Despite not having a first round pick this year, the Atlanta Dream were savvy in using their second round pick on former University of Connecticut guard, Tiffany Hayes. This year's first round pick was traded to the Washington Mystics last season in exchange for Lindsey Harding, but the Dream still had the early second pick in the second round.
Drafting Tiffany Hayes is a move that represents what the Dream have been attempting to do all offseason--build a corps of three-point shooting guards/forwards. Hayes will join free agent signees Catherine Kraayeveld and Laurie Koehn as the new move toward establishing a three-point threat in Atlanta.
Last season the Dream were incapable of spreading an opposing defense as they weren't in possession of a single competent three-point shooter. The Dream's best three-point shooter that attempted more than 30 threes was Coco Miller, who converted 15 of 45 at a mere .333%. As a team the Dream drained three pointers at a pathetic .261%. In comparison, Hayes converted 41 of 95 three-pointers at a clip of .432% with the Huskies last season.
Hayes isn't prized exclusively for her long-range prowess; she is also an aggressive guard that can rebound and play defense. Last season with the Huskies she was second on the team in rebounds (5.8 per game) and lead the team in steals (2.3 per game). Her assertive style mirrors Dream guards Lindsey Harding and Armintie Price as all three are fearless when it comes to crashing the boards and preventing a scoring drive.
Hayes is also a guard that isn't afraid to take charge and control the tempo of a game. She was the lone senior last season on a squad that was dominated by freshman. Many analysts classified the 2011-12 campaign as a rebuilding year for the Huskies, yet she still lead the promising young group to the final four. Along with her line of already impressive stats, Hayes averaged 3.3 assists per game playing orchestrator to Connecticut's impressive championship run.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Hayes log a lot of minutes in her first WNBA season. Price will begin the season as the starter, but out of the starting five her spot is the most tenuous. Price lacks the long-range threat that a guard needs to spread the defense and open up holes down low. If opposing teams start doubling-down their defense in the paint, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hayes enter into the game. While taking the starting spot from Price may be a stretch, she'll most likely be given the opportunity to play a crucial role for Atlanta right away.
As a resident of the southeast, Charles McGregor has been a fan of the Dream since their inception.