I will repeat it: Why is Diana Taurasi not playing in Phoenix?
On Sunday, the San Antonio Silver Stars demolished the Mercury, 89-47, extending their franchise-best winning streak to 11 games and handing the Mercury their worst loss ever.
That’s 42 points, by the way – Jen Rizzotti times two.
Just over a week ago, DT3 was standing on the gold medal platform with her USA teammates celebrating their London triumph under Geno Auriemma.
Diana looked tremendous in London, as energetic and involved as she always has been, worthy of the accolades that followed. She led the USA in scoring (12.4). She was great.
It was quite a performance considering she hadn’t played in 18 of the Mercury’s first 20 games this season because of a hip flexor injury. So after the Olympics, you figured she was prepared to step right back into the Phoenix lineup, especially since they are missing Penny Taylor, Charde Houston and Alexi Gray-Lawson, all out with injuries.
But Taurasi did not play in the first two WNBA after the break. The Mercury said she missed Sunday’s game because of a dental procedure.
The Mercury (4-17) are already far out of the playoff race, better only than pitiful Tulsa in the West. They trailed Seattle by six games for fourth with just 13 games to play.
If the Mercury don’t make the postseason, they will qualify for the 2013 draft lottery that will yield, in no particular order, Brittany Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins.
You figure if the Mercury win the first pick, they will take the game-changing Griner, the 6-8 center who led Baylor to a 40-0 national championship season.
Or maybe not. Maybe they could trade the pick to the team with the No. 2 pick, especially if its Tulsa, and maybe get Liz Cambage in return and Elena Delle Donne or Diggins as well.
That would be nice.
Here’s the point. If this were the NBA, and LeBron James or Kobe returned from a staring role in the Olympics and then didn’t play immediately for the Heat or Lakers, I’m thinking someone would legitimately want to know why. And it would be someone with a pen or a camera or a recorder.
No one is asking in WNBA. You know why? Because no one really cares.
Diana has long been intent to take a long period of time off to rest. She has said it many times. Unfortunately, this was an Olympic year and her intense desire to play in London forced her to make the decision to sit out in Phoenix after struggling physically in the first week of the season. It paid off big time.
But now the situation seems different. For the sake of the Phoenix fans, the Mercury need to say whether to expect Diana back or not this season. If its the consensus that she not play, for whatever reason, that is fine. But let’s just get it out there so no one continues to wonder.
Frankly, it just doesn’t look good now. There are going to be those who assume the Mercury may just want to sit tight and wait for the draft – and the bounty that may await.
If that’s the case, the WNBA should be the ones on the case of Mercury management right now.
If Diana just isn’t well enough to play, and doesn’t want to risk a recurrence of injury before she goes back to Russia to play again with Sue Bird – where the money is large – that’s OK, too. People will understand.
But let’s stop putting Diana in the middle of something that is beginning to feel a little uncomfortable from the outside in.
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