MOCK DRAFT UPDATE: With the fourth pick in the 2015 Swish Appeal Community Mock WNBA Draft, the Connecticut Sun selects Crystal Bradford of Central Michigan.
I feel that this pick up was a little early, but in this Draft, team fit is key. The Connecticut Sun needs a guard who can help fill the void for Katie Douglas as she heads toward retirement in the not too distant future. In addition, Bradford is a dominant player for her team and can be a player who can contribute to many areas besides just scoring. Therefore, this may not be a bad pick if she works out with them. For more reading, I'll defer to Colin Davenport's FanPost, which previewed the WNBA Draft.
The latest player to be added to the poll is Ariel Massengale of Tennessee. Now let's head over to Chicago and see how things are going over there. - Albert
You are Pokey Chatman, the General Manager and Head Coach of the Chicago Sky. Last season left a bitter taste in your mouth. Finally armed with a roster that you've built, the injury bug hit your team last season and decided it preferred this perch against others. The timing of these injuries probably stung more than the sum of the injuries themselves, yet you still found your way to the WNBA Finals despite being the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The lack of depth on an otherwise talented team really caused problems for Sylvia Fowles and crew when they faced a series with the best team in the league in 2014. With the number of veteran contracts on this team, you're looking at potentially running into the same issue this season. WNBA hopefuls Jacki Gemelos and Clarissa Dos Santos are players with professional experience that would be eligible for rookie-level contracts, but your best bet may be in what's considered to be a "weak draft."
Projected Depth Chart
If the roster looks almost exactly the same as last season, that's because it is.
|G||Courtney Vandersloot||Jameirra Faulker||Jacki Gemelos|
|G||Cappie Pondexter||Allie Quigley||Courtney Clements|
|F||Elena Delle Donne||Tamera Young|
|F||Jessica Breland||Sasha Goodlett||Gennifer Brandon|
|C||Sylvia Fowles||Markeisha Gatling||Clarissa Dos Santos|
The only change is at the shooting guard position, where the jury is out on the Cappie Pondexter acquisition. Based on last season, the Sky lose this trade using the eye test due to Prince being the younger player with more potential to grow. HOWEVER, if Cappie can rediscover her form -- and I think she just needed out of the toxicity she created in NYC -- this could be just what the Sky needed.
Primary Weaknesses: Defense and depth of talent
For a long time, the Sky have relied on Fowles to hold down the fort defensively. With the combination of injuries and the talent level of the league steadily increasing, that cannot be the case if the Sky want to improve upon last season's final results.
Your starting backcourt gave up as many, if not more points than it produced on a nightly basis. The only reason Delle Donne isn't included in that same statement is because she can make up for any scoring deficit better than any other player in the league. Defensive ability doesn't happen overnight, but you don't have to be a juggernaut to win games. On that same token, you cannot be a sieve. Just ask the Phoenix Mercury.
The Sky just need to continue to improve upon the product they already have. Pokey has been a breath of fresh air for the WNBA in terms of giving players a chance. Most teams look directly to the waiver wire for improvements. However, Chatman brings in players that fit her style, and the growth continues throughout the course of the season. But at the end of the day, talent is the name of the game. If those players' skills, abilities, and mental capacities aren't improving, you'll find yourself on the ever-popular "Treadmill of Mediocrity." It will be interesting to see just how much the players bring to the table this season.
Which players could be a good fit for the Sky at the #5 spot?
The biggest hole the Sky have right now is at the power forward spot. I haven't been shy about my obsession with big guards/skilled posts, and Chicago has two of the best examples of these. The issues arise when they try to combine the two. Delle Donne should not be playing the post at any time. There's no way I'm asking the most unique player the game has ever seen to wear her body down defending post players who usually have a game plan to be physical with her. There was no other realistic option last season as Gennifer Brandon proved the equivalent of an intern on the first day of the assignment which means this is an area the team should address first.
Some players that crossed my mind as potential fits here in Chicago, regardless of whether they would be the best players available or not at this spot. They include Ally Mallott, Aleighsa Welch, Sara Hammond, and Izzy Harrison.
But two names stuck out perfectly. Instant gratification tells me to choose Dearica Hamby. She fits perfectly and is one of the most skilled players in the draft. She's got good size for the power forward spot at 6'3 and has skills to stretch out to the perimeter. She's likely one of the most pro-ready players in the draft because she HAD to perform on a nightly basis for her team to stand a chance (and they were in a lot of games this season) in a packed ACC that put five teams into the Sweet Sixteen. Hamby is also high on my list based on her work ethic and desire to be great. She's spoken candidly via Twitter about being lightly recruited and playing a minor role her first two seasons at Wake Forest before taking it to a new level her final two seasons.
However, it's probably become apparent that I'm not too excited about this draft and I've approached it that way all season. Chicago is a team that is capable of filling the holes they via trade or free agency because there aren't many for the defending Eastern Conference champions. A player I had on the radar all year for the Sky but isn't available this season due to injury is Nneka Enekmpali. She played with top level centers this season and even without any refined stretch ability, they flourished. She's an offensive rebounding threat with a high motor and she's skilled enough to score one-on-one in the low post. She would then play against the likes of Delle Donne and Breland in practice and come face-to-face with how difficult it is to guard a post with stretch skills and have ample opportunity to improve.
Now, it's time to vote!
POLLING CLOSES AT 12 P.M. EASTERN TIME ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1! On Wednesday, we head southwest to the Lonestar State and assess the San Antonio Star's options with the number 6 pick. Also, feel free to add which player(s) we should add to the Draft Board Poll for Wednesday.