If you’re going to move your franchise, you’d best hope that your franchise player is willing to move with it. Fortunately for the newly-relocated Dallas Wings, Skylar Diggins was more than happy to make such a commitment, signing a deal that’ll keep her with the team through 2019.
An All-WNBA performer, Diggins overcame a rocky start to her career to win the league’s Most Improved Player award in 2014, and was a major factor in the Shock’s resurgence towards the end of their time in Tulsa. She was leaned on heavily that season, leading the WNBA in minutes played while ranking second in field goal attempts, points and turnovers. Unfortunately for both the Shock and Diggins, she wasn’t able to be much of a part of the team’s vast improvement in 2015, as she tore her ACL early in the season, and the Shock fell off significantly after that.
Now, Diggins will get the opportunity for a fresh start in Dallas, where she’ll be handed the keys to a roster with fairly high expectations. With the re-signing of forward Glory Johnson and guard Odyssey Sims entering her ever-crucial third season, the Wings likely won’t be sneaking up on anyone this summer.
How Diggins and Sims coexist will be key. Part of Diggins’ 2014 improvement (in her numbers, anyway) can be attributed to the Shock being able to play her off the basketball with Sims at point guard. It allowed Diggins to do more of what she does best: slashing to the hoop and getting to the free throw line, while reducing her turnovers drastically. She’s still assisted on over a quarter of her teammates’ baskets since then, though, which shows just how much the Shock relied on her while in Tulsa…and why similar improvement will be required from Sims in order to take the team to the next level.
Of course, Diggins herself will need to prove that she’s recovered from last season’s knee injury as well. While the Wings as a whole may be more balanced than their previous WNBA incarnation, they’ll still be relying on her to do most of the heavy lifting in their backcourt (especially with Riquna Williams being traded to Los Angeles). Given her youth and work ethic, though, expect Diggins to live up to this healthy contract extension.