Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What If...No Candace Parker in 2008?

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 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:


Detroit 23-11
Connecticut 23-11
New York 19-15
Indiana 17-17
Chicago 13-21
Washington 10-24
Atlanta 4-30


San Antonio 25-9
Seattle 22-12
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....


Anonymous said...

No extra wins for the home team?

Anonymous said...

Well, we only played Los Angeles twice in 2008. The second time we played them, we beat them in probably the best of our (only) four wins that year.

The first time we played them, we lost by 18 points, in a game where we shot 29 percent from the field and where Candace only scored 12 points. I think even without Candace we would have lost that game.

Anonymous said...

Minor notice: Using the "win shares" that you did to determine how many games by which the Sparks would have sunk without Candace, I believe you used the "offensive win shares" alone, instead of adding it with the defensive, which would be an approximate 7 games...not 4.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2, you're absolutely right. I overlooked that. It just goes to show you how important Candace was to the Sparks in 2008, and why she deserved the MVP.