After I spoke with Monique Billings, Dan Goldberger approached me again and asked if I wanted to speak to the coach. That was more than fine since I had become calm after speaking with Monique. Being that this is her first season as head coach of the Atlanta Dream I had a lot of questions for her as well. The following is the result of my conversation with her.
Q1. What is the difference between this team and the teams you have coached before?
A. Easily the most talented team that I have coached. I was in the college game for a lot of years. I think our talent is as good as anybody in the league.
Q2. Was it a plan to bring in the veterans that you brought in?
A. I think we identified after I took the job between [with the gm and I (find gms name) and I we just identified positions that we thought we needed. With Sancho Lyttle being a free agent and Tamara Young being a free agent we knew had an opportunity to turn the roster over.
We knew we needed depth at the point and so we pursued the best free agent point guard which was Renee Montgomery. The same with Breland we just thought she was a huge part of hour future. We decided it was Jessica Breland or bust when it came to power forwards because there was a bunch of power forwards available but we thought she was the best in terms of fit and long-term solution.
Sancho was a great player in Atlanta but it felt like that she was wrapping up her career and didn’t know how long she had. We felt like we signed Breland to a 3-yr contract knowing that we were then really settled at that position going forward
Q3. What was the plan at the draft this year?
A. We didn’t have a first-round pick because of the trade that was made last year right before the trade deadline for Imani and Tamara young. We really knew were really wanted to go depending on who dropped out of the bottom of the first-round.
Once we got Angel back, Tiffany Hayes, and Brittney Sykes we had a really good balance of wings. We felt like the ability to move Bria Holmes allowed us to get 15 and two picks. I always wanted to take Kristy Wallace and it made it a lot easier than with at 15 with Monique Billings that gives us great depth and athleticism.
Then to be able to stash away a player like Kristy Wallace, where we had depth at the point with Layshia and Renee at the time but Kristy was a really good future pick. She is certainly someone who could have been a late first-round pick if not for her injury.
Big shout out to coach Nicki Collen for taking the time out to speak to me. Make sure you go out and support the Atlanta Dream as they take on the Chicago Sky at 7 PM on Friday.
Da’Vonte Hughes| @CookieByNature
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