June 19, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: WNBA rosters — veterans, rookies and more

Missy and Alex discuss the WNBA's talent balance

In the latest episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball, analyst Missy Heidrick and Alex Simon of the Bay Area News Group discuss who is making a splash as young talent in the league as well as how both older and younger players can have a place in the WNBA going forward.

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The pair first chat about why WNBA rosters seem to be getting older despite the increasing talent graduating at the college level.

Alex said, “What happens in the W is with a league of only 12 teams and roster spots that the WNBA, through its own rules, caps hard at 12. But with the salary rules the way they’re set up, most teams end up carrying 11, it means that there’s really only about 136 full-time WNBA rostered players in the league at any given moment. … And then it just kind of becomes a true meritocracy at that point where yeah, look, I mean, it’s not always exactly a meritocracy. And we can maybe get into a few examples of that. But I’d even think, look at last year, like a 40-year-old Sue Bird was still an extremely talented player that was worthy of not just a roster spot, but a significant contributor role at a contending team that’s just not a space that somebody can knock her out of very easily.”

The pair also talk about the balance between veteran experience and youth needed on WNBA rosters.

Missy said, “I think the biggest one that stands out to me has to be Candace Parker, she’s 37 years old. We know Diana Taurasi, she has had a fantastic career in Phoenix, you mentioned Sue Bird a year ago. Having this conversation, I kept thinking, well, at some point in time, some of these people are just going to say, ‘Yes, I’m going to retire, I’m gonna move on.’ But if I’m looking at this from a franchise perspective, at some point in time, I’ve got to infuse that younger talent [that] has got to be able to come in and make an impact.”

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Written by The Next