Five Reasons Why 2011 Could Be the Skyís Best Season Yet

By Ben York / @bjyork

After having the privilege to see Sylvia Fowles, Courtney Vandersloot, and Shameka Christon up close at Team USA training camp last week, it has become increasingly apparent to me that the hype surrounding the Chicago Skyís 2011 season is more than legit.

In fact, the season marks a fresh start of sorts for the franchise.

All of the ingredients for a successful season are there; a superstar (Sylvia Fowles), an emerging point guard (Courtney Vandersloot), a proven coach (Pokey Chatman), and a plethora of amazing surrounding talent (Epiphanny Prince, Michelle Snow, Shameka Christon etc.).

If Team USA training camp was any indication, the Sky will be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Here are five reasons why 2011 could be the teamís best year to date.

5. Hope: Will this be the year everything finally clicks for the Sky? The team has so much talent and promise and Pokey Chatman is a master at harnessing it all while pushing players to compete at the highest level possible.

As parity in the WNBA continues to increase (especially in the East), it really becomes a question of who wants it more.

Trust me; the Sky players want to win. Now.

4. Continuity: The centerpiece of this team is undoubtedly Sylvia Fowles. However, the collective success of the overall team will largely depend on how quickly these players can mesh together.

The core of the team returns in 2011 and the new additions wonít require the team to completely change their style of play. Rather, they enhance the roster and bolster the majority of the teamís weaknesses that emerged last season.

3. Pick Your Poison: Opposing teams will have to make an incredibly difficult choice of how to defend the Sky in 2011. No longer can they focus on just one player or one style of play.

The Sky can continue to play at a slower, more methodical pace and utilize Fowles in the post against smaller teams. However, theyíll also be able to push the ball on the break with the addition of Courtney Vandersloot and her playmaking ability.

Teams with this type of versatility can win in any type of situation. Additionally, on the defensive end of the floor, the Sky has enough athleticism, talent, and size to combat Eastern Conference powerhouses like the Dream, Liberty, and Fever.

2. Excitement: This team is full of players who can score, defend, and make plays on both ends of the floor. With added depth in virtually all areas of concern, the Sky looks to make noise early on and set a tone for the rest of the year.

The Sky has four of their first six games on the road, so getting off to a fast start is imperative.

1. Playoffs? Only time will tell. But if the Sky play to their potential, there is absolutely no reason why they wonít find themselves in the playoffs in 2011.