Saturday, April 21, 2012

Clearing the Bench

Watching the drama of the WNBA draft unfold, I was once again reminded how the recruiting period can be one of the most exciting and at the same time, frustrating times as a fan.

It's the feeling, kinda like what I imagine winning the lottery would feel like, when the team that you support announces a signing of some major talent. And when they sign a player that is exactly what the team needs, that's like the feeling you get when you find a pair of basketball shoes in your size. On sale.

But by the same token, sometimes you have to call shenanigans on the decisions your team makes. That is, if you're not already busy banging your head on the nearest solid object.

The Atlanta Dream somehow managed to select an ineligible player with one of their draft picks. With so many people involved in making that decision, if I were a Dream fan, I’d be left wondering how a matter like eligibility escaped their consideration.

Here at home, we don't have a draft. But when free agent season rolls around, eyes immediately start browsing for players to move from the wish list to the shopping cart.

In the WNBL, most players need to hold down a full time job in addition to training and games. In my opinion, it's no small decision for players to make when they sign with a team. So you might hope that clubs would adopt good faith bargaining in their contract negotiations with players.

Because worse than seeing your team miss out on signing good players, is watching your team lose great players. Hard-working players who have sweated, ached and bruised for the team; passionate players who hustled during every possession, every game; loyal players who would not have considered signing anywhere else.

Of course it's nice to chase a major drawcard, someone who can be the face of the team. I just wish clubs would realise that it's just as important to hang onto players who are the heart and soul of the team too.

I imagine it must be disillusioning for players, it's sure as heck frustrating to see as a fan. Because even worse than watching your team lose great players, is seeing these players get shafted by your team.

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