Having been following guard Kristi Toliver for her four years at Maryland and now at Chicago, I can’t help but wonder if she’s one of those players who just happened to find herself on the wrong team?
I’ve watched all of Chicago’s games this year, and it seems like Coach Steven Key just doesn’t know what to do with his draft pick. Before the season started the statement made was that Chicago wanted to be more up-tempo. Five games have shown that this philosophy has not taken root. The Sky, especially as run through started Dominique Canty, are most assuredly not an up-tempo team. In fact, as much as I want to see KT on the floor, K.B. Sharp’s rhythm is more in tune with the Chicago way.
You see it with how the three guards bring the ball up the floor. KT often beats at least two of her team across the stripe…sometimes even when she’s jogging it up. Chicago also is a deliberate team without a lot of improvisational flow (i.e. there is a lot of standing around). This is completely opposite of the system Toliver played in four years at Maryland.
Also, if you are playing Kristi off the bench for fewer than 25 minutes, you are seriously under-utilizing one of the things that many of the better teams in the W are very happy to have: a PG who pushes the ball relentlessly until, at the end of the game, the other team cries uncle. Yeah, KT is going to turn the ball over, but as the Mercury have shown: if you score more points than the other team, the rest isn’t quite as important. That is: the less you push, the more you have to be precise.
I still feel the best fit for Toliver was and is Phoenix. Up-tempo, everyone with the green light to shoot Phoenix. But that’s not going to happen. They seem to have settled on Tameka Johnson at point…except when it’s important that a CP23 or DT3 take charge.
Looking around the league, you see a lot of point guards fitting in pretty well with their systems. So is KT stuck with the Sky? I don’t think so. I could definitely see a trade with L.A., swapping the Kristis: Harrower and Toliver. I think then you put two talented guards on teams that are better suited to their sensibilities. Harrower could certainly take over the PG duties in Chicago without missing a beat, and matching Toliver with Parker could be a formula for a decade’s worth of very interesting basketball (KT’s four years partnered with Marissa Coleman being ideal training for a combo with Parker).
[More thoughts: Could be interesting to trade Toliver to Washington. Then you can gang-substitute between a Dookie line-up and a Terp line-up. With possible expansion in the league for 2010, Kristi could become a franchise PG for a new squad if she decides to...and the coach is truly of an up-tempo ilk.
One thing's for sure, though, Kristi is going to have to jump on the international bandwagon and make her mark big-time this coming winter and spring to keep her stock up.]
What do you think? Would a trade help these squads and these players?