PHOENIX MERCURY

Mercury’s commitment was ‘everything’ for new G Natasha Cloud

Feb 23, 2024, 7:01 PM

Natasha Cloud #9 of the Washington Mystics plays against the New York Liberty during Game Two of Ro...

Natasha Cloud #9 of the Washington Mystics plays against the New York Liberty during Game Two of Round One of the 2023 Playoffs at the Barclays Center on September 19, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Sprung by initiative from a new ownership group, the Phoenix Mercury are looking to quickly turn around from a position at the bottom of the standings to a return of form that has made them one of the WNBA’s signature franchises.

Mat Ishbia and his front office really got to work this offseason. They brought in NBA assistant Nate Tibbetts as head coach, Golden State Warriors executive Nick U’Ren to be general manager and made a few key transactions.

One of them was signing eight-year veteran Natasha Cloud in free agency to become Phoenix’s new point guard.

Her decision came down to that commitment.

“It was everything. From top to bottom, Mat, Nick, Nate, the front office, (assistant GM) Monica (Wright Rodgers) — you could tell how hungry they are to in a sense to rebuild and really do this thing the right way and invest and be one of those top teams,” Cloud said Friday. “I think everyone talks about Brooklyn and Vegas but Phoenix is that new team that is investing into not only into their organizations but into their players both on and off the court.

“That was such an enticing thing to me. With moving, I wanted to be part of that investment and that passion that a front office has for making their team a winning team.”

In October, the Mercury announced they are investing over $100 million in a new Mercury practice facility, as well as a new headquarters downtown for staff members of both teams. The announcement came with a timeline of it being ready by the start of next season. Phoenix also traded for 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper this offseason, which included giving up the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Cloud comes to Phoenix with a reputation as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. And across just the last two seasons, her points per game mark has improved from 8.7 to 12.7, with last year including a career-high 3.8 free-throw attempts a night on a stellar 90% conversion rate.

She has high expectations for what her, Copper, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Sophie Cunningham could achieve.

“You’ve got a bunch of dogs on one team that are hungry, that want to win, that are willing to put whatever aside to get these dubs and rebuild this dynasty to what it should be,” Cloud said. “So I’m really excited to be surrounded by the greatness that I’m surrounded by right now.”

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