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Moves to Win: Chicago Sky: Part 2 of 3



By: Scott Jaracz
Midseason trades are uncommon in the WNBA, and that simply needs to change. As the league gains attention, nothing speaks like player movement, especially with teams who are making these moves to become contenders. The Aces are a dynasty, which means they have 11 other teams listing them as #1 on their hit list. Make trades! Make moves to attack the team
everybody expects to win.

Who do they have?
After losing all of their big names, they are left with Kahleah Copper, Dana Evans, Ruthy Hebard and Rebekah Gardner. Woof. Kah’s playing great. She’s scoring 16.4 points, averaging 5.2 rebounds, and shooting almost 40% from 3. Stepping into a larger role has been absolutely no problem for Copper. It’s been a blast to watch her takeover games when everyone knows she’s going to get the ball. Evans has stepped up. She’s averaging 12 more minutes per game and earning that time. Shaky from 3 at 26%, but still working in 10 points, 4 assists, and a steal each game. Chicago should be excited about the 24 year old from right down the road in Blue Island, IL. While we look into potential trades for this team, it would be a mistake to move on from Evans Gardner, who became a fan favorite in the Windy City last season, will likely miss the rest of this season after having foot surgery. Gardner is a craftful, intense defender who would be a perfect addition to this team’s mediocre defense.
Congratulations to Ruthy Hebard and her family after the birth of her first son! Hebard will be out indefinitely, though she will likely see the court this season. Hebard’s addition to the court will be welcomed for Chicago, unless they are able to find some other big during the season.

What have they done?
Marina Mabrey is a great addition to this team, and one that can save their chances for titles
here and now. And she better be! Chicago spent 5 draft picks to get her, which means they have no shot of obtaining any of the franchise level talent available. Mabrey has huge shoes to fill, and she’s already doing it: three 20 point games, including a 36 point game in a loss to Indiana. Mabrey is an awesome scorer, but the Sky still need much more to be able to compete with Las Vegas.

Courtney Williams is such a bewildering player. She can dazzle crowds by doing some type of iso scoring. I think she’s an okay team defender. I wouldn’t want her on my team, and I was surprised to see Chicago sign her this offseason. I love watching Williams play. She’s so confident; that influences her teammates, but her role has changed from “green-light shooter” to “pass-first point”, and it’s bizarre to watch. In the Sky’s last four games, which are all losses, she’s averaged 6 assists and 2.3 turnovers per game, and is shooting around 25%. She even had an 0-8 game where she earned 10 assists. I don’t want any part of this. As a fan, owner, coach, teammate, give me some consistency, Court!

Elizabeth Williams has been another okay pickup. She’s had really good games, she’s had bad games. I like that Williams sticks to her role, and she’s going out there to compete each night. I don’t see her as a starter on a championship team. Williams can find a place to produce on any roster, which makes her good trade bait for other contenders.

Isabelle Harrison is the last significant addition to the Sky’s roster. Unfortunately, she tore a
meniscus and has no timeline to return. Even at Harrison’s best, she’s not meant to start on a
championship contending team. The Sky made a few panic moves after their losses. However,

Who do they target?
Again, with Harrison and Gardner healthy, this team isn’t much more than a first round playoff
exit. Though, they have some foundational players who could be ready to win now if they were
surrounded by the right supporting cast. The Sky are in a cool place as a franchise because
they have their two big names. Copper and Mabrey are like Hustle and Flow for this team. They
need a consistent big, preferably one who can shoot. They need a true, pass first point guard,
and they need to stop letting Courtney Williams try to do the job.


    a. Mercedes Russell

      • i. Seattle Storm

      • ii. 4.4 ppg; 4.5 rpg; 1.9 apg

      • iii. She’s 6 feet 6 inches, has championship experience, and is with a franchise who has no business winning this year. Seattle needs to bite the bullet and sell some of their players now, and this is the time to do it for Russell. After playing 34 minutes, and earning a 12-10-5 statline in her last game, teams on the bubble like Chicago should be jumping at a chance to take her. She would give the Sky a veteran who can play big minutes at a consistent level.

      • iv. What does this mean for Chicago? Well, they have hardly any draft capitol, which means moving players. Courtney Williams is the perfect “tank” player. She’s fun to watch, but her game doesn’t lead to wins. Package Williams with someone like Sika Kone, Morgan Bertsch, Alanna Smith, or even Ruthy Hebard, and that is an automatic upgrade.

    • b. Natisha Hiedeman
      • i. Connecticut Sun
      • ii. 7.4 ppg; 3.8 apg; 25.5 3pfg%
      • iii. Hiedeman has had a heck of an entrance into this league. She’s played with an MVP, lost a WNBA finals, and hasn’t had a losing season. A primary ball-handling, pass-first point who shoots a fine percentage from 3. Hiedeman has awesome value, which I think could be obtained for a combination of players like Elizabeth Williams, Isabelle Harrison, or even sending Courtney Williams back to Connecticut.
      • iv. The Sun don’t need much to be contenders, and if you want to know who they might need, see my previous article about the moves Connecticut should make. Hiedeman isn’t a player they absolutely need to be great, and she could even be someone they are looking to swap for something new. This seems to be their trend.
    • c. Brittney Griner
      • i. Phoenix Mercury
      • ii. 20.1 ppg; 6.5 rpg; 2.5 bpg
      • iii. The bad news: I know this trade will never happen this year because of the circumstances surrounding it. It’s important for Brittney Griner to play this season with Phoenix and return some normalcy to this league. However, I cannot avoid looking at the opportunity the Mercury have to take the highest tier of talent in the better than anyone could have guessed, but her team isn’t winning games. She would be the perfect addition for this Sky team.
      • iv. The good news: BG signed a 1 year deal, probably because she understands Diana Taurasi can’t shoot 14 threes a game anymore, and wants to go to a team that can compete. Chicago needs to clear the cap hits of Elizabeth Williams and Isabelle Harrison to make something like this happen.

    Final Word
    Mabrey and Copper are such a fun duo for this new wave of scoring in the W. With a little
    experienced, role-playing guidance, these two could give any team a run with their ability to put points on the board. Moving Courtney Williams is a must, right? She can provide instant offense for a team who needs it, and being on a 1 year deal, the price teams will pay is higher than it should be. Copper, C. Williams, Mabrey, Harrison, E. Williams, Gardner, Smith, Evans, Bertsch, and Parks are the players who average more than 10 minutes per game this season, and Gardner won’t play another one. There is talent on this roster, but it needs to be adjusted, rearranged.
    Next: Los Angeles Sparks

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