Wings

Wings Taking Steps Towards Growth

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On Tuesday morning, the Dallas Wings made a trade to acquire Teaira McCowan from the Indiana Fever.

The deal will send McCowan, the seventh overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft and the Chicago Sky’s first-round selection in the 2023 WNBA Draft to Indiana. In exchange the Fever will receive Dallas’ two first-round picks for 2022 — fourth and sixth — and their first-round selection in the 2023 WNBA Draft.

With this move, this is now the third player in the last three WNBA drafts in which the Fever have drafted a player in the top three and either waived or traded them away.

Fitting Needs

The Wings finally get the big they’ve been needing for years in McCowan. Ever since the franchise arrived in Dallas in 2016, this team has been in the bottom half of the league defensively each year. With the highest mark being this last season where the team was eighth in defensive rating.

The main gripe for Dallas on the defensive side is the lack of rim protection over the years. Last year, McCowan finished third in blocks with 51 total behind only the best of the best in Sylvia Fowles (56) and Brittney Griner (58). McCowan has finished in the top ten in blocks in all three years of her WNBA career. She even had a career-high five-block game against the Atlanta Dream last season. 

McCowan had career-highs in minutes, field-goal attempts, field-goal percentage, field goals made, offensive & defensive rebounds per game, total rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and points in 2021.

Not only do they need the defense, but they need her size as well. At 6’7 she is the tallest player on the Wings roster since Liz Cambage (6’8) back in 2018. That size and skill has helped her have some under-the-radar success early on in her career.

In her first three seasons, McCowan has been top two in offensive rebounds each year. All while averaging just 23.4 minutes per game over that span. She also had 12 double-doubles on the year, just one shy of Fowles’ mark of 13 double-doubles in seven less minutes per game.

Last year, Dallas was the top offensive rebounding team in the WNBA, but eighth in defensive boards. McCowan will add to those offensive boards and make them come easier with her size and length, while helping move the Wings up higher on the list in terms of defensive rebounding.

McCowan sat down with Indiana at the end of the season and talked about how she likes protecting the rim and more.

Should They Stay or Should They Go

Ah yes, the pressing question of who should stay and who should go. In Dallas’ case, it’s a tougher question than most teams have to deal with.

In a press conference earlier this year, President and CEO Greg Bibb expressed his thoughts on sticking to his guns and the overall plan with this team. Stating “We were never going to be overly aggressive, shall I say, in free agency because our plan for many years now has been to build through the draft.”

What makes this hard, if you haven’t noticed over the years, is Dallas has drafted quite a lot of young talent in the past few years. It’s good to have young talent, but Dallas has too much. Especially if you want to compete for a championship.

The McCowan acquisition is all but certainly going to give one Wings player from last season the boot whether it be via trade or to just be waived. It’s a tough choice whether it’s a guard or a big who goes. Most know who should go, but the Wings aren’t a part of that “most” who know.

That answer on who should go is Moriah Jefferson. She has been plagued with injuries for years and is a shell of her former self. She is also costing Dallas a lot of money. Which, combined with consistent injuries and lack of overall production, makes it an impossible sell on the trade market.

The more realistic answer is Bella Alarie. Her offensive game is just not there yet and defense is all she’s really been utilized for. Could they keep her? Sure. Will they? I wouldn’t hold my breath. Dallas just acquired a taller and better player in McCowan, where’s the room for Alarie now?

Finding A Way

All in all, Dallas is headed in the right direction. They have the least amount of first-round draft picks in a while and made a trade that will benefit them now and going forward.

Last year, this team found a way through all it’s injuries to make the playoffs. Now they’re finding ways to get better as a franchise while still keeping a lot of key pieces. They’re learning, they’re growing and most importantly, they’re not done with either.

About Drew Ivery

My name is Drew, I'm 26 and I'm the Sports & Podcast Director/Play-by-Play Commentator for STAR Country 95.9, a PA Announcer for Greenville ISD and the General Content Manager for WNBA Lead.

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