Tanisha Wright is the Nate McMillan of the Storm
Former Sonic Nate McMillan was a lock-down defender and capable backup point guard. Overshadowed by Hall-of-Fame teammate Gary Payton, “Mac-10″ nonetheless won the affection of Seattle fans and earned the name “Mr. Sonic.”
Current Storm Tanisha Wright is a lock-down defender and capable back-up point guard. Overshadowed by Hall-of-Fame teammate Sue Bird, “T-Wright” has been the target of Storm fan emnity since her first year with the team. I hear her called many names by Storm fans, few of them affectionate.
Wright is unpopular because she isn’t Sue Bird. When Wright has played the point in previous years, she’s struggled to get the offense set up in a timely fashion and made poor decisions. The contrast to Bird, one of the best point guards in league history, is obvious enough to rile up fans.
McMillan suffered in comparison to Payton as well, but only because he didn’t possess GP’s offensive talents. If you were just looking for a distributor and someone to run your offense, McMillan may have been the better choice.
Wright won’t ever match Bird in that department, but she’s shown dramatic improvement this season. With Bird out with back spasms for the June 29th game against San Antonio, Wright assumed the point guard duties and had a career-high 12 assists in a Storm win.
McMillan and Wright share a commitment to defense that makes them both coach favorites. Wright is tall for a WNBA guard (5’11″) just as McMillan was tall for an NBA one (6’5″). Both Wright (165 lbs.) and McMillan (played at 195 lbs.) have strong frames that allow them to body up defenders, but aren’t so bulky that they sacrifice speed.
Storm coaches appreciate Wright’s talents. She’s played in 183 of a possible 185 games since joining the team as a first-round draft pick (12th overall) in 2005. McMillan was reliable as well, playing at least 70 games in each of his first nine NBA seasons.
And, as Wright’s point guard play has improved, Storm fans seem to be warming up to her. Fans in Section 115 bring letters to spell out her name, reports the Seattle Times‘ Jayda Evans.
Perhaps all that needs to be said about Wright is that she’s a main cog on a team that’s off to the second-best start in WNBA history.