to get into the rotation. Has the talent to be a franchise player in the future.
Layshia Clarendon – Played 15 games after being traded but was not her usual productive self. Needs some more time to integrate into the Sun system.
Bria Holmes – Missed the entire of last season due to pregnancy. Will add something special to this squad next season.
Brionna Jones – Has been tearing it up in Europe in the offseason, at best Jones will stay buried in the bench next season for the Sun.
Jonquel Jones – Has the talent level to lead the league in almost every category. Fitting into this system could be holding her back but will make another leap this season as the Sun continue to figure out how to play Jones and Ogwumike.
Chiney Ogwumike – The undoubted star of the Sun – until she got injured. With the emergence of Jones, Ogwumike has had to adjust to a different role with the team. Still a star, Ogwumike has an incredible role to play in the success of the franchise.
Shikinna Stricklen – Can anyone else say glue? Stricklen produces points, rebounds, passing, defense and floor spacing when the team needs them. The importance of Stricklen cannot be overstated.
Alyssa Thomas – Another benefactor of the Ogwumike injury, Thomas has shown that an all-star does not have to be perfect. Her production, however, is crucial for this team.
Morgan Tuck – An important bench piece, Tuck provides backup at the Sun’s shallowest position, the wing.
Courtney Williams – Fast becoming one of the best guards in the league. Williams is a good scorer, quality rebounder for her size and good shot creator. Needs to develop that killer instinct at the end of games more to be considered truly elite.
Free agents to be re-signed
The Sun have two players off contract this season. It seems that only one of them to be re-signed. They only have about $130.000 in salary cap space.
Jasmine Thomas – After being cored it is very obvious that the Sun value the services of this incredibly talented guard. First in the team in assists, second in scoring and third in steals, her pedigree is without question.
Unlikely to be re-signed
Betnijah Laney – The only benefit for the Sun is that Laney has a small contract. However, there is a good chance that the Sun will trade other players away to open up cap space so they can sign another usable piece.
The Sun are almost there, they are just a piece away from being a serious contender. They may be aggressive on the trade market in an effort to bring in a Natasha Howard type player, one who makes a much greater impact on her new team than her old team.