A new WNBA Champion will be crowned this month.
With a 72-63 loss to the Connecticut Sun last night in Game 5, the Chicago Sky watched their hopes of becoming repeat champions come to an end. As surprising as the semi-final exit was for the second-ranked team in the league, how it happened was borderline unbelievable.
The Sun finished the night on an 18-0 run to steal the game at Wintrust Arena. This marked the longest scoring run to close out a playoff game in league history, per ESPN’s Alexa Philippou. Leading by 9 points with 4:46 to go, it was a truly epic collapse.
Whether it be pulling off the largest comeback in WNBA history or the largest margin of victory in WNBA playoff history, Chicago has been the team known for breaking records. To watch this squad fall on the wrong side of history was as unusual as it was unsettling, especially when we factor in what was at stake. Not only was a second-consecutive championship on the line, but also the future of this dominant team.
Last night could very well be the final memory we have of what turned out to be one of the most fun Chicago basketball teams in quite some time. Staples like Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azura Stevens, and Allie Quigley will hit the unrestricted free agent market this offseason. Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, fortunately, will still be in town as a strong piece to build around, but whether the Sky can return to this elite form next season is up for serious debate.
- Parker was brutally honest about her future after last night’s game. The WNBA superstar told reporters that she never wants to “cheat the game,” and the moment she decides she can’t compete at the level she’s accustomed to will be the exact moment she chooses not to take the court.
- Of course, I can only speak from the standpoint of watching on a television screen, but Parker looks like someone who has plenty left in the tank. While she may not find the bottom of the net or swat shots in the way she used to, her IQ and playmaking talent feels as sharp as ever. Parker is still someone who significantly impacts winning, and I would love to see her at least give it one more run in her hometown.
- The Bulls’ youngster showed some love last night:
- Even after a surge into the East’s top 6 last season, skepticism around what this Bulls team can truly accomplish remains. Tim MacMahon of ESPN recently spoke about Chicago’s future with Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps on the Hoops Collective Podcast, and he offered up quite the hot take: “I would bet on the Magic winning a playoff series over the next five years over the Bulls.”
- Look, I’m not going to sit here and deny that the Orlando Magic have something brewing. I may not ready to call the Nikola Vucevic trade a total flop like some, but there is no question that Orlando has already made the most out of that deal. The worst version of Franz Wagner – who they selected with the Bulls’ 2021 first round pick – looks like a high-end role player. Meanwhile, a change of scenery has seemed to unlock the parts of Wendell Carter Jr.’s game that once made him a coveted lottery pick. Add in the fact that Orlando has one more first rounder remaining from Chicago, and No. 1-overall pick Paolo Banchero landed in their lap this summer, and they undoubtedly have one of the league’s better young cores to build around.
- Having said all of that … they just finished as the worst team in the NBA. Yes, internal development and Banchero should help change that, but are we really ready to say that RIGHT NOW they have a higher likelihood of winning a first-round series over the next five years? The Bulls still have three multi-time All-Stars on their roster – one of which just recently turned 27 years old. Again, I’m not trying to say Orlando isn’t set up well moving forward, but I’d still bet on the team that has some playoff experience over the one that just lost 60 games. Once that fact changes drastically, then we can talk.
- Now, with all that said, their concern about the Lonzo Ball situation is totally valid. You can listen to the full Hoops Collective below:
- I can’t wait for the third!
- Goran Dragic and his Slovenian crew move onto the single elimination portion of the tournament after a first-place finish in Group B.
- Are you ready for the move to Arlington?
- Why not!