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May 1, 2017

The fans of the Chicago Sky want one thing to happen already, get the season started and move on from off the court dramatics.

First, coach Pokey Chatman gets fired after leading a short-handed team into the playoffs. Amber Stocks is named as coach and general manager to replace her. Then star Elena Delle Donne, long rumored to want out of Chicago, confirms that is the case, and forces a trade to Washington for some good pieces, including the number two draft choice.

On draft night, the Sky, it is rumored, had a deal in place to send number two pick Alaina Coates in a package to San Antonio for the rights to number one overall Kelsey Plum. Then San Antonio got cold feet, or whatever else you want to believe or read, and no deal was made, leaving Chicago with a whole lot of centers.

Not exactly how you want your first professional coaching or general manager job to begin, is it?

Stocks is the dynamo that takes over the difficult task of righting the ship, setting this roster of many centers and guards, and satisfying a fan base that likes the taste of the playoffs they have gotten, but feels jilted by their super star Delle Donne.

It is a pleasure to welcome Stocks to Dishin & Swishin for the first time, to discuss her new charge, the Chicago Sky.

Stocks comes to Chicago after coaching the posts in WNBA champion Los Angeles (names Parker and Ogwumike ring a bell to anyone?). She has been a college coach and television analyst among other stops along the way, and brings an excitement and energy that is contagious.

The post situation is intriguing. Imani Boyette, last year's number one pick, is a rim protector and a mobile center at 6'7 with good hands. Stefanie Dolson joins the Sky from the Delle Donne trade, and the former All-Star is one of the more skilled passers from that position. Add in Coates when (if?) she is healthy this year, and they are as deep as any team in the league there.

Chicago will have more hurdles to face this spring, starting with the Euro residency of guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. No one is quite sure how long they will miss this season, but the Sky does have talent in backup point guard Jamierra Faulkner and veteran Cappie Pondexter. They will also mentor rookies Tori Jankoska and Makayla Epps, giving the time a lot of guards to sort out too.

In addition to the returning guards, forwards Jessica Breland and Tamera Young return, two Chicago constants that help lend continuity to the franchise during this time of change. Second year wing Kahleah Copper also came to the team in the trade with Washington, and will help fill the small forward spot with Young.

Topics discussed with Stock include:

  • Being hired for her first WNBA head coaching job as General Manager too
  • Trading Delle Donne and getting a good return
  • Draft night, Coates, speculation on trades, adding Jankoska and Epps
  • Boyette and Dolson, can they play together, similarities and differences

The Sky will be in Connecticut on May 2nd and May 3rd for a pre-season tournament. They take on the Sun at 7 pm ET on the 2nd, and the New York Liberty on Wednesday May 3rd at 5 pm ET.

Enjoy the podcast!

 

 

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Sky