The Fan Take
Risk Management: It's time to clean up the Amber Stocks Mess
Last year, the Chicago Sky were a playoff team and everything was fine and dandy in the Windy City. Then came the offseason from hell.
First thing into the offseason, the team fires Pokey Chapman. Yes, the same coach (and GM) who led the Sky to their first ever playoff appearance in 2013, the 2014 Finals and perennial contention. Only ten months later, arguing about whether Chapman deserved to be let go seems so trivial.
After a month-long process of interviewing all types of candidates, the Chicago Tribune greeted owner Michael Alter’s choice with the ominous headline “For Sky, Rookie Coach Amber Stocks Worth the Risk.” Hiring Stocks certainly was a risky move; her tenure has been an unmitigated disaster.
Then, as we all know, Elena Della Donne decided not to honor her contract and threatened to sit out until the Sky traded her. I think it was unprofessional and certainly left Chicago fans feel surly, but what’s done is done. Along with picking up an out-of-shape, foul-happy bully Center in Stefanie Dolson and Kahleah Copper, a bench player with promise, in the infamous February trade, the Sky also received the #2 pick in the upcoming draft. Adding a top pick to go along with their own 1st rounder meant that shrewd drafting and smart coaching could’ve led to a quick and promising rebuild.
With that #2 pick, Stocks selected…Alaina Coates, an injured center. Wasting a valuable draft pick (and the greatest asset returned for trading the 2015 MVP) on the one position they were fully-loaded in. Chalk it up to an offseason of risk taking.
With their own pick at #9, the Sky took combo guard Tori Jankoska. Her Michigan State scoring accolades seemed to be exactly what the Sky needed. That is, until Stocks cut her a game into the season without ever taking her off the bench.
Stocks claims this move was to make room for Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot coming back from international play. However, their return was always expected. Did Stocks not consider this at all when making a first-round pick? Wasting a valuable asset for literally nothing is not how you rebuild; it’s how you start a dumpster fire.
Stocks also drafted Chantele Osahor before turning around and immediately trading the power forward to the Lynx for Keisha Hampton. Here’s a tip for the rookie coach: If the best team in the league wants to add a player you just drafted to their all-star squad, maybe, just maybe, she’s worth keeping around.
After the most dreadful draft imaginable, Stocks finds a roster spot for her close friend Amber Harris. At the expense of good players, apparently Stocks felt that Harris’ 2017 stats, a remarkable 1.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in 5 minutes a game, were essential to the team.
The Sky have stunk this year. In just a few months, we've gone from a playoff team to a cellar dweller. That brings us to last week’s trade.
Plain and simple, Tamera Young WAS the Sky. Delle Donne may have been the marketing star and MVP, but Young was the team’s glue guy, the ‘started at the bottom now we’re here’ historian and veteran tone-setter all rolled up into one. Imani Boyette is a 2nd year center, not just oozing with potential but with as moving of a backstory as you could ever imagine. She’s a role model and inspiration for all fans; black and white, male or female, straight or gay. Dare I say it, Boyette was exactly the kind of player who could’ve possibly replaced TY as the soul of the team. Stocks traded both players along with a 2nd round pick for a bench player no one’s ever heard of and a future 1st round pick, that given her track record thus far Stocks will find a way to turn into absolutely nothing. This season is a joke and has turned into a travesty.
Is this really what ownership envisioned when they took a risk on a rookie coach and GM?
Amber had a chance.
Amber failed miserably.
It’s time to fire Amber Stocks and try to salvage what's left of this team.
By: Shimmer Sky Guy,
Contributing Chicago Sky writer