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Can the Sun learn from aces and embrace the three-ball out of season?

Can the Sun learn from aces and embrace the three-ball out of season?

It’s been less than a month since the Connecticut Sun fell 3-1 in the 2022 WNBA Finals to the Las Vegas Ice.

Shortly after watching the Aces celebrate the championship in their home stadium, Alyssa Thomas, Breona Jones, Jonquil Jones and Kurt Miller hopped on planes to fly halfway around the world at the 2022 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia.

Almost immediately after getting off the plane, A. Thomas turned engine into Team USA, and made a profit best defensive player Honor because she helped fuel the Americans’ race for the gold medal. B. Jones proved easy-going for champions, serving as a strong and healthy presence on call. J. Jones, in turn, faced Less fun australian tripas she was tasked with carrying the Bosnia and Herzegovina team too much.

The trio will now turn their attention and energies to their overseas teams, with A. Thomas and B. Jones once again with USK Prague while J. جوukurova. Nia Clawden and Joyner Holmes have also started their foreign seasons for UMCS Lublin And the dynamo sasari, Straight. The other sun will be out this season. Recently named Natisha Hedman Player Development Manager for the State of Pennsylvania. DiJonai Carrington and Courtney Williams may once again participate in Athletes Unlimited.

As was the case for most of the WNBA, Sun had no choice but to relocate from the 2022 season, under pressure from the women’s hoops calendar driving to maximize opportunities to earn additional income and/or gain alternative experiences. However, there is no doubt that the Sun’s copper will eventually take time to reflect on what happened in 2022 to see what could happen in 2023.

This is our analysis of the state of the Connecticut Sun heading out of the season.


Sun stats (per game)

  • First Net Rating (9.5)
  • Third Rating (85.8)
  • Offensive Rank 2 (105.8)
  • Second scoring defense (77.8)
  • Defensive Class II (96.3)
  • Second field goal percentage (46.2)
  • 7th field goal defense percentage (43.9)
  • #11 of 3 heads (6.4)
  • Third rate 3 points (35.4)
  • The triple seven symbols are allowed (7.3)
  • Second defense by 3 points (32.8)
  • Second Free Throw Attempts (19.9)
  • First Personal Error Checked (18.9)
  • Sixth Free Throw Percentage (78.9)
  • Sixth Personal Error (17.1)
  • Third opponent’s free throw attempts (16)
  • First Offensive Rebound (10.2)
  • 2nd Attack Rebound Allowed (6.9)
  • All Rebound (37.1)
  • No. 8 (14.4)
  • Sixth opponent steals (7.7)
  • Forced First Turns (15.5)
  • First Thefts (8.8)
  • blocks 12 (2.7)
  • Seventh opponent blocks (3.6)
  • Third passes (21.1)
  • Third passes allowed (19.3)

Statistical classification analysis / non-seasonal goals

Surveying the Sun’s stats for 2022, there’s not much to complain about. Having the league’s best net rating, which is traditionally associated with team quality, indicates that Connecticut has been one of the best teams in the league. In short, her reaching the finals was not the result of luck.

The stats also reflect the degree to which the Sun has been an aggressive and fearsome force across the Earth. They possessed the interior by cleaning the glass upon attack. They also constantly disrupted things in a good way by drawing bugs on one side and grabbing thefts on the other.

Much of the 2022 Sun’s identity reflects the influence of Alyssa Thomas.
Photo by Michael Reeves/Getty Images

However, despite these numbers, as well as the fact that The Sun has made it to the finals, some things seem to need to change. It remains the feeling that the sun was less than the sum of its parts and that – although it was distinguished – it could have been better.

Connecticut offense, in particular, could use further improvement, as the overall numbers obscure how much it turned out to be a mudslide. While Jasmine Thomas’ hopeful full health return will help resolve some of these issues as she is the veteran Earth general that Sun lost in 2022, it won’t necessarily correct the most obvious problem with the offense: the 3-point shooting.

WNBA: May 14 Los Angeles Sparks at Connecticut Sun

While Jasmine Thomas’ return will alleviate some of Sun’s offensive issues, other tweaks will be required to improve Connecticut’s offensive.
Photo by M Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In modern basketball, the triple pointer was created to be the skeleton key to not only the mighty attack, which the sun was on, but also the flexible attack, which the sun was not. While it had 3 percentage points, Connecticut ranked 11th on 3 throws per game, and 11th in attempts per game, leading to its offensive surge. More than just placing an extra point on the scoreboard, and just threatening to take it, the three tokens can unleash the attack, creating space for actions that can lead to smoother scoring chances in the paint.

As previously discussed, the example of the Las Vegas Aces, the team that defeated The Sun in the Finals, is instructive. In 2021, the aces were a superb attacking one, with a strong paint-centric and free-throw look that resembled the 2022 sun. Vegas’s attacking 2022 rating was not clearly higher than that of 2021; However, the way this slightly higher rating was achieved in 2022 made a definite difference. The Aces’ shameless 3-point bombardment spread opponents and opened up space for Aja Wilson, in particular, to dominate. By releasing more triples, the sun will likewise not sacrifice or reduce the productivity of its seniors, but instead create an environment in which they can thrive.

Under Contract for 2023*

  • DeWanna Bonner ($234,350 protected)
  • Alyssa Thomas ($212,000, protected)
  • Jonquel Jones ($211,150, protected)
  • Jasmine Thomas ($190,000, protected)
  • Dejonay Carrington ($69,053, unprotected)
  • Nia Claudine ($67,634, unprotected)

Unrestricted Free Agents

  • Bria Hartley
  • Briona Jones
  • Odyssey Sims
  • Courtney Williams

Restricted Free Agents

booked up

Draft Choices

10, 22, 34

Player Analysis/Out of Season Goals

Over the course of the season, Sun will have the opportunity to adjust their personnel in order to craft a roster more suited to embracing the 3 Pointer and produce a more consistent and flexible offensive tackle.

Unless Kurt Miller and Connecticut Sun’s front desk can conjure up some cover space magic, Brewna Jones, due to a decade nearing the limit, won’t be a Sun member. Losing the most advanced player in 2021 and the sixth in 2022 is, of course, important. But if the Sun can do other clever maneuvers, a loss can become a gain.

2022 WNBA Finals - Game Three

The Sun can mitigate the blow of Brianna Jones’ loss by adding smart free agencies.
Photo by Maddy Meyer/Getty Images

Despite some success with jumbo squads where B Jones shared the floor with J Jones and A. Thomas, Sun was mostly unable to play the top three players together. While the Sun won’t be able to add their third best new player this off season, they should aim to sign (or trade) one or two players that allow their top players to be the best versions of themselves.

In 2019, the last time The Sun advanced to the Finals, the team had the 3 biggest throws in every game in franchise history, buoyed by Schickina Stricklin’s nearly six attempts per game. And so Miller knows how to take advantage of the elite break. However, Stricklen was a weak point at the other end as a sub-par defender.

Fortunately for Sun, the current crop of free agent includes players who can repeat Stricklen’s shot without sacrificing as much in defense. In fact, one of those players is restricted to free agent Natisha Heydemann, who The Sun should prioritize re-signing. With J. Thomas back on Earth, Hiedeman can switch to a shooting ranger role or serve as an off-the-bench shooter, moving away from the gaming industry responsibilities she has been forced to take on this season in favor of serving as a high-powered 3-point shooter. Although she is not an extra advocate due to her small size, Heidemann can at least bring energy and vigor in this regard.

2022 WNBA Finals - Game Three

Sun should re-sign Natisha Hedman and encourage her to shoot more three-pointers.
Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images

Among the unrestricted free agents, some of the interesting names that Connecticut could target include Alicia Clark, Sammy Whitcomb or Kia Norse. The Sun could also consider bringing back the likes of Lexi Brown or Rachel Banham. All of these players are more than just bowlers, with Clark having her own post-rebound game and the others being able to offer secondary ball handling and play making.

The most intriguing option is the nurse, who may seem odd because she came off a season-long ACL injury and is the most inconsistent shooter of the bunch. However, she offers the most positive side, and not just because of her UConn pedigree. 27 when the 2023 WNBA season begins, the nurse, at least before her injury, had the kind of size and athletic performance that suggested she would be well suited to defending the sun. If she regains her speed, she will also increase Connecticut’s transition attack. And even if she’s not a superb three-point shooter, she’s not afraid to shoot, averaging five attempts per game over her four-year career.

With a year on the verge of landing with New York Liberty, Whitcomb is also worth watching, especially if Liberty makes it. Bigger moves (insert eyeball emojis) that might prevent them from re-signing it. In 2021, she was one of the most dangerous 3-point strikers in the league, taking six 3-balls per game and hitting 42.5 percent of them. In defense, Whitcomb annoying enough. It will also bring the championship experience from its seasons with the Seattle Storm.

In order to add multiple 3D players, the Sun could decide not to keep Courtney Williams. Williams brings in the juice of loose scoring, but her fascination with mid-range jumpers, while fascinated when shots drop, limits her offensive efficiency and often contributes to sun struggles. Alternatively, with J. Thomas back, Williams could be encouraged to discover a diet with more of the three pointers. During the 2019 playoffs, when Williams was playing the best basketball of her career, she made 3.6 three-pointers per game, registering 41.4 percent.

In short, the sun hasn’t set on Connecticut’s championship hopes, especially if they make moves that suggest they’re ready to expand their offensive horizon.


*All contract details courtesy of Her hop stats



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