12 Days, 12 Previews: Chicago Sky
Five keys to a successful season.
The WNBA’s 15th season begins June 3rd and SLAMonline is counting down the days with in-depth previews of all twelve teams.
Prior to the start of each WNBA season (and NBA season for that matter), every writer and blogger in the country compiles extensive (by “extensive” I mean “wordy,” and by “wordy” I mean “tired”) previews analyzing the upcoming year, team by team. It’s just a fact of life. Almost as certain as death and taxes.
The problem, however, is they all look, feel, and say the same exact thing every year (copy and paste). You, the reader, deserves far better. Thus, we’re going through each team discussing five specific things they’ll need for their 2011 campaign to be considered a success.
More importantly, we want this to be interactive – be sure to post your thoughts in the comment section below.
Five Keys to the Season: Chicago Sky
By Ben York / @bjyork
5. Legitimacy: The hiring of Pokey Chatman as head coach for the Sky brought the team credibility and immediate respect. Chatman, perhaps more important than anything, knows how to develop point guards and utilize Sylvia Fowles in the best way.
Players like to play for Chatman; she enjoys the day-to-day grind of coaching and is approachable if a player has a concern or question. You’d be surprised how many coaches aren’t like that.
4. Scoring: The Sky were last in the league in scoring in 2011 averaging 76.1 ppg. They also averaged a league-low 27.7 made FG’s per game.
The good news heading into 2011 is that the type of baskets they’ll get should be easier. Big Syl should average 15-18 shots per game and rookie point guard Courtney Vandersloot is a wizard at distributing the ball.
Look for Epiphanny Prince to emerge as a bona-fide scoring threat in 2011 as she spends more time at the shooting guard position.
3. Depth: The additions of Michelle Snow and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton are huge for the Sky. The tandem should combine for 13-16 points for Chicago in 2011. With Shameka Christon being waived due to injury, these additions become that much more important for the Sky.
The Sky now have legitimate starters and role players – something they’ve not had in years past. They have versatility at the guard position as well as multiple options in the frontcourt to help take the burden off of Fowles.
2. Courtney Vandersloot: I’ve said it from the start – Vandersloot is WNBA-ready and could be amongst the league-leaders in assists in 2011.
She is that good.
Even if she doesn’t perform to her lofty expectations, Vandersloot can help shore up the Sky’s backcourt and is a much better defensive player than she gets credit for. She shined at Team USA camp and I see that translating very well heading into the WNBA season.
1. Sylvia Fowles: Get. Sylvia. Fowles. The. Ball.
If they do that, the Sky will be successful.
Fowles is good enough, and shoots a high enough percentage, that she should average (at least) 15 shots per game. No questions asked. For her to get less than that is a disservice to the team.
Get Fowles the ball and good things will happen. The Sky will go to the line more. Shots will open up along the perimeter. Defenses will be forced to double-team. Transition buckets will increase. I could go on and on…
Look for Fowles to average 18 and 10 this season…and for the Sky to make the playoffs.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll tweet out some of our favorite responses!