June 21, 2020
Connecticut Sun plan for unique 2020 season
Amber Cox and Curt Miller discuss the Sun's upcoming season
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Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller answers questions after Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, DC, USA on October 01, 2019. Photo Credit: Chris Poss
Both vice president Amber Cox and general manager and head coach Curt Miller mentioned the player’s association leadership and its role in devising the plan for the modified WNBA season.
“Our league continues to have great momentum,” Miller said. “I think this is just going to build on the momentum of our recent seasons and in the offseason CBA.”
Cox acknowledged that the players will have to give up a lot of freedom to continue to be a part of the league this season.
She also pointed out that the 2020 season will be the first time that every player participating in the season will be together in one place.
“It really presents them some unique opportunities to have conversations in this space and continue making a real difference so obviously that’s been top of mind for everyone,” Cox said.
Miller believes that most if not all of his team will choose to play this season, but noted that the coaching staff was giving the players the space to make the best decision for both them and their families.
The Zoom call with media was not all serious, with one reporter asking if there were any questions that hadn’t been answered yet and Cox replying, “Curt just wants to know how many suits he needs to pack.”
Miller later added that the questions that remain revolve around the day-to-day operations that are dependent on the constantly evolving situation.
While the Sun don’t know exactly what games fans will be able to watch on what networks, Cox hopes to have games on NESN as the team did last year.
“The goal is for, for every fan that wants to tune in and watch every Sun game to be able to do so and that’s going to be our mission, as we head into this,” she said.
In addition to games on television, Cox and the rest of the staff are working to figure out how to keep fans involved, including how to give season ticket holders virtual opportunities and special access while in Bradenton.
“I think you have to find ways to reallocate and create different experiences and you know sometimes the best innovation is born out of these times,” she said.
Cox also believes that when the league goes back to a normal season this experience will make everyone better at their jobs because the team will be thinking more holistically about how they engage their fans and partners.
The team also plans to continue with old initiatives, like Breast Health Awareness, and their new social justice platform “Change Can’t Wait.”
Miller said that his team has taken time with his team to take a break from basketball and to listen to his players about the Black Lives Matter movement, letting them be the leaders.
Miller noted that everything is magnified that with a shortened season everything is magnified.
“You have a bad week. Bad 10 days, you can slip in a hurry. In this season, right, you really can slip in the standings if you have a bad stretch … You’ve got to learn and grow as you’re with the players, but you can’t dwell too much for a two-game losing streak turns into a six-game losing streak, and in a 22 game season that can be devastating.”
With an opt-out date of June 25 Miller noted that it gives the Sun an opportunity to add someone to the roster and get them through medical testing in enough time to have them meet the rest of the team in Florida.
Miller told the media that nothing is finalized in terms of a travel party and that the priority is the health and safety of the players and coaches. However, he acknowledged that as more people are introduced to the location the more risk there will be.
“We are going to get eyes on our game like we’ve never got before there’s a starving for sports in this world right now. And so, we still have to balance that out with providing them a great opportunity to put the best product that we can on the floor,” Miller said.
He went on to say, “With these new eyes on our game, we have to balance that out with keeping our single site is clean and healthiest possible for everybody involved.”
At the moment Jonquel Jones is still in the Bahamas and Miller acknowledged that there are limited flights from the Bahamas but the team’s aim is to work around that to the best of their ability.
Miller acknowledged that there is a wide range of what players have or haven’t done to keep in shape depending on the state they have been in. He’s confident that his players will bounce back into shape quickly but said that if the start of the season comes and someone is not happy with where their conditioning is then their minutes will be managed early in the season.
Written by Natalie Heavren
Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.
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