WNBA: Connecticut Sun enter 2022 season with championship expectations

Despite putting together a league-best regular-season record of 26-6, the Connecticut Sun’s 2021 season ended in frustration, as the sixth-seed and ultimate champ Chicago Sky disturb them in 4 video games in the semifinals.

However, since Connecticut lacked Alyssa Thomas throughout most of the year, their 2021 season, taken in totality, must be thought about a frustrating success. That the Sun declared 3 season-long awards — MVP Jonquel Jones, Most Improved Player Brionna Jones and Coach of the Year Curt Miller —verifies that Connecticut must take pride in their 2021 efficiency.

Jonquel Jones, Brionna Jones and Curt Miller flaunt their 2021 awards.
Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE through Getty Images

Yet, it’s now 2022. And the expectations have actually been raised.

It will be a dissatisfaction if Connecticut does not assembled another dominant routine season that is, most importantly, followed up by a deep playoff run. Anything less than a title, in truth, must leave the Sun ruing a missed out on chance.

Of Connecticut’s core of 6 All-Stars (4 of whom made an area in Swish Appeal’s Top 30) — J. Jones, B. Jones, A. Thomas, Jasmine Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Courtney Williams — just A. Thomas is signed past the 2023 season, with B. Jones and Williams ending up being totally free representatives after this season.

This season therefore forecasts as the very best opportunity for Connecticut to protect the franchise’s very first champion.

Why should Sun fans be positive that their team will make that long-sought title? And what aspects should provide stop briefly about Connecticut’s capability to win all of it?

Reasons to be positive about the Sun’s title opportunities

First and primary, it’s the skill.

As kept in mind above, the structure of the Sun rotation is 6 All-Stars. Entering last season, depth, and a possible lack of skill, was a point of issue. However, with the complete health of Alyssa Thomas and the return of Courtney Williams, in mix by the blossoming of Brionna Jones, skill and depth are clear strengths for the 2022 Sun.

Presumably, the beginning 5 will include J. Jones, A. Thomas, Bonner, J. Thomas and Williams, with B. Jones coming off the bench. Having a standard huge in B. Jones work as the 6th lady makes one of the most sense, as the Sun’s more than likely, and many relied on, reserves are guards and wings in Natisha Hiedeman, who took a leap last season, DiJonai Carrington, Kalia Charles and Nia Clouden.

With his shown capability to enhance his workers with tactical modifications, it is simple to picture head coach Curt Miller, who likewise does not think twice to make the most of the minutes of his finest gamers, taking advantage of this depth of skill. For example, having A. Thomas and B. Jones, 2 non-shooters, share the flooring for prolonged stretches appears less than suitable. Nevertheless, in the lack of J. Jones throughout the 2020 season, Miller made this imperfect pairing work.

In specific, Miller must have the ability to enhance the Sun’s offense in 2022. Last season, Connecticut’s offense was far from bad, signing up the league’s third-best offending score at 104.1. However, A. Thomas and Williams being back in uniform must juice the Sun’s shift offense. In 2021, Connecticut balanced 5.8 fastbreak points, the second-lowest mark in the league. In 2019, the last time both A. Thomas and Williams were members of the Sun, Connecticut led the league in fastbreak points per video game with 11.1.

New York Liberty v Connecticut Sun

A reunited Alyssa Thomas and Courtney Williams must sustain the Sun’s shift video game in 2022.
Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE through Getty Images

Combined with the Joneses capabilities to score in the paint, consisting of through offending rebounds and 2nd opportunities, the Sun must have the ability to threaten challengers with offending firepower in shift and offending force in the half court. Even if Connecticut does not increase their 3-point efforts per video game, they must have the ability to regularly gather the points.

With A. Thomas, a seasonal All-Defensive quality entertainer, back in tow, the Sun’s defense, finest in the W last season with a protective score of 91.7, must once again smother challengers.

Reasons to be worried about the Sun’s title opportunities

While the factors to be positive in the Sun are plentiful, there are some causes for issue that, if they burble up at the incorrect time, might avoid Connecticut from declaring that hoped-for champion.

Last season, the Sun gave up 15.1 turnovers per video game, the second-worst mark in the league. The possible for more turnovers looms, as the running and gunning of A. Thomas and Williams can be high benefit however likewise high danger.

Turnovers likewise can sustain the most important possible issue for the Sun — the stability of their defense. In their important Game 1 and Game 3 losses in last season’s semifinals, the Sun enabled the Sky to race into 19 and 23 points off turnovers, respectively.

2021 WNBA Semifinals - Connecticut Sun v Chicago Sky - Game Three

In the playoffs, the spotting and speeding Kahleah Copper showed troublesome for DeWanna Bonner and the Sun.
Photo by Kena Krutsinger/NBAE through Getty Images

Yes, Connecticut had the league’s top D last season, however it might be made use of.

Effective jump-shooting groups likewise offered the Sun issues, represented by their 3 losses — 2 in the routine season and one in the Commissioner’s Cup national championship — to the Seattle Storm. Although the Sun gave up the least points in the paint per video game at 29.5, their stoutness did not matter as much versus the Storm and their capability to drain pipes jumpers, both from deep and the mid-range. This shooting expertise, in turn, opened chances to get in for extra pails.

Lucky for Connecticut, many teams do not sport a shift video game as lethal as Chicago’s or the jump-shooting effectiveness of Seattle. Yet, this likewise implies the possible continuing powerlessness in the Sun defense may not be attempted and checked enough ahead of the postseason.

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