Monday, January 12, 2009

Predicting Nikki Teasley

When last we saw Nikki Teasley....

Nikki Teasley and Chamique Holdsclaw have something in common - a Los Angeles connection. Both Teasley and Holdsclaw played for the Los Angeles Sparks in 2005. Both of them would also end up skipping at least one year of WNBA. For Teasley, the reasons would be two fold: a new addition to the family (the birth of a daughter in June) and bad knees.

In March 2008, she was released by the Washington Mystics.

In June 2008, she had her daughter.

In November 2008, she was already working out with a college exhibition team (DT-3) and played a few games against southern DI colleges. Supposedly, she has also been rehabbing those knees of hers that clearly impaired her productivity which can be seen by Teasley's dip in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) between 2006 and 2007. (16.71 in 2006 vs. 9.79 in 2007.) By 2007, she was just playing above replacement level.

So what if she hadn't had the pregnancy? What if she had spent some time in rehab?

I went ahead and projected the 2008 season for Teasley, and then projected a 2009 season based on the 2008 season. The results are below.

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The Simple Projection System hedges its bets based on that awful 2007 season, and rightly so. Maybe Nikki will be transcendent again. Maybe if Nikki's knees don't bother her, she might still be suffering from aches and pains. The 2009 season projects her as a slightly worse than average player, but still better than Kristin Haynie or Tamera Young. She'd be a backup behind Ivory Latta, but if Teasley is fully recovered they could expect to fight for that 1-spot.

Nikki is still relatively young. But Ivory is even younger, and can only get better with more experience. Ivory was great in Turkey, and I expect she'll be great in Israel. If Nikki Teasley expects to waltz into Ivory Latta's job, she'll have a fight on her hands.

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