Aces

Aces Reloading With Williams

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On Monday, Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV reported that Riquna Williams is expected to return to the Las Vegas Aces for the 2022 season. Some rumors about the Sky were surrounding Williams and her camp, but it looks like the Aces will retain the veteran guard.

Will this change their style of play?

Last season, Williams started all 32 games for the Aces, averaging 10.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on a career-high 44% field goal percentage. She also led the team in 3-point attempts, shooting 41% on almost five attempts per game. The Aces were ranked dead last in 3-point attempts last season.

New head coach Becky Hammon said in her introductory press conference that the team will look to improve in that category. Keeping Williams on the roster seems to follow that game plan. 

The 32-year-old could be important for Las Vegas as they start a new era with Hammon at the helm. Williams is entering her 10th season in the league, making her one of the more experienced players on the Aces. Hammon could look to her and the other veterans on the roster to help lead the team and implement a new system. Las Vegas has been on the doorsteps of a championship for the past couple of seasons. Retaining mature, consistent players like Williams will help to get them through the door.  

What does this mean for the rest of the roster?

Williams signing in Las Vegas answers one question, but the team has other questions to answer. First and foremost, will they be able to re-sign both A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage? The team entered the season with around $724K in cap room. It would be almost impossible to sign Wilson, Cambage, and veteran Angel McCoughtry, while still being able to fill out the rest of the roster, unless someone takes a massive pay cut. 

Cambage is one of the league’s stars, but her fit with Wilson was not always smooth last year. Wilson’s overall production dropped from her MVP season in 2020. Entering the prime of her career, Las Vegas will want to make her the focal point on both ends. The Aces could opt to let Cambage go, and replace her with another big, such as Stefanie Dolson. Dolson’s ability to stretch the floor could be a better complement to Wilson’s game. Dolson also already has on-court chemistry with Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young from their time playing together on America’s 3×3 team in the Olympics last year. 

There is still a lot of time left in this offseason for the Aces to fill out their roster. Championship windows usually close faster than you expect them to. The team needs to do whatever they can to maximize their time with Wilson. By re-signing Williams, the franchise is committing to veteran leadership, perimeter shooting, and consistency. There are still many unanswered questions, but Vegas fans will be happy to see Williams back in an Aces uniform.

About Jack Levenberg

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