Commentary

Breaking down the Tulsa Shock

Updated: May 22, 2013, 10:34 AM ET
By Michelle Smith | espnW.com

Glory JohnsonAP Photo/Elaine ThompsonGlory Johnson is surrounded by a lot of new faces this season in Tulsa.

Posting nine wins a season ago was a huge step forward for Tulsa. But the Shock are raising their expectations in their second season under coach Gary Kloppenburg.

This Tulsa team is a long way from 2010, when Marion Jones was the best-known player on the roster, or 2011, when the Shock managed just three wins.

The Shock have one of the league's most exciting young players in point guard Skylar Diggins, who will play alongside close friend and WNBA veteran Candice Wiggins.

Glory Johnson has the opportunity to build on an impressive rookie season in which she averaged 12 points and seven rebounds a game. Tiffany Jackson-Jones is back -- she was the Shock's leading scorer and rebounder in 2011 -- after missing last season after having a baby.

And now the news that Australian standout Liz Cambage, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, is coming back to play in Tulsa this season gives Tulsa a counterpoint to Phoenix's Brittney Griner.

What's new?

There's so much new for the Shock that it makes the head spin. Diggins, Wiggins, Powell … and now Cambage is coming back to join the party. How does it all come together? How quickly?

What's missing?

A team that has played together for a long time. Tulsa is going to need time, and in a 34-game season -- particularly in the tough, tough Western Conference -- time isn't always your friend.

Biggest challenges

Rebounding and defense. Going off what Tulsa did last season, the Shock need to improve their performance on the boards and hold teams down after giving up more than 84 points a game last season, which was second worst in the WNBA. Jackson-Jones, Cambage and Powell should be able to help Johnson on the glass this season.

Playoff prospects

With Seattle heading into a star-starved season, Tulsa has a good shot at the fourth playoff spot in the West.

Michelle Smith

Contributor, espnW.com

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