“It will happen”: The Dallas Wings are putting it together as Diggins-Smith gets closer to returning

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Regardless of what the record shows from the past week and what most may think, Dallas is on the right track. The coaches know it, the organization as a whole knows it and so does this team. Time for the rest of the world to dig deeper than looking at wins and losses.

Don’t Be Fooled

This Dallas team remains close in most of their games. Out of their nine total losses on the season, the Wings have only lost by a wide margin a few times. Wide margin meaning 15 or more points. In five of their nine losses, Dallas fell by double digits. However, three of those double digit losses came from teams that were on a three or more game losing streak and extremely hungry to get a win. In all four other losses, the Wings lost by just four points or fewer.

So let’s pretend Dallas didn’t let those four games slip away at the end and won instead. Turn those four close losses into wins and the Wings are sitting in a three-way tie for 2nd place in the WNBA standings. I don’t sound so crazy for thinking this team could compete now, do I? Head coach Brian Agler has stressed to the media and all the hecklers that “it’s going to happen..” with this team. Eluding to them having a plan and just putting all of the pieces together.

When you’re in the position that Dallas is, it’s not so easy to get it going quickly. Dallas will likely be one of maybe two teams without a player on the all-star team. If that comes to pass, it would be the first time since the franchise moved to Dallas that they lacked an all-star. Had Skylar Diggins-Smith played this year, she probably makes the team. Regardless, the team certainly lacks star power and has struggled. However, don’t let the record fool you.

“To have success in this league you have to have playmakers,” said Agler during the post-game on Kayla Thornton in the fourth quarter. “You can run your offense all day long, but you have to have people that have the ability to put the ball on the floor and go make plays and [Thornton] did during that time. Kaela Davis was an asset tonight with her ability to put the ball on the floor, gives us another ballhandler out there, can shoot it and at the same time gives us some length at the defensive end.”

Utilizing The Depth

This brings me back to my story from weeks ago about the idea of running the offense through Arike and how it opens up opportunities for other players on the team. When you have the depth that this team has and the opposing team decides to key in on a specific player, it opens up the floodgates for everyone else. At that point it just comes down to WHO is willing to make and take shots when it’s forced out of Arike’s hands.

This team has plenty of capable players including a former rookie of the year in Allisha Gray and multi-time all-star in Glory Johnson. They also have a potential Most Improved Player this year in Thornton, another vet in Theresa Plaisance and the rest of the roster filled out with good young talent.

The average age on this team is 25 years old. That makes them the youngest team in the league and the only team in the league with not one player born in the 80’s. Only three players (Diggins-Smith, Johnson and Plaisance) have three years of experience in the WNBA. Glory Johnson mentioned post-game on Tuesday with the W-Insidr how the team can capture their first win on the road after a rough start in away games.

Skylar coming back soon?

Dallas plays five more games before the All-Star break with only two of them at home. Skylar Diggins-Smith posted on Instagram on Monday and gave everyone a small bit of insight on her return. With her doing drills right now, you’ve got to wonder exactly how close she is to a return. Earlier in the season, multiple sources speculated that Skylar would return around the end of June. Obviously, that did not happen. Her most recent post raises eyebrows, but really doesn’t say a lot as far as a timetable is concerned.

Agler has mentioned that when the Wings are in town, that she is at practice. If you have been around Skylar, you know she is constantly working on her game and trying to get back. Still, we have no idea when exactly she will return. If you’re a Wings fan, you hope it’s sooner rather than later. You also have to ask yourself if you want her to return before the All-Star break, or after.

Personally, I think it should be after the break and here’s why. This is your franchise player first and foremost. You don’t want her to rush herself back into play and potentially mess up chemistry or cause possible discomfort for her (she had a baby for crying out loud!). I believe it would mesh with the team better if she holds herself back until after the break and ensures she’s 100 percent ready to go.

After a period of time off, it takes some time to rebuild chemistry and integrate herself back into the team. She will need time and practice to do so. If Skylar comes back after the all-star break, it will benefit the team that much more because it could be a full reset for Dallas and give them more time to plan her return over the break.

It’s amazing to see her venturing to see game action after having a baby in April earlier this year. The women in this league are phenomenal and she is an example of how strong these athletes are both physically and mentally. Skylar is the most fierce competitor in this league today, so I’m not surprised in the slightest bit!

 

 

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