With the roster the Connecticut Sun have for the 2018 season, veteran Shekinna Stricklen is vitally important.
By Matt Hallett
This year the Connecticut Sun are going to be a top team. It is possible that we are going to see a Los Angeles Sparks/Connecticut Sun finals this year. That is a big call, they Minnesota Lynx are impressive still. However, if Jonquel Jones and Chiney Ogwumike gel in the front court, this will happen.
An important part of this process is going to be the play of Shekinna Stricklen. The six-year veteran is an incredible player and will form the third wheel in an impressive frontcourt.
Her impact is going to be mainly in floor spacing. Ogwumike is not a 3-point shooter, she has never taken a shot from beyond the 3-point line. Jones is a 3-point shooter who can also play low post. Stricklen, however shoots more than half her shot from outside the arc.
For her career, Stricklen is 545 of 1339 from the field, this is 40.7 percent. From deep, Stricklen is 287 of 788. This is 36.4 percent from range. However, last season was even more impressive than her career numbers.
Stricklen made 95 shots, 71 of these were from beyond the arc. Her numbers from deep were 71 of 173 which is good for 41 percent on the season.
It is these numbers which are going to cause opposition coaches and players to respect her shot. With Jones being an inside/outside threat, Ogwumike is going to go one-on -one quite often. This is turn will allow her to either beat her player, which she is quite good at, or pass it out to a shooter.
To add to the front court, Jasmine Thomas and Courtney Williams will keep defenses honest. They, however, have good shooting back-up in Rachel Banham who did not shoot according to her impressive standards last season.
Likewise, Jones has the back-up of Cayla George who is also a good 3-point shooter.
The best back-up for Stricklen is Morgan Tuck who shot only 29 percent from deep last year. This shot does not have to be respected as much, therefore defenders can take up more space, attempting to suffocate the Sun offense.
I can see Ogwumike and Alyssa Thomas rotating all year, being surrounded by four shooters who are going to be hard to defend. In order for this to work, Stricklen is going to need to have another season like the last one.