The Chicago Sky is currently my favorite team to watch this season.
And it’s certainly not because of the team name (side note: the Sky??? Really??? The WNBA has cornered the market on singular team names in professional sports and this is among the worst…)
It’s not just because they’re so frequently on the webcast rotation either, though I think that helps.
Sylvia Fowles is certainly part of my reasoning – I think she’s going to become a dominant post player in a league that with predominately perimeter oriented stars.
But the main reason I like Chicago is because they have a balanced core of three young potential stars in Armintie Price, Candice Dupree, and Fowles that has as exciting a future as any team in the league.
Price is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch.
She's a tough, athletic player who is extremely good at slashing to the basket and finishing through contact. Occasionally I think to myself that she’s just out of control, but she knows how to draw contact and get to the free-throw line (though she needs to shoot better than 58% there). Defensively, Price plays the passing lanes well, ranking 8th in the league in steals. She’s steadily improving and she’s only going to get better. But most of all Price plays with passion and you gotta love that.
Candice Dupree has the perfect game to complement Fowles’ power game in the post– she’s a quick athletic player that can score inside and has a very well developed perimeter. She is very effective driving to the basket, though she sometimes gets over aggressive. She has good defensive instincts and uses her quickness well to stay with whomever she’s guarding. She’s also a solid shot blocker, averaging 1.5 a game and ranks 9th in the league.
Between these three young players, they have the essential elements of a successful basketball team.
If they could add a pass-first point guard to focus on getting the ball to Fowles and Dupree in the right spots, they would cut down on the long dry spells on offense. Establishing a strong post game would all make for better looks for their three point shooters like Cathy Joens and Jia Perkins (who also ranks 4th in steals) and spread the defense making it easier to drive.
Fowles could anchor a defense that is already second in the league in blocks with the help of her and Dupree. Then they would need a few tough defensive players off the bench to round out the team.
A cohesive unit built around Dupree, Price, and Fowles could play up-tempo or half-court basketball and match up with just about any team in the league. Having three stars would make this team extremely difficult to beat in the future. But right now they are young. Already, seeing Fowles making outlet passes to Price as she streaks down the court is a joy to watch.
As assistant coach Stephanie White said during last night’s loss to the Mystics, they need to tighten up the mental aspects of their game – moving the ball, cutting down on turnovers, making the right decisions. If they are given time to develop together, they could be a force to be reckoned with.