Now that the 2020 WNBA season is officially under way, I wanted to reach out to WNBA analyst, business owner, and friend of the site Jasmine Brown so we could have a lay of the land and take a look at some of the key issues and storylines in the W this year. Here’s our conversation:
Brian Fleurantin: What was your initial reaction to the “wubble” and now that things appear to be settled following a rocky start, do you see it working well throughout this abbreviated season?
Jasmine Brown: I was actually very surprised that the season was still going to go on. I thought they would cancel the season and start over again next season, but looking at how it was handled after the initial bumps in the beginning everything seems fine now.
BF: In Atlanta, the players on the Dream have been really brave & powerful in speaking out against the anti Black Lives Matter statements from team owner Kelly Loeffler. Do you think it will reach a point where the W will have to remove Loeffler from her position as owner?
JB: I think they have to. Kelly has spoken out against the views of a league that is over 70% black. The players are growing tired of her and the more they play and the more they win, the more it will benefit her pockets and that is not what the league should want to reflect to their players and the fans, so they have to take action and get rid of her.
BF: With the abbreviated (22 games instead of 34) schedule, there will be a lot more W games on national TV than in years past. Combine that with increased media exposure following the new CBA and it appears that the W has a great chance of breaking through the mainstream in ways that they may not have had before. As someone who’s followed the league and produced great content about the league for years, what do you think the W needs to do to continue reaching fans?
JB: The W needs to market to the fans more, but also market to the NBA side as well. Make some good content that will grab the audience of the NBA so they can get more views which means more revenue. For the fans who are already W fans, they need to have fresh new and creative ideas with the players to let the fans know that they are in mind when content is made
BF: Let’s head up to New York to check in with the Liberty. How do you see Sabrina Ionescu & the new look Liberty faring in the wubble?
JB: I see the Liberty taking some time to get used to the league. They have a very young team and a new, young head coach, but this is what’s needed. Now that Tina Charles is gone, they can work on a new core group which involves Sabrina and that can set up for being a built group which can possibly win championships
BF: With Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, and Tina Charles unavailable for the Mystics this season, what expectations, if any, should we have for the reigning champs?
JB: The team will most likely go through Ariel Atkins. She is a dog and a future leader in the making and expect for her to step up a lot this season. Leilani Mitchell has veteran presence so I’m also excited to see her. Kiara Leslie will play her first season as a Mystic as well so be on the lookout for her. It is very tough going from having Cloud, Delle Donne and Toliver on the team to them not being thee but Mike Thibault is a genius and I think he’ll have them ready to play
BF: With a lot of stars like Liz Cambage, Jonquel Jones, Delle Donne, etc out this year, what’s one player you see breaking out this year?
JB: I see Skylar Diggins-Smith breaking out. I say that because she has battled so much since her pregnancy and doubt set in about her. Since she’s on a new team I want to see her break out this season and prove people wrong.
BF: What’s one non-COVID related storyline that you’re looking forward to watching this year?
JB: I’m very excited to see Chennedy Carter this year. The hype is around Sabrina, but Carter brings a certain kind of fire that the league needs and I know that she will bring it to the Dream.
BF: And to bring us home, where can we keep up with your work and projects you’re working on?
JB: You can keep up with me and my projects on Twitter: @jasmined_brown and Instagram: @jdaniellebrown
Many thanks to Jasmine for taking the time to check in with us!