5 Burning Questions Heading into Training Camp
Phoenix Mercury Training Camp 2015 opens with new faces, recurring themes and palpable excitement.
To date, over 15 players are scheduled to be at camp beginning on Sunday, May 17. Based on the training camp roster, there are 11 players entering camp with six years of experience or less and five with eight years or more. Indeed, with an eclectic roster, it certainly makes for several compelling storylines.
That is to say, at the conclusion of an always-grueling camp, the following questions will undoubtedly be answered.
1. What will the Mercuryís offense look like?
Without Diana Taurasi in 2015, thereís no doubt that the Mercuryís offense will look considerably different.
But that doesnít necessarily mean worse.
With Brittney Griner getting better and far more comfortable with her professional post-up game, the Mercury set out to surround the 6-8 center with proven shooters along the perimeter in the offseason. Thus, if/when Griner is double-teamed, there could (theoretically) be 2-3 threats from beyond the arc to pass it to.
Among the new candidates that could benefit from Grinerís growth are Leilani Mitchell, Monique Currie, Noelle Quinn and Shameka Christon Ė each player has previously averaged 38 percent or greater multiple times in their career from the three-point line.
Ultimately, though, it will come down to everyone knowing and accepting their roles on the team.
2. Could the Mercury actually be better defensively?
Admittedly, it sounds crazy.
After all, the Mercury held opponents to just 74.1 points (2nd in the league) on 40.9 shooting (1st in the league) in 2014 and boasted the Defensive Player of the Year in Brittney Griner.
But with the additions of veteran Monique Currie and Aussie Cayla Francis to compliment Griner, Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner the Mercury enter 2015, in theory, with even more size and proven defenders in the frontcourt.
Couple that with the tenacious defense of Mitchell, Quinn, Bias and James in the backcourt and the Mercury could potentially be just as scary defensively as they were in 2014.
3. How quickly will chemistry develop?
If team chemistry were easy to create, everyone would do it. The fact is, though, chemistry changes every year as players depart or join a team.
The good news for the Mercury, especially after how well the team got along both on and off the court in 2014, is that their core is flexible enough to mesh with virtually anyone.
Additionally, there is an enhanced level of familiarity between the new mix of veterans and youth from playing with and against one another.
Nevertheless, only time will tell.
4. Who will step up as a leader?
Diana Taurasi is the undisputed leader of the Mercury.
Without her on the floor in 2015, several players will need to assume that role.
Every Mercury player has their own unique way of being a leader. For some, itís easier to lead by example (Dupree, Bonner) and others are far more vocal (Bass).
Look for leadership to come from multiple players in a myriad of ways.
5. Who will be the biggest surprise of camp?
Obviously, this is to be determined. But in every training camp there comes a player who separates herself from the rest of the pack. Last year, it was Mistie Bassí ability to inspire energy and effort that turned heads.
Could Tiffany Biasí insane offseason workout regimen be the surprise of camp? Jasmine Jamesí return? One of the new Aussies?
This year, with so many new faces, itís anyoneís game.