May 6, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Anticipating the Las Vegas Aces

Missy Heidrick and Matthew Walter discuss how the Aces might look to use their veteran players as teachers for the youth in the upcoming WNBA season

On the latest episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, host Missy Heidrick is joined by Matthew Walter to analyze the upcoming season for the Las Vegas Aces. The Aces, WNBA defending champions, are already shaping up to be one of the top teams to beat, and to see. Matthew, The Next‘s beat writer for the Aces, helps Missy analyze the news coming out of the Vegas training camp and predict the opening day’s roster. Finally, the two discuss exactly how and why head coach Becky Hammon is so successful. “They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Missy says, “but we are not going to be quiet about it.”

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Missy opens by stating the obvious – going into this upcoming WNBA season, interest may be at an all-time high. And, per Missy, “one of the toughest tickets to get is Sin City,” home to the WNBA’s defending champions. But Missy and Matthew also acknowledge the elephant in the room – the retirement of WNBA Candace Parker – and how that will affect the team this year. “The impact she had on the franchise was … well, a core of players returned just to play with her, to be around her,” Matthew explains. “They are sad to lose Candace Parker, but the amount of knowledge they gained from her … the way she impacted this franchise … giving them her veteran knowledge … that will be big for the future.”

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Missy and Matthew move on to predict the opening day roster for the Aces. “They need both depth and youth,” Matthew points out. Beyond the top dogs like A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, and Kelsey Plum, the Aces have some decisions to make with their draft picks. “They want to use their youth,” Matthew says, “because they feel like their core can be teachers.” But there’s also the potential, Matthew adds, that they go out and sign another veteran before the season begins, to compensate for the loss of Parker.

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Lastly, Missy and Matthew break down what exactly makes head coach Becky Hammon so successful. Hammon is, per Missy, “one of the best to do it in the profession.” Matthew agrees. “I think Becky Hammon is the definition of a player’s coach,” he says. “In today’s world, we talk so much about coaches being transactional … but [Hammon] is transformational. Becky Hammon invests in the people who are there.”

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