Atlanta Dream 2010 Season Preview
All the potential in the world.
We continue previewing the 2010 WNBA Season with the Atlanta Dream. You can read past previews here.
By Ben York/@bjyork
At first glance, the Dream presents a unique challenge to accurately predict how their 2010 season will be. While it wouldn’t surprise me if they finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference, conversely, it wouldn’t surprise me if they missed the Playoffs altogether. Though, that will ultimately depend on if the other revamped teams (Liberty, Sun, etc.) find a way to put together a better-than-expected season.
Still, I tend to think the result will be somewhere in the middle for the Atlanta Dream. After all, the 2009 season was such a marked improvement from all other years that you’d have to imagine they would continue to build upon that success. The Dream achieved a WNBA record-tying 14-win improvement from the year prior which earned Marynell Meadors the WNBA Coach of the Year award, solidified Angel McCoughtry as a bona-fide star in the league, and saw the emergence of Erika de Souza as one of (if not the) best center in the WNBA. Although the Detroit Shock knocked them out of the Playoffs in the first round, it provided the team with an indelible sense of what it takes to compete for a perennial spot amongst the Eastern Conference powerhouses.
Although the Dream didn’t make any spectacular off-season additions in terms of player personnel, their greatest asset could be the change in front office leadership. In August of 2009, the Dream’s previous owner, Ron Terwilliger, informed the WNBA that he would relinquish his position as owner but remain involved as an investor. Enter Kathy Betty. An Atlanta businesswoman, Betty, announced she would buy the Dream from the WNBA and immediately expressed her desire to be one of the more active owners in the league. What does this mean for the Dream? It means growth, advancement, sponsorships, and a renewed sense of stability in the Atlanta area.
In terms of on-court talent, the Dream certainly return some fantastic players. Two of which, Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza, are early favorites for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. McCoughtry and de Souza give the Dream essentially everything — scoring, defense, a strong post presence, a go-to player, and leadership. The Dream’s roster is undeniably loaded with talent, as evidenced by their 84.1 ppg in 2009 which was good for 2nd in the league. Rounding out the team is a nice mix of veterans and youth which include Arminitie Price, Chanel Mokango, Shalee Lehning, Kelly Miller, Coco Miller, and Iziane Castro Marques.
Ultimately, the Dream will go as far as Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza take them. Both had phenomenal seasons overseas and came in to training camp with high expectations. You could sense the chemistry the two players started to develop towards the end of the 2009 season which should be exciting for Dream fans everywhere. The supporting players, such as Arminitie Price and Iziane Castro Marques, are versatile enough to provide a scoring boost on a nightly basis to supplement McCoughtry and de Souza.
The good news for the Dream is that the majority of teams in the East have added so many new players that it might take a while for their opposition to figure out how to play together. The Sun virtually have an entirely new team altogether, the Liberty added two stars to the mix in Cappie Pondexter and Nicole Powell, and the Sky still needs to determine how to mesh Sylvia Fowles and Shameka Christon together. While the competition for a Playoff spot should prove to be extremely fierce as the season winds down, the Dream needs to bank on their experience, chemistry, and confidence early in the season to get started on the right foot.
The key word for the Dream is “potential.” They have the pieces, the coach, the talent, and the desire; the only question remains, will it enough to get the Dream in to the Playoffs? Or, better yet, perhaps in to the Eastern Conference Finals?