April 12, 2022
2022 WNBA Draft: Dallas Wings find depth at point guard in Veronica Burton
Burton's defense is 'a separator'
The Dallas Wings chose Veronica Burton with the seventh pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft. They also selected Delaware guard Jasmine Dickey with the 30th pick and North Florida forward Jazz Bond with the 31st pick. What do these three selections have in common?
They will have an immediate impact by coming in and making it more difficult for players to earn their spots. Now with 18 players on its roster, President and CEO Greg Bibb said the team will have an ultra-competitive training camp.
“When you have more good players than you have spots. That’s what training camp should be. It creates competition and it results in the best version of your team coming out of camp,” Bibb said.
Burton, the standout point guard at Northwestern, not only provides depth at the position — she can also make an impact defensively. She was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year three years straight from 2020-2022. She led the NCAA in steals, averaging 4 per game. She can apply pressure on opposing players keeping them out of the paint making things easier for the recently-acquired Teaira McCowan. Burton said defense is a separator for her.
“The effort and the heart that I have on that end of the floor is definitely something that I’m going to look to bring day in and day out and just being consistent on that end,” she said.
Not only can Burton make a difference defensively she can also be effective offensively as a true point guard. She was eighth in the country in assist percentage last season, and it was her film study that aided her in accomplishing that.
“In terms of assists, it comes down to just understanding what my teammates want, where they want the ball, their tendencies, what they do on the court, and I think through watching film and just obviously through chemistry and kind of getting that experience with them as well,” she said. “Once I know where one of my teammates is going to be successful and where they’re going to thrive, that’s where I’m gonna get them the ball. So that’s kind of what I study and as a point guard, that’s my job.”
This season will be the second for head coach Vickie Johnson and the team looks to continue to build on the foundation that was laid out last season. Bibb said the organization has transitioned over the last year from a team trying to aggregate talent and rebuild to a team looking to take the next step. Dallas finished last season 14-18 losing to the eventual champions, the Chicago Sky, in the first round of the playoffs.
Now that the team has a little bit more continuity and familiarity with each other the organization is looking for the best players to compliment their existing core. Burton is a true point guard that can be a sufficient backup for veteran guard Moriah Jefferson, along with Tyasha Harris and Marina Mabrey.
“She’s going to be a defensive presence from day one. She’s going to be a floor general for us and she’s going to make our potent offense even more dangerous,” Bibb said.
As for the prolific scorer from Delaware, Bibb expressed his enthusiasm over the chance to bring the fellow mid-major alum (Bibb is a Marist grad) to camp.
“She is a walking bucket,” Bibb said. “She was third in the NCAA Division 1 in scoring this year at Delaware. She averaged over 25 points per game after 22 [points per game] in her junior year. She shoots at a high percentage. She is an extremely effective in the mid-range game, which is a little bit of a lost art in today’s basketball. She has great size for a two/three at 5’10. She is uber athletic. She comes out of a good program in Baltimore. Two-time CAA Player of the Year. I am convinced she can play at this level. She can score at this level. We will see what happens when she comes to camp. At the very least she is going to come in and she is going to make us better and she will push everyone to earn their spot. I know she is going to come to earn her spot.”
Having more good players than spots is a good problem to have. Dallas has the opportunity to put together one of deepest teams for the 2022 season and could be exactly what they need to have a longer stint in the playoffs. The Wings regular season tips off May 7 against the Atlanta Dream.