Are we about to witness the next great WNBA rivalry unfold before our eyes?
Looking at the potential storylines ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s Washington Mystics - Chicago Sky matchup, all the elements are there to build one. Let’s take a couple of minutes to look at the storylines that could unfold.
THE RETURN OF ELENA DELLE DONNE
Of all the stories in the WNBA this season, this story will be the highlight.
The most intriguing storyline of the 2016 offseason was the trade of Elena Delle Donne to Washington after her publicized statement that she wanted to be close to her home in Delaware. This, and her impending free agency this next offseason put Chicago in a bind, so they traded the former MVP, sending shockwaves that haven’t been seen since the folding of the Houston Comets back in 2009.
Now, Delle Donne will step foot in Chicago for the first time since the February trade and is sure to face an unfriendly crowd. So far in the young season, Delle Donne has been the scoring machine the Mystics (1-2) needed, averaging 21.7 points per game (T-4th in the league). She’s also done a great job getting to the free throw line, averaging 95.8 percent, leading the team as well. Speaking of contributions...
IS THE SKY SUNNIER IN CHICAGO?
Sure, the season is only three games old, but it’s never too late to ask whether Chicago will come to regret the blockbuster trade with Washington.
Kahleah Copper and Stefanie Dolson, the two players that came to Chicago in the deal, have made modest contributions, with Dolson third on the team in scoring (13.3 PPG). However, the first-round pick that Chicago received in the deal (Alaina Coates, the number two overall pick) has not played this season so far, and the depth just hasn’t been there as needed.
Granted, with any team that experiences huge turnover, there is going to be struggles in the beginning. And the two losses that Chicago has been dealt so far have come to teams that were in the playoffs last season (Minnesota and Atlanta).
But the problem that plagued Chicago last year is also their Achilles’ heel this season: offensive production and defense.
The Sky are not going to win a lot of games when their opponents are averaging 4.3 points per game more (77.3 to Chicago’s 73.0), and Washington is no exception. The Mystics, at 83 points per game, are averaging 10 points more than Chicago, and they have identical records.
The first of back-to-back games for these two teams start tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. EST. The game will be featured on NBA TV.