March 17, 2021
‘I see us being one of the top four teams’: Why Odyssey Sims picked Atlanta
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The last time Odyssey Sims made a free-agency decision, she mostly only needed to worry about herself.
Of course, there are always personal considerations that come into any major decision like where to sign as a free agent, but Sims had less to worry about in 2019 when she signed for a third year with the Los Angeles Sparks (before being traded to the Minnesota Lynx that April) than she did this February.
Sims was traded to the Indiana Fever by the Lynx in mid-February as part of a multi-team deal and was immediately waived. Ten days later, when Sims cleared waivers, she had a decision to make — not just for herself, but for both herself and her 11-month-old son, Jaiden.
After only a few conversations with Dream coach Nicki Collen, Sims felt comfortable and knew that Jaiden would be welcomed by the organization alongside her. From there, the decision was simple.
“Now that I have a child, I have to think about him first,” Sims said Tuesday. “What’s suitable, what would be best for him, then me of course. Nicki was pretty straightforward. She said when we’re in Atlanta, now that he’s walking — and I’m sure he’ll be running pretty soon — she said I’m more than welcome to bring him to practice. Anything I need in the season during the season as far as him, she said just reach out to her.
“You don’t get that from a lot of people, and especially a lot of coaches. … It’s a little different when you’re actually a parent, from one parent to another, being able to relate. How hard it is, how difficult it can be at times with me doing this by myself. That was kind of the (deciding factor) for me.”
From an on-court standpoint, the addition of Sims gives the Dream arguably one of the deepest backcourts in the league. Between the likes of Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams and Tiffany Hayes, with Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Yvonne Turner also in the mix, being able to bring a veteran guard like Sims off the bench is a luxury for an Atlanta team that hasn’t had a ton of depth in recent years.
After having Jaiden last spring, Sims missed the first part of the 2020 season in the bubble but joined the Lynx in August and was still rounding back into form when the season ended. She elected not to go overseas this offseason to be at home with her son, so she should enter the 2021 season rested, recovered and ready to go.
In Atlanta, Sims said, she’s going to be counted on to bring a veteran presence.
“Just being that vet, having that leadership role from a vet standpoint that I guess (Collen) hasn’t had over these last few years with them having changes, with Angel leaving, new players, new faces,” Sims said. “I’m just gonna do everything I can to keep them together and be a leader every day. On the court, off the court, and make sure we just play together.”
And Sims also wants to be very clear that she didn’t just pick Atlanta because she felt like Jaiden would be welcomed. She firmly believes the Dream will be one of the top four teams in the league this year, and she’s ready to be a part of it.
“I think Atlanta is a good fit, great team,” Sims said. “They went to the semifinals a few years ago with the team that they had that was really, really good. I took a lot of that into consideration and the players I’ll be playing alongside with. I have my vision for Atlanta. I see us being one of the top four teams this year.
“Whether the league likes it or not, that’s just how confident I am in my team.”