Atlanta Dream Notebook: Rhyne Howard’s start, Tiffany Hayes’ status, trades and signings

With the season nearly halfway finished, the Atlanta Dream are currently 7-7 and sixth in the WNBA standings. There have been interesting things happening involving the Dream which will be explored in this notebook.

Rhyne Howard’s Rookie of the Year campaign

The Dream had high hopes for No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard when they moved up in the draft to get her. She has managed to live up to the hype, averaging 16.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. It didn’t take long for Howard to make an impact on the team as she scored 16 and 21 points respectively to help the Dream get off to a 2-0 start. A week later, she scored a career-high 33 points in a close win over the Indiana Fever.

For her hot start, she was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on May 16. She was the Dream’s scoring leader in all three of their wins to begin the season and scored 83 points in total throughout the first four games. She is the sixth rookie in WNBA history to score 80 or more points in the first four games of the season. Howard was later named the WNBA rookie of the month on June 1, having scored 135 points by May 29, the sixth most points by a WNBA rookie in so few games.

Tiffany Hayes Situation

Guard Tiffany Hayes was expected to be a major contributor this season, but two things have hindered her from even playing for the Dream this year. First, she played overseas and it took her a while to rejoin the team until the second week of the season. Then, she needed to recover from a knee injury that she suffered while she was overseas.

Originally, it was reported that the reason that Hayes had yet to suit up was due to her resting from playing overseas for so long. Eventually, the real reason why she is out for the Dream was revealed. It is currently unknown how severe the injury is or when she will be back, but a player who averaged 14.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game in 2021 will be a huge addition when she does return.

Roster Moves

In the past week, the Dream have made two roster moves. The first was on June 8 when they traded for Asia Durr, sending Megan Walker to the New York Liberty. Durr is an Atlanta native who was drafted by the Liberty with the No. 2 overall pick in 2019. Durr has career averages of 6.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

The second move was on June 15 when they signed Destiny Slocum, who was previously drafted by the Las Vegas Aces in the second round of last year’s draft. Tanisha Wright was an assistant coach in Las Vegas last season before coming to Atlanta as the head coach. Slocum later went on to play in the Turkish League in 2021-22, where she averaged 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.

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