Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sheryl Swoopes Waived by Seattle

Sherly Swoopes was waived by Seattle on January 30th. The explanation given on RebKell is that her contract with the Seattle Storm had a clause that if she were still with the team by February 1st, her salary would have to be guaranteed.

Swoopes is the #4 scorer in WNBA history and is one of only eight players in WNBA history to score 4,000 points in a career. Only she and Lisa Leslie have won three WNBA Most Valuable Player awards.

Except for 2001, she has played in every WNBA season. The most similar player that the Similarity Scores system can find for Swoopes is Andrea Stinson, of all people, which is a testimony to Swoopes's greatness - great players have no one that is truly similar to them as players.

Here are Swoopes's Player Efficiency Ratings, followed by year and age in parentheses - remember that a PER = 9 is replacement level, 15 is average and that 30 is a superstar MVP season:

26.87 (1997-26)
24.43 (1998-27)
29.01 (1999-28)
31.83 (2000-29)
25.42 (2002-31)
23.38 (2003-32)
20.52 (2004-33)
26.65 (2005-34)
19.13 (2006-35)
10.06 (2007-36)
15.37 (2008-37)

Aside from a dip in 2007, Swoopes is capable of being at least an average player in the WNBA, easily above replacement level. The big question is whether anyone is going to play a superstar salary for a player who will be 38 years old this year. My guess is that in order for Swoopes to have a job this year, she's going to have to take a pay cut. Does Swoopes really want to put herself through the ringer of a WNBA season for less pay?

Swoopes needs 396 points to reach the 5,000 point plateau with Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson and Katie Smith. I don't think she can get it this season; she has passed her peak as player and can't create those kind of points in a season anymore. She needs at least this season and 2010 to be sure. But would she get those kind of minutes as a bench player?

Swoopes's future as a player is definitely uncertain. My thought is that she should find a spot on a bench somewhere for one more season, and then at the end of 2009 retire on her own terms. She deserves that.

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