Last season Liz Cambage came back in to the WNBA, helping the Dallas Wings make the playoffs. This season, thanks to her trade the Las Vegas Aces are now contenders.
When Liz Cambage told the Dallas Wings that she wanted a trade, she always had her eyes set on Los Angeles. However, as time passed, she allowed the Wings to trade her to other teams. This is when Bill Laimbeer and the Las Vegas Aces stepped up.
Laimbeer made the Aces into a better team, a championship contending team without losing any major components of a young team. The details of the trade are the Aces receive Cambage. In return the Wings receive Moriah Jefferson, Isabelle Harrison and the Aces first and second round picks in the 2020 WNBA draft.
This is a good haul for Cambage which will help the Wings in the future. However, Cambage makes the Aces into a win-now team, laden with talent at every position. There is an element of risk for the Aces in that they have given some quality pieces and some future pieces for someone who may leave at the end of the season.
That being said, the risk is certainly worth the potential reward. Cambage is going to have an impact on every position on the court. Lets take a look at how.
By trading away Jefferson, Laimbeer has sent a clear message to Kelsey Plum that she is the number one point guard on the team. There was always a level of doubt with Jefferson on the team but without her, Plum has the position to herself. This gives her a level of surety which is going to allow her confidence to grow.
This leaves Sugar Rodgers to be her primary backup. This means that Rodgers will be able to organise the second unit to be strong and cohesive, strengthening the overall game.
Kayla McBride is a lock for starting shooting guard. She is one of the elite guards in the WNBA and is the best player on the Aces roster for floor spacing. The shooting of McBride and Plum will be hard to stop as opposition teams will have the incredibly difficult task of stopping Cambage and second year phenom A’Ja Wilson.
McBride’s backup is going to be the most recent number one draft pick Jackie Young. The Aces are in an incredible position where they can develop another number one pick without them having the pressure of being the answer for a team. Look for Young to develop quickly this year.
Tamera Young is the starting small forward for the Aces. I once described her as the most Bill Laimbeer signing ever, a whole lot of defense with some offense to sweeten the deal. With Cambage as one of the best players in the league who is incredibly efficient offensively, Young has the chance to concentrate more on defense.
This will give a defense a focus and a leader which will only benefit the win column. This is particularly so when you take into account Cambage’s ability to block shots. Her backup will probably be Jaime Nared, who is the only possible weak link in the backup unit.
Wilson is the player whose numbers are going to be most impacted by Cambage. Her rookie numbers will drop given that Cambage will demand the ball more just by her sheer presence. Wilson is going to have to figure out her chemistry with Cambage.
However, she is such a talent that this will not be an issue. It will take a little time but the Aces will be a playoff team by the end of the season and the Aces will be a threat. Playing behind Wilson will be Dearica Hamby who would be starting on half the other teams in the league.
Obviously Cambage is going to be the starting center for the Aces. She has the ability to dominate inside, shoot from the perimeter, rebound, block and alter shots to name just a few of her abilities.
My guess is that JiSu Park is going to take the greater amounts of available minutes at backup. While she is young, the leadership of Rodgers will allow her to flourish with the second unit. If a more experienced, defensive presence is needed, Carolyn Swords will be deployed.
As shown above, Cambage’s impact will be felt by the whole team and therefore the league. This has just added a whole new level of excitement and intrigue to the WNBA for this season.