2017 Record: 12-22, did not qualify for Playoffs
Key Offseason Moves:
- Re-signed Stefanie Dolson, Allie Quigley, Jamierra Faulkner, Adut Bulgak and Jordan Hooper
- Signed free agents Alex Montgomery, Astou Ndour
- Signed 2017 No. 2 draft pick Alaina Coates
Last Year’s Draft Picks:
- 1st Round/No. 2 Overall – Alaina Coates (from Washington)
- 1st Round/No. 9 Overall – Tori Jankoska
- 2nd Round/No. 21 Overall – Chantel Osahor
- 3rd Round/No. 33 Overall – Makayla Epps
This Year’s Draft Picks:
- 1st Round/No. 3 Overall (from Atlanta)
- 1st Round/No. 4 Overall
- 3rd Round/No. 28 Overall
2017 Season Highlights
Team Needs/Draft Strategy
2017 was a year of change for the Chicago Sky. The team lost franchise player Elena Delle Donne via a requested traded to Washington. Head coach Pokey Chatman was out after spending six seasons on the sidelines and replaced with first-time head coach Amber Stocks, who was coming off a championship run as an assistant with the L.A. Sparks.
The Sky opened the season 3-12 as they dealt with injuries, key players missing games due to overseas commitments, and making the transition to a new coach with a new system to learn and execute. The Sky began to find their way near the season’s midpoint; they won five of their final six games heading into the All-Star break. They finished out the season by going 9-10 in their final 19 games to finish 12-22.
Even though their four-year streak of playoff qualification came to an end, the team did end in a positive direction. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot set the WNBA record for highest assist average for a season (8.1), while Allie Quigley made her first All-Star team and won the league’s 3-point contest. She was joined at the All-Star festivities by Stefanie Dolson, who came over from Washington in the Delle Donne trade. Dolson averaged a career-best 14.5 points per game and was one of the most efficient players in the league – shooting 56.1% from the field (5th in league) and 43.7% from beyond the arc (3rd in league). Both All-Stars re-signed with the Sky this offseason.
What the Sky did not get last year were contributions from their draft picks. In addition to Dolson, the Sky acquired reserve guard Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 Draft. The Sky selected center Alaina Coates with that pick, knowing that she would have to sit out the season after suffering an ankle injury late in her senior season that forced her to miss South Carolina’s run to the NCAA title. The Sky’s remaining picks from 2017 – Tori Jankoska (No. 9 overall) was waived without playing a minute for Chicago; Chantel Osahor (No. 21 overall) was traded on draft night to Minnesota and was subsequently waived due to injury; only third round pick Makayla Epps (No. 33 overall) suited up for the Sky, albeit for just 64 minutes on the year.
So in addition to getting the No. 2 pick in the 2017 Draft (Coates) on the court, the Sky enter next week’s draft holding the Nos. 3 and 4 overall picks in the draft as well as a third round pick. With Monday’s announcement that UConn forward Azura Stevens will forgo her final year of eligibility and enter the WNBA Draft, the top of the board just got deeper with talent for the Sky to choose from. In terms of needs to fill, the Sky must improve on the boards (Chicago allowed a league-high 10.7 offensive rebounds to their opponents), overall defensive efficiency (105.5 points allowed per 100 possessions, the third-highest in the league), and forcing more turnovers (Chicago ranked last in both steals and blocks). Finding a player that can get to the rim and force contact would be ideal as the Sky averaged a league-low 14.2 free throw attempts last year.