Sky+Dream= Headscratching trade
By: Roni Schwartz
On July 31st, with the trade deadline looming, the Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream rang each other up to complete one of the most mystifying trades I can remember.
The Chicago Sky have acquired Forward Jordan Hooper and first round pick in 2018 from the Atlanta Dream.
To the frustration of Sky fans, Imani Boyette and Tamera Young have been traded to the Dream.
The Atlanta Dream got Center Imani Boyette and Forward Tamera Young and Chicago's second round pick in 2018.
For the Dream, this trade makes all the sense in the world. Boyette is a first rounder in just her second year in the league. While she has been unable to earn steady playing time in Chicago’s deep frontcourt, she has shown glimpses of dominance in the paint and has real upside. Known for her shotblocking and rebounding prowess, the move to Atlanta is a better opportunity to prove herself as a valuable post player.
As intriguing as Boyette’s potential is, acquiring Young positions the Dream to make a playoff run this year. The fan favorite has spent her entire nine-year career in Chicago where her veteran presence is vaunted off the court, while on the court, she has been having a great year. She has been averaging 10.8 points in 29 minutes a game this season, and has scored in double digits nine times in the last 11 games.
Atlanta fans read that paragraph and are celebrating snagging two real assets. Chicago fans read the same piece and are left puzzled and mad.
Head coach Amber Stocks clearly did not see a future in Chicago for Boyette. When the team drafted Alaina Coates 2nd overall in the 2017 draft, adding yet another center to an already strong frontcourt, the writing was on the wall. She never really played Boyette in lineups that played to her strengths, and gave away her starting role early in the season.
In a transitional year after trading away their franchise player in the offseason, sending out TY makes sense, as they prepare to rebuild, even if it must hurt to lose another cornerstone player. The troubling part is why did Chicago give up so much to get a young forward in Hooper who, while she was the 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year, is still a project (at best) and a middling first round pick? We know that the Sky had previously turned down a deal for Kaela Davis from the Wings. This can’t have been the best package Stocks could turn these two assets into.
Only time will tell if Chicago has a plan or is flailing in their rebuild. Stocks is known for trusting advanced analytics but I can't think of any stat driving this transaction: I really don’t see Hooper ever becoming a starter and a bolstered Atlanta roster means they traded last year’s late-first round pick and a veteran for a late first round pick this year. That’s bad math anyway you spin it. Suffering through this dismal season is already tough for Chicago fans; being on the losing end of one of the most one-sided trades in recent memory is a title they don’t deserve
By: Roni Schwartz
WNBAinsidr contributor, NJ