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May 14, 2008 at 8:22 AM

Are WNBA GMs nuts?

I’m in the midst of pulling together our Storm preview, which should be in Friday’s paper (pray for me). But you know I couldn’t let this season’s GM survey slide by and not have a comment.
Los Angeles as the 2008 champs? With 46 percent of the vote? Are you kidding me?
Don’t you dare bring up how Sheryl Swoopes returned from pregnancy and helped lead Houston to a title as defense for how Lisa Leslie can do the same. First, Swoopes was 26 when she became the poster-woman for springing back after giving birth. Leslie is 35! And did anyone watch her during the friendlies in China? I’ve never been a Leslie promoter, I do work in Seattle, but I’ve always respected her game and it’s not there yet.
Plus, all this hype for Candace Parker when she’s playing year-round for basically the first time on a shoulder that’s been dislocated twice is crazy. Not particularly worried about that because I’ve seen the rookie over-hype before in Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Seimone Augustus. All were No. 1 overall draft picks. All had to fall in line, learn the ropes and in the case of Bird and Taurasi, scrap to win their first “expected” title.
Which brings me to what is really bothersome. The total dis of Phoenix. Yes, Penny Taylor opting to train with her national team for the Olympics hurts, but not enough for the Mercury not to be heavily favored this summer. Even the loss of coach Paul Westhead to the Sonics shouldn’t be a factor since Corey Gaines was groomed to take over and — hello — played and worked with Westhead. Gaines was the player’s pick to take the position, according to general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale. And everybody has players arriving late to camp, so you can’t knock Finals MVP Cappie Pondexter and Kelly Miller’s anticipated Thursday arrival from overseas play as a reason to not believe they’ll repeat.
Since predictions won’t be part of our preview package, I’ll go ahead and state that I think the championship goes East with San Antonio being a strong contender in the West. But I wouldn’t snub Phoenix. LA and Seattle would have to come in after that.
Of course all this confusion was dampened when I got some insider information that said the GMs, crunched for time to kick-off a pivotal season, didn’t really do all of the voting. Apparently some was delegated to employees. But they should know better, too.

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