February 5, 2021
Atlanta Dream sign Tianna Hawkins to a two-year deal
After six seasons with the Mystics, Hawkins is heading south
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After spending the previous six seasons with the Washington Mystics, Tianna Hawkins is headed south to join the Atlanta Dream on a two-year deal.
Though she dealt with multiple injuries during the 2020 season, Hawkins played 17 games for Washington and started in five while averaging a career-high 19.4 minutes per game. Her scoring dipped a bit from a career-high 9.5 points per game in 2019, but the 8.5 points she averaged in 2020 is still the second-best mark of her seven-year WNBA career.
At 6’3, Hawkins is an effective scorer around the rim who can also shoot the 3 — which makes her fit perfectly in Dream coach Nicki Collen’s ongoing quest for a post who can stretch the floor. Hawkins’ perimeter shooting percentage dipped last year, perhaps because of the aforementioned injuries, but she’s a 33.3% shooter from the perimeter in her career and has topped 35% in three seasons.
“Everybody knows I like to shoot threes,” Hawkins said Friday. “The big thing (Collen) said that she’s looking for me to bring to the team is being able to stretch the offense and kind of make teams play defense on their post players. That’s just my role now, just to bring what I normally do and just play my game. Of course, I’ll be stepping into a larger role here and the opportunity’s a lot bigger for me here.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Tianna, her fiancé Jarrod, and her son Emanuel to the Dream family,” Collen said in a statement. “Tianna brings a championship mentality from Washington and a desire to do whatever it takes for her team to win. She has shown her versatility as both a rim runner and three-point shooter, and will add depth to our frontcourt.”
Mystics coach Mike Thibault mentioned last season that in his conversations with Hawkins, she’s indicated that she prefers coming off the bench so she can get a feel for the game before getting on the court. Combine that with Collen’s statement that Hawkins will add depth in the Dream’s frontcourt, and it’s easy to envision a rotation at the ‘4’ with Cheyenne Parker starting and Hawkins coming off the bench.
Hawkins’ comments that her role will be bigger in Atlanta somewhat conflict with that, but she also said that her biggest role will be to provide veteran leadership to the Dream’s young roster. Only Shekinna Stricklen, with nine seasons under her belt, has been in the WNBA longer than Hawkins as the Dream’s roster currently stands. And Hawkins will be able to bring that veteran presence regardless of if she starts or if she comes off the bench, so it seems unlikely to really be an issue.
“I think my biggest role, I would say both on and off the court, is just bringing veteran leadership in a positive way,” Hawkins said. “Just knowing that each night (and) every day in practice, too, our job is to compete.”
With the signings of Hawkins and Parker, Collen has addressed her stated offseason goal and added two players who fill what might have been the Dream’s biggest roster hole last season — a post who can shoot.