4 Sky Outlook for the 2020 WNBA Draft
A year ago Sky general manager James Wade made a big mistake on draft night: He didn’t answer his phone when owner Michael Alter called.
“Rookie mistake,” Wade laughs now.
There will certainly be some of it this Friday as the WNBA hosts its first virtual draft in the league’s existence due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But while other teams face the logistical challenges of not being in the same room on draft night, it will be business as usual for Sky.
Last year Wade was in Hungary for the Euroleague qualifiers, while the draft took place in New York. With three cell phones, a laptop and an iPad in front of him, Wade had his team of coaches and other members of the organization on video conference as he made the Sky’s three picks from his hotel room.
This year it will have a similar setup, but in a different location.
By the time Sky make their first pick at No.8, it will be just past midnight for Wade, who joined his wife and son in France last month as the Euroleague was one of many suspended professional sports leagues. for coronavirus issues.
“I’m still a virtual draft guy so it’s something I’m used to,” said Wade. “I guess the interesting thing for me is I’m in the house with my family, they’re going to sleep but I’ll have the den or whatever to myself, and just have the coaches on Zoom and have the property. and the rest of the organization on the speed dial – we’ll just go from there. “
Overall, the Skies are in a better position now than they were a year ago.
After their first playoff appearance since 2016, the Skies are in winning mode now. They retained their core of free agency starters, while adding a leader and frontcourt depth with Sydney Colson and Azura Stevens.
The busy off-season of Sky associated with the new collective agreement has put Sky in the face of the salary cap. As a result, they will carry a roster of 11 players this season.
That said, Sky’s first-round pick should be part of the squad, although she isn’t necessarily relied on to contribute in any significant way.
“The players we spoke to, we told them what we expected from them and what their roles could be,” said Wade. “The good fortune about us is that we are too deep in their position and so just because you don’t play the minutes you played … it just a few months ago doesn’t mean you didn’t play. “We’re not in our plans, but it’s probably going to be a little patient on both sides. So I’m not going to ask a player to be patient and us not to be too.”
“We have a very good team with a bright future, so I don’t expect someone we pick at eight to come in and ask for minutes right away.”
Since the Skies don’t have a crying need before the draft, they’re looking to take the best player available when they’re on the clock. They could benefit from adding a point guard to develop behind Courtney Vandersloot and Colson or another striker as Jantel Lavender and Stevens come out of foot injuries.
Here are four first-round perspectives for the Sky:
F Bella Alarie, Princeton
Average 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 23 games last season
Alarie was by far the best player in the conference and hasn’t even reached her full potential yet. Her numbers were down slightly from last season, when she averaged a double-double, but she was a point guard for the Princeton team which was 26-1. Sky could use another tenacious player on defense, like Alarie.
PG Crystal Dangerfield, UCONN
Average 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 30 games last season
The Sky doesn’t necessarily need another playmaker, but Wade has expressed interest in Dangerfield. The 5’5 UConn product has a pass-first mentality, similar to Vandersloot’s, and has a proven track record for speed and responsiveness in court. However, she needs to step up her defensive intensity up a notch. If Sky were to draft Dangerfield, she would be looked after by defensive guards Vandersloot and Colson.
PF / C Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
Average 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in 33 games last season
Hebard is another player Sky has taken an interest in – and for good reason. Standing at 6’4, Hebard is a threat in the paint and has the ability to pass out of doubles teams. She was very efficient last season, shooting 68.5%. Wade said his touch around the basket and the game as a whole reminded him “a bit of last year’s Rookie of the Year, Napheesa” Collier.
PF / C Beatrice Mompremier, Miami
Average 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds in 16 games last season
Mompremier is a big sportsman who can shoot from anywhere on the pitch. She would be another good frontline addition for Sky, especially with her scoring, bouncing and blocking abilities. However, Mompremier is concerned about a foot injury that forced her to miss 13 games last season.
WNBA Draft Information
When: Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN
Format: Three rounds of 12 choices each
Sky choice: N ° 8, N ° 30 and N ° 32 (except transactions)