Wednesday, March 4, 2009
One more time!
A friend of mine on a blog - I can't say which - decried the existence of "what if" scenarios. Therefore, I'll try to answer a big what if that gets Tennessee fans a buzzing:
What if Candace Parker decided to remain in Tennessee for her fourth year of eligibilty and skipped the 2008 WNBA Draft?
Let's make this easy and say that Candace Parker changed her mind after she got drafted by the Sparks - that way we don't have to change the rest of the draft.
1. Candace probably would have helped Tennessee a lot. Maybe somewhere between four to six wins worth of help. This of course depends on the value of the player she'd be displacing. A 20-9 team becomes a 24-5 team or a 26-3 team, and Tennessee goes back into the AP Top Ten.
2. Without Candace, Los Angeles sinks by approximately four wins, using the value of win shares determined by basketball-reference.com. But who gets the four wins that the Sparks lose? I gave them to:
a) Detroit, a team that LA only beat by 3 points in one matchup
b) Chicago, a team that LA only beat by 4 points
c) Connecticut, a team that lost to LA in overtime by 5 points, and
d) San Antonio, where LA beat the Silver Stars by 5 despite shooting only 34 percent.
Here are the new 2008 WNBA Final Standings in a universe without Candace Parker:
New York 19-15
San Antonio 25-9
Sacramento Monarchs 18-16
Houston Comets 17-17
Los Angeles 16-18 (4-3, 2-2 vs. Phoenix, better conference record)
Phoenix Mercury 16-18 (4-3, 2-2 vs. Los Angeles, worse conference record)
Minnesota Lynx 16-18 (2-4)
3. Nothing changes in the East. Detroit goes on to win the East, and most likely, win the title.
4. In the West, Sacramento moves up into the #3 spot and the Houston Comets move up to the #4 spot. This sets up Seattle-Sacramento (which Seattle would probably win) and San Antonio-Houston. San Antonio and Houston hate each other as teams. If somehow, Houston ends up defeating the Silver Stars in the first round, it makes it that much tougher to contract Houston. Despite the financial burden, in that outcome Houston might survive yet another year.
5. Whoever replaces Candace Parker on the Los Angeles roster doesn't rise to Plenette Pierson's bait. "The Brawl" never takes place.
6. Likewise, Candace Parker's dunks are removed. Lisa Leslie remains the only woman to dunk in a WNBA game.
7. Finishing 16-18 for the year is a bit depressing. Lisa Leslie wonders if she should take an earlier retirement.
8. In the NCAA tournament, Tennessee makes it to the Regional Finals before falling. Candace Parker is projected as the #1 pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. Atlanta, picking first, picks Angel McCoughtry for some inexplicable reason.
As a result, the Washington Mystics choose Candace Parker with their #2 pick. In her first few games for Washington, she dunks. Barack Obama takes his daughters to see Candace Parker play for the Mystics, and a new era begins.
9. Lisa Leslie is talked out of retirement. She thinks she'll get along fine with the Sparks first-round draft pick, a girl named Courtney Paris....