The Chicago Sky Return This Week with a VERY Different Team
With five months to go until the Chicago Bulls return to action, the Chicago Sky are here to fill the hole in our hearts!
The Sky tipped off the first day of training camp this past weekend. They will now gear up for their first of three preseason games starting this Friday. The regular season will then officially begin on May 19 in Minnesota, where they’ll face a Lynx squad that is fresh off selecting Diamond Miller with the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft.
Bounced from the playoffs by Jonquel Jones and the Connecticut Sun, we watched the Sky’s roster drastically change this offseason just two years after winning their first-ever WNBA championship. Team staples like Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, and Azura Stevens all left the franchise. Only three players from the Sky’s championship season remain. The team is now centered around WNBA Finals MVP and 28-year-old Kahleah Copper (who is one of three) as they hope to rebuild a title contender.
I know this new era may not be as attractive as the Parker-led squad we had the privilege of watching the past two years. But I’d still highly recommend tuning in. At least the Sky have a couple of high-upside youngsters to get excited about. Not to mention, watching Copper take on the role of a true No. 1 should be an enticing storyline.
Also, it’s not like head coach and front office leader James Wade opted for a complete rebuild. The team – somewhat controversially – traded multiple first-round picks for the Wing’s Marina Mabrey. An oversized guard who knocked down the 13th-most 3-pointers in the WNBA last season and finished top-22 in scoring, Mabrey helped lead the franchise to its best season since moving to Dallas in 2016.
Pairing her alongside Copper will give the Sky an extremely intriguing backcourt duo. Mabrey will undoubtedly need to develop further as a facilitator, but her 3-point shooting should be a strong complement to Copper’s downhill game.
Another name to watch as the season begins is Courtney Williams. A big reason why the Sun ultimately bounced the Sky in the postseason last year, Williams is a mid-range maestro who can get streaky. She may not be the most efficient scorer, but she’s another player who can contribute on the glass and help establish a gutsy identity.
Overall, this revamped Chicago Sky team appears to be doubling down on toughness. Both Mabrey and Williams provide an undeniable edge and physicality. We should also be eager to see what 31-year-old sophomore Rebekah Gardner can do with an even bigger role next season. A defensive menace in her first her in the WNBA after playing from overseas, she proved to be a true diamond in the rough for Wade last season.
I know we may not be able to consider this team a true contender, but it’s also hard to imagine they’ll be an easy out for anyone. And I’ll gladly take that after watching a rather dysfunctional Bulls season unfold.
For a complete look at the Sky’s upcoming schedule, you can go here.