The dream started to become a reality today with Atlanta officially announcing the signing of F Chamique Holdsclaw, the 1999 No. 1 overall draft pick. Holdsclaw, currently based in Atlanta, last played for Los Angeles, retiring from the WNBA in 1997. She admitted to suffering from depression, leaving both Los Angeles and Washington midseason and finding happiness overseas, suiting up for Poland and Spain.
Holdsclaw played well abroad, but not in uber competitive countries like Russia, although Spain is close. Whether her game will make Atlanta a playoff contender is questionable. Holdsclaw also wasn’t a starter when she “retired” from the WNBA, averaging 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in her nine-year career.
But anything is an improvement.
The Dream completely dismantled the roster that only won four games last season. With the No. 1 overall pick in the April 9 draft, Atlanta selected a Sheryl Swoopes-esque player in G/F Angel McCoughtry. She has the defensive instincts to play in the WNBA, but her offense could be suspect on the pro level, despite averaging 23.5 points for Louisville
It’s really a running trait in Atlanta. Coach/GM Marynell Meadors also signed G Nikki Teasley and C Michelle Snow during the offseason. But all of the acquisitions had the feel of Meadors raiding talent’s past. Holdsclaw, Snow, and Teasely were great All-Stars. Collectively, they’re a team of “What have you done for me lately?”
But possibly helping PG Ivory Latta make everyone look good again could be the Dream’s other draft pick, Shalee Lehning of Kansas State. Selected in the second round, Lehning had a triple-double against Washington this season. She plays solid defense and can pass. She also has the type of personality that could blend a roster.
Baylor wing Jessica Morrow (third round) and trade pickup Ashley Shields are also new pieces this season.
Next to Chicago, Atlanta will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch this summer. And not for curiosity about how many games they’ll lose, but how far they could possibly go.