The Chicago Sky have put themselves in a great position for the 2018 WNBA Draft, thanks to deciding to tank the rest of the season.
It’s time for the fans of the Chicago Sky to face facts and deal with their new reality. As of Monday, their team is tanking.
For those who may not be familiar with the term, “tanking” means that a GM assembles a team that will put forth a real effort every night, but don’t have much of a shot at winning many games. The reason a franchise would do this is to increase their odds at getting a high draft pick and therefore improve the team.
Tanking is not something that is prevalent in the WNBA. Maybe it’s because the season is so short or there are only 12 teams in the league, but WNBA franchises don’t generally tank. However, it is a tactic that is used quite often in the NBA. Usually a team will tank for a single year, get the No. 1 overall pick and begin building a roster that can contend.
That was until the Philadelphia 76ers turned tanking into an art form, losing more or less on purpose for three straight seasons. It did land them two No. 1 picks in consecutive years and a whole lot of assets, but fans have yet to see if all that losing will actually bear fruit.
And now you can say the Chicago Sky is the latest team to enter the tank.
That can be the only reasonable explanation for the trade that the Sky announced that will send Imani Boyette and Tamera Young to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for Jordan Hooper and a 2018 first round draft pick.
— CHICAGO SKY (@wnbachicagosky) August 1, 2017
Young has been a bright spot in a disappointing Sky season, averaging 10.2 points, 2.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. In contrast, Boyette’s numbers have been something of a letdown. She has averaged just 4.6 points and 4.4 blocks per game, less than many were expecting.
Chicago currently sits at 8-16 and have lost their last three games. The thinking was that the Sky had an outside chance to sneak into the postseason if everything went their way, but obviously head coach and GM Amber Stocks decided she would rather focus on the future than a probable first round playoff exit.
Of course, the thought that the Sky are tanking has their fanbase as well as many WNBNA fans scratching their heads. Some refuse to accept that the team is tanking and other are making excuses or trying to explain the trade away.
But it’s time for a reality check. They can try to deny it all they like, but the Chicago Sky are tanking, plan and simple.
And who can blame them? Why not throw in the towel on the 2017 season and look towards the future? Any time you can get a first round pick and only give up two players you have to jump at the chance. They have Alaina Coates waiting in the wings next year and three players they may lose to free agency in Cappie Pondexter, Allie Quigley, and Courtney Vandersloot.
Losing Elena Delle Donne was a huge hole that was going to be next to impossible to fill. It was likely going to take a couple seasons to rebuild and refocus and if everyone was honest about the situation, tanking is the best, fastest way to do that.
Yes, if you are a Chicago Sky fan the situation sucks. But as someone who watched the Sixers lose and epic number of basketball games, I can tell you it will get better.
The Sky are tanking. Time to start looking forward to 2018.