Rookie Success

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I’ll be honest I don’t really follow the WNBA, this year I only followed the Lynx (Napheesa) so I’m not knowledgeable about the league. But.. does it seem like if an athlete doesn’t play much in their rookie year, they won’t have longevity or only have mild success. I know they’re players like Alysha Clark who’s has huge success after being cut. But in general if a rookie only played a few mins a game how do the fare in 5 seasons? Plz don’t roast me in the comments thanks.
 

Bigboote

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I don't know the answer to your question beyond anecdotal evidence. Sydney Colson is something like 7-8 years out of college, and while she's not a starter, is certainly playing well. Allie Quigley didn't do so well her first 3-5 years but stuck with it and has been around quite awhile. Some players parlay a good overseas season into WNBA minutes, as Brooke McCarty has this year. I think she was cut by two teams last year.

I suspect those are the exception to the rule, but they do demonstrate that it's not over if you don't make it in your first year or two.

I'm still hoping Saniya Chong can make it in the W.
 

MilfordHusky

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I think the rookie season in the WNBA is the toughest in professional sports--because of the timing. College players play into March or April and then begin a pro journey in May. The off-season is practically non-existent, and there is little time to prepare for the next level. For that reason, a player's rookie season is not an especially accurate reflection of their future prospects. For some, it is; for many, it is not. Some players who took a year or more to catch on include Courtney Williams, Jonquel Jones, Allie Quigley, Alysha Clark, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Stef Dolson, Chelsea Gray, Tiffany Hayes, et al.
 

nwhoopfan

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Sami Whitcomb took something like 8 years or so before finally getting a roster spot in the W, has been a valuable reserve for Seattle for 3 years now.

Natasha Howard had fairly limited success for 4 years in the league, then was Most Improved her 5th season, and took yet another huge leap this year.
 

Plebe

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Tons of examples of players who didn't have great rookie years but ended up as starters or key reserves.

Erica Wheeler went undrafted and unsigned out of college in 2013, then made the Atlanta roster in 2015 but was released after 17 games. In 2019 she was not only a starter for Indiana but an All-Star.
 
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Some quick stats (taken from Basketball Reference) for players debuted between 2006-2015.

There are 39 players who have played more than 2 seasons after averaging <10 MPG their first season.

If you played <5 MPG, 90% chance you play 2 or less seasons.
If you played between 5 and 10 MPG, still 1 in 3 chance to play more than 2 seasons (looking at you Lou).

Almost half (47.8% of 345 players played 2 or less seasons).

WNBA Longevity Rookie less than 10 MPG.png
 
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donalddoowop

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Have there been many players who had outstanding rookie seasons who did not last more than four seasons because their level of play dropped? (not counting injuries)
 
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Have there been many players who had outstanding rookie seasons who did not last more than four seasons because their level of play dropped? (not counting injuries)
Shoni Schimmel?

Below is a list of players who played more than 15 MPG first season but played 4 or less seasons during period 2006-2015.

Some appear to be foreign players who probably preferred to play at home. Perhaps those who have been following longer than I can provide insight into those listed.

WNBA Longevity Rookie grater than 15 MPG and less than 4 seasons.png
 
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CBus13

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Some quick stats (taken from Basketball Reference) for players debuted between 2006-2015.

There are 39 players who have played more than 2 seasons after averaging <10 MPG their first season.

If you played <5 MPG, 90% chance you play 2 or less seasons.
If you played between 5 and 10 MPG, still 1 in 3 chance to play more than 2 seasons (looking at you Lou).

Almost half (47.8% of 345 players played 2 or less seasons).

View attachment 46321
I really appreciate this spreadsheet of information, so thank you! I don't want to add more work and I'm not suggesting you do it...but it would be interesting to see of the players who had more successful years 3 and on, which had those successes with the team that drafted them/spent their first two seasons with.

Such as Sydney Colson who was drafted by the Sun (in 2011) –> Traded to the Liberty played one season then came back to San Antonio in 2015 and has been in the league ever since.

Allie Quigley started with the Mercury (2 years) –> Indiana Fever/San Antonio Silver Stars (1/2 season each) –> Seattle Storm (1 year) –> Chicago Sky from 2013 to present. The Sky is where she hit her stride.
 

SVCBeercats

KARMA! Its called KARMA!
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Some quick stats (taken from Basketball Reference) for players debuted between 2006-2015. There are 39 players who have played more than 2 seasons after averaging <10 MPG their first season. If you played <5 MPG, 90% chance you play 2 or less seasons. If you played between 5 and 10 MPG, still 1 in 3 chance to play more than 2 seasons (looking at you Lou). Almost half (47.8% of 345 players played 2 or less seasons).
Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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