The Chicago Sky began a rebuilding season in 2017 after trading franchise player Elena Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics in exchange for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper, and the second pick of last year’s draft, who was Alaina Coates.
The Sky’s season started horribly because of injuries and Courtney Vandersloot’s commitment to EuroBasket Women 2017 for Hungary. But they turned things around as they went 9-8 in July and August where they were able to get two three-game win streaks in that timeframe. Still, their poor start was too much to overcome as the Sky ended with a 12-22 record.
Chicago has an experienced backcourt with Vandersloot and 2017 All-Star Allie Quigley. They also have All-Star center Stefanie Dolson who had a career season after playing behind Emma Meesseman and Tayler Hill the year before on a lottery-bound Mystics team.
Chicago also has the third and fourth overall picks in this year’s draft, so there’s certainly a lot to build on, even if the wins won’t quite be there this summer.
Offensive Rating: 100 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 106.2 (10th)
Pace: 96.8 (2nd)
The good - Dolson shot 56.1 percent from the field and drained nearly 44 percent of her threes in 2017. Dolson also has good passing instincts where she averaged a career high 2.6 per game. Not many centers can do what Dolson can, so I expect to see her take things up a notch this summer.
Meanwhile, Vandersloot averaged 8.1 assists per game and an assist percentage of 41.9 percent in the 2017 season. That’s very impressive, since most WNBA point guards typically don’t average much more than six per game over the past decade. She dished 10 or more assists in six consecutive games from late July to mid-August. When her career’s all said and done, Vandersloot could very well break Sue Bird’s assist record.
The bad - Turnovers. The Sky had the second worst turnover percentage at 19.2 percent while opponents had a turnover percentage of 14.8 percent, lowest in the league. Teams aren’t winning many games turning the ball over like that.
What have the Sky done in the offseason?
Key Departures: Cappie Pondexter signed with the Sparks while Jessica Breland signed with the Dream.
Key Additions: The Sky added Alex Montgomery from the San Antonio Stars/Las Vegas Aces and Astou Ndour.
Alaina Coates also signed her rookie contract with the team in February. She did not play in 2017 because of ankle surgery.
The Sky’s draft picks
The Sky have the third and fourth overall picks in this year’s draft. They also have the 28th pick in the third round.
What do the Sky need?
The Sky could use more wing players. Fortunately for them, they have a good chance to a draft player like Diamond DeShields assuming she isn’t drafted in the top two.
In addition, Chicago could use more rebounding help. Dolson only averaged 5.8 rebounds a game last season while averaging nearly 30 minutes a game. Sure, Dolson is a rising star post in this league, but they can use another post to help since Breland is now in Atlanta and Coates won’t be enough to fill all of Chicago’s rebounding woes.