WNBA and NBA News of the Week
February 4, 2021
The WNBA and NBA have both had newsworthy weeks. In the WNBA free agency has begun and players are moving quickly. In the NBA, despite some games being rescheduled, they are a little over a month into the season and recently announced the players and coaches of the month from each conference.
The WNBA has been busy this week with free agency signings. Since there aren’t as many teams usually most players will stay with their current team, besides a handful. This year Diana Tarausi with the Phoenix Mercury and Brionna Jones with the Connecticut Sun are sticking with their current teams, however there were some surprising changes.
One of the biggest changes has got to be Candace Parker, who has been with the LA Sparks for thirteen years, signing with the Chicago Sky. Parker is a two time WNBA MVP and WNBA Champion, so she is sure to thrive with the Sky and add to an already stacked roster consisting of Diamond DeSheilds, Allie Quigley, and Courtney Vandersloot. An added incentive to signing with the Sky is that it is a homecoming for Parker as she grew up in Naperville, a suburb just outside of Chicago. Another surprise move was Alysha Clark, previously with the Seattle Storm, signing with the Washington Mystics. After winning two championships with the Storm, she has decided to head to DC, where she will pair up with Elena Delle Donne and Tina Charles. With that, Kayla McBride, from the Las Vegas Aces has signed with the Minnesota Lynxs, reuniting with her Notre Dame teammate Natalia Achonwa. Also, Betnijah Laney from the Atlanta Dream has signed with the New York Liberty, Erica Wheeler from the Indiana Fever singing with the LA Sparks, and Chelsea Gray from the LA Sparks signing with the Las Vegas Aces. Also notable, Alyssa Thomas, who has just undergone surgery on her achilles tendon, has resigned with the Connecticut Sun, a team she has been playing with since 2014. Jonquel Jones, who is the starting center for the Sun, has also resigned with the team after taking an offseason due to COVID-19. These were both big wins for the Sun as Thomas and Jones are two of their go-to players on the team and it would be risky to lose them.
Also, the NBA has just announced their player and coach of the month from each conference. In the Eastern Conference, player of the month is Joel Embiid, the starting center for the 76ers. Embiid has been playing with the Sixers since 2014, and he currently averages 28.3 points in a total of 31.7 minutes per game. Not having started playing basketball until much later in his teenage years, he has become the face of the organization for the Sixers. Embiid is a generational talent, a big man who can dominate on both ends of the floor. Play off him and he's bound to drain a three in his defenders face and do his patented shimmy back down the court as the other teams coach calls a timeout. Also from the East, the coach of the month is Sixers head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers became the Sixers head coach for the 20-21 season after seven seasons of Brett Brown coaching the team. Rivers has previously coached for the Boston Celtics and two other teams, winning an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008. Doc Rivers was hired to try and do what Brett Brown couldn't- get the Sixers to play up to their potential. Talent has always been there for the Sixers with Ben Simmons, Embiid, and Tobais Harris, but they couldn't make the leap from Good to great. Currently the Sixers are sitting at 16-6 recently beating the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers, so no surprise Rivers gets the honors.
For the Western Conference, player of the month was Nikola “The Joker” Jokic from the Denver Nuggets. From Serbia, he plays as a center for the Nuggets and has averaged 26.8 points per game. In his fifth season, Jokic has been beneficial in many ways for his team, scoring 33 of his 47 points in the first half of the game against the Utah Jazz, that number being the most in a first-half of an NBA game this season. With this, Jokic is one of the best all around players in the league and an amazing passer, giving the Nuggets a chance to win every night. Also, the coach of the month for the Western Conference is Quin Snyder from the Utah Jazz, leading the team on a 15-5 record so far. Snyder has coached the Jazz since 2014, previously coached by Tyrone Corbin.
With so many changes in the WNBA and announcements of player and coach of the month for the NBA, there are definitely more exciting games to be played on the way.