Chicago Sky Draft Preview
Selections in 2013
Last 3 First Round Picks (Pick, Year)
Areas of Improvement
The sky may well be the limit for Chicago's WNBA franchise in 2013.
The Sky stormed out of the gate in 2012, posting an impressive 7-1 record to open the campaign, but injuries -- particularly to sparkplug Epiphanny Prince early and defensive force Sylvia Fowles late -- put a damper on the season, which ended without a playoff berth. But with Prince and Fowles now healthy and Chicago holding the highly coveted No. 2 Pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, things are looking good for the Sky.
"First of all, missing those two players (Prince and Fowles) was not the reason why we didn't make the playoffs," said Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman. "We have a full roster and when injuries pop up, like they do, we need to overcome them as a unit and win ball games with the players we have. But, yes, with Epiphanny and Sylvia back on the court and healthy and playing well, and with us picking second in the upcoming draft, we are very excited about what could be a great season in Chicago."
Baylor's Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins, dubbed the "3 to See," highlight this year's draft, with each of these three players possessing unique qualities that most WNBA teams would be happy to possess. Chatman sees tremendous upside for all three players.
"Brittney Griner is simply a game-changer. There is no one like her, in terms of what she can do on both ends of the court. She's one of those players where as a coach, just thinking about her, you smile," said Chatman. "Skylar is such an impressive player, she set all those records at Notre Dame, and people may not now how versatile she is, switching from shooting guard to point guard to help her team. That shows you something. And Delle Donne, she is such a unique player. To be 6-5 and have the skills and vision of a guard is one thing. But then, she'll go down and play with her back to the basket and you have a real problem on your hands."
Sounds like three terrific players. So who are you picking coach?
"Well, we do have the second pick, which is very exciting. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that one of those players will be gone by the time we pick," laughed Chatman. "And I know people are anxious about what direction we will go. So, let me be clear. It's quite simple. We sit down and assess our roster and the players we have, and then we look at the players available to us and make the smartest decision for the Chicago Sky. It's not really about 'this player is better than that player.' It's about which player can best improve the Chicago Sky."
Speaking of improvement, Chatman also mentioned a Sky player who she felt made strides despite last season's team struggles.
"Courtney Vandersloot, I think she turned a corner last year," said Chatman of the third-year guard out of Gonzaga. "She had to learn the pace of the league, the physicality of the league and with last year being her second season, she showed some good signs."
With a healthy Prince, Fowles and one of the "3 to See" on the roster, Sky fans may be saying the same thing in 2013.
2012 (top picks)
23. Shey Peddy
27. Sydney Carter
3. Courtney Vandersloot
15. Carolyn Swords
4. Epiphanny Prince
28. Abi Olajuwon
1. Epiphanny Prince (18.1)
2. Sylvia Fowles (16.2)
3. Swin Cash (10.6)
1. Sylvia Fowles (10.4)
2. Swin Cash (5.8)
3. Tamera Young (3.7)
1. Courtney Vandersloot (4.6)
2. Epiphanny Prince (3.1)
3. Swin Cash (2.3)