Shock considering trading draft picks for veterans

Mar 31, 2010 - 9:46 PM By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) -- Tulsa Shock coach and general manager Nolan Richardson may be interested in trading the relocated franchise's picks in next week's WBNA draft in order to bring some proven talent to his depleted roster.

Richardson said Wednesday on a conference call that the Shock will need experienced players to run the trademark "40 Minutes of Hell" system that he plans to bring to the WNBA from his days as a NCAA championship-winning men's basketball coach at Arkansas.

Richardson inherits a roster that loses All-Stars Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan from the franchise's championship-winning days in Detroit. Smith has signed with the Washington Mystics and Nolan has indicated she won't play in the WNBA this season.

"We've got to get players that have got some experience," Richardson said. "There may be the possibility that I may have to move my pick."

"My job then, looking at what I've got, is how I want to play. It's going to really involve some experienced-type players," he added.

Richardson used his uptempo style - similar to the one used now by his former assistant, Mike Anderson, at Missouri - in winning the national championship in 1994 at Arkansas. He'll be coaching in the WNBA for the first time, and brought in former Olympic track star Marion Jones as the team's first free-agent signing.

Tulsa has the seventh pick in the April 8 draft

"I'd love to be able to get a young player to be in the system, to let them grow with the system, but I've got to watch and see what's going on," Richardson said. "The most important thing for me and my staff is to make sure we get hopefully the kind of players that have some experience into our system."

Richardson said he's at a disadvantage when it comes to scouting players because he hadn't been following the women's game closely prior to his hiring as the Shock's coach.

"I like to follow players for their sophomore, junior and senior year. Then you really get a beautiful picture of what is happening to players," Richardson said.

"For me being new on the block and trying to find my ways, you look at a lot of tapes and film and try to evaluate talent," he added. "It's going to be difficult."

Nolan, the league's eighth-leading scorer, and Smith combined to score 30.6 points per game last season while leading the Shock to the Eastern Conference finals. The franchise announced in October that it would be moving to Tulsa.

"Trying to put a team together with the absence of so many that are no longer with the Shock is a difficult task," Richardson said. "I'm looking forward to the draft to see what we can come up with."

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