Thoughts on the Candace Parker signing with the Chicago Sky

Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky.

WNBA Free Agency started a bit earlier this week when we first got word of rumors of Candace Parker leaving the LA Sparks. At first, I did not believe it because there are so many rumors over the years over free agents possibly leaving or not, among other things. But, when Candace Parker’s agency tweeted out that big things were coming, I started to take notice. Then the ESPN article came out. And suddenly, it was real. Candace Parker was headed to the Chicago Sky. The news, ironically came out when I was watching the WNBA General Managers chat with the AP writer, Doug Feinberg. Both the Chicago and LA General Managers were apart of the video call. It was awkward, to say the least.

Then, I started to actually process the news. LA was going to be different. There was going to be a new franchise player. The team would be different. It was overwhelming. I am not a Sparks fan. But, I know several of them. I know how hurt they are feeling. I know it goes much deeper and that there is no love lost for the head coach/GM Derek Fisher.

For me, the news hit me on a personal level. You see, I became a fan of the WNBA through Candace Parker. I saw Candace Parker’s national championship game, I saw her get drafted, I saw her have the best rookie debut in WNBA history, I saw her have an immediate impact with the Sparks. I saw Lisa Leslie making sure that Candace Parker was going to take over from her as the new franchise player. I remember vividly seeing Lisa Leslie on the court, making sure that her rookie was growing and learning everyday. Lisa Leslie was proud of Candace Parker, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

I did not stay as a Sparks fan for very long, I transitioned into a fan of the San Antonio Stars (before they became the Las Vegas Aces). But, I still kept tabs on the Sparks, specifically Candace Parker. I remember her dunks, double doubles, MVP’s, championship run and her becoming an analyst on the NBA side. Her daughter Lailaa is apart of the Sparks too. She also has history with the Sparks organization from when she was a little baby.

Over the years, Candace Parker grew up. So did I. I became a fan of the WNBA when I was 18 years old and now I am a fully grown woman. But, I still identify with Candace Parker as the reason for my introduction to the WNBA and now seeing her change teams after so many years, strikes a chord with me. It’s going to be so different. Candace Parker is home. She is in Chicago. Not in LA. It’s still weird to me. She will officially sign with the Chicago Sky on Monday. I bet the Sky will hold a news conference to introduce her. A number of Chicago TV/print/radio outlets will be interviewing her on Monday. Still feels so weird.

I know this is selfishness talking, but I really did want to see Candace Parker retire as a LA Spark. I wanted her to end her career in LA. But, I am not Candace Parker. Candace Parker knows what she wanted and this time, she wanted the Chicago Sky. I’m going to have to learn to like it. I hope the Chicago Sky do win a title with Parker. Some of the great fans are Chicago Sky fans and they have been through A LOT and they deserve some good times too.

This WNBA season will either played in a bubble or in arenas, most likely without fans. I bet the Sky broadcasts will be one of the top viewed and a bunch of their games will be on ESPN. Watch. Tune in. Support the league. I, just like all of the other LA natives/fans/people will just have to get used to seeing Candace Parker in a Sky uniform. I may cry, honestly. But, I hope she does have a good debut and that the team excels with her on the court and off the court (business wise).

Good luck, Candace Parker. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Aneela

WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will win the #1 overall pick?

The 2019 WNBA Draft Lottery will take place tonight during half time of the WNBA semi final game 2 (Washington vs Atlanta). The four worst teams in the league this season have the opportunity to grab a great college player in yet another deep WNBA draft class.

The four worst teams this season were the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. The lottery rules have shifted and instead of the 1 year record, it now accounts for 2 years (or seasons). So, this means that the Fever and the Sky have the best odds of landing a top 2 pick. The Las Vegas Aces improved significantly this season but can still land a top 3 pick. The “worst” odds out of all the teams belongs to the New York Liberty. The Liberty were great in 2017, and that great year will affect them for this draft lottery. However, it should be noted that finishing fourth in this year’s lottery is not that bad. There are a ton of talented players available and the Liberty should fare well.

Keeping all that in mind, I believe that lottery drawings are a luck of the draw. The Indiana Fever REALLY need this top pick and would be thrilled to have it. However, I do not think the Fever will win tonight. I have a feeling it will be the Chicago Sky who come away with the #1 overall pick. I think the Fever will pick #2, the Aces at #3 and the Liberty at #4 overall. (I could be totally wrong, and it could just be the Fever who finally manage to win the #1 overall pick)

Whatever team will end up winning the #1 overall pick in 2019, they will have plenty of talented senior college players to choose from. Players such as Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr, Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Kalani Brown and more. I tracked all of the college players for two years running and here was the latest on who the top overall junior player was for 2018.

This could change a WNBA teams fortune. So, who do you think will win the #1 overall pick? Tune in tonight to find out!

The WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will select the #1 WNBA Draft pick in 2018?

Note: *The WNBA Draft Lottery is postponed until further notice. It was supposed to take place on Sept 14 during the half time of the Lynx vs Mystics semi final playoff game. The unofficial note is that it may be rescheduled in the month of October, maybe even sooner. Until that happens, this is a break down of the WNBA Draft Lottery on all the four teams that missed the playoffs this season.*

This year’s WNBA Draft Lottery is almost upon us. The four teams that missed the playoffs have a shot at drafting the #1 overall selection in next year’s very deep draft. The four teams that missed the playoffs are the following: Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever and the San Antonio Stars. In order to have the highest percentage of possibly acquiring the #1 pick, teams with the worst 2 year record has the most chances of selecting #1 overall. This year, that honor belongs to the San Antonio Stars. The second worst team is the Indiana Fever followed by the Atlanta Dream and the Chicago Sky.

To break it down, although 4 teams missed the playoffs, only 3 teams will be selecting the top 4 WNBA Draft selections. The Atlanta Dream traded away their first round overall pick to the Chicago Sky who will now have two picks in the top 4. The Dream will have to trade in order to get into the first round once again.

The WNBA Draft Lottery can go many ways. In 2015 and 2016, the Storm won the #1 picks back to back. This is very rare and difficult to get. Since the San Antonio Stars had the #1st overall pick in 2017, it is very hard to see them getting the #1 pick in 2018 despite having a higher percentage than of the other two teams.

In my best educated guess, if I were to guess the WNBA Draft Lottery odds and selection, I would have to say that the Indiana Fever would get the #1 WNBA Draft pick. The San Antonio Stars would get the #2nd overall pick, then the Sky at 3 & 4 overall.  Of course, this is just one scenario and it could be a much different outcome when the lottery does take place. This is a WNBA Draft where even if teams do miss out on the #1 overall pick, the rest of the draft has potential superstars, some stars and great potential starters. Teams shouldn’t be too disappointed, but whoever does get the #1 overall pick should help their team and franchise immediately.

One quarter of the way through WNBA season – Observations & Thoughts

With more than half of the league played roughly 8 to 10 games, we are officially done 1/4 of the WNBA season. We have seen some incredible play, some lackluster referees, quality and some very bad teams early. It’s time to break it down and offer my observations and thoughts on everything I have seen played out through the first 8 to 10 games.

First of all, the ROY race is now open. After so much hype regarding the #1 Draft pick Kelsey Plum, it turns out in the early part of the season she is not even in consideration for the award. The front runner of this award clearly belongs to Dallas Wings G/F Allisha Gray. She has been steady and reliant as well as a key component to the Wings offense. She is headed towards becoming a future WNBA All-Star one day.  As for Kelsey Plum? She’s in a tough spot in San Antonio. It’s hard to be a rookie point guard in the WNBA and it is the toughest position to master next to the center position. It takes time and clearly Plum is not there yet. It’s even tougher when a very good, young point guard in Moriah Jefferson is there and has played better to this point in the season. I won’t get into too much detail about it but even if Vickie Johnson (Stars head coach) played Plum, Jefferson and McBride together, Plum still has a long way to go to become a future WNBA star and starting point guard. I won’t write her off as a bust. That’s silly. She has a learning curve and in time, she will be a great guard we will talk about it. But the question remains, will it be in San Antonio?

Moving on, the MVP race is heating up. Before this season began, there was talk of Nneka Ogwumike maybe repeating or Elena Delle Donne, Tina Charles, etc. I don’t think Sylvia Fowles was seriously considered just because of the depth the Lynx have. Well, 9 games into the Lynx season and Fowles has emerged as the front runner for the MVP award. Simply put, she has been amazing and has improved her game at the age of 30 years old. Remarkable. Fowles has always been an elite center in the WNBA and one of the top defenders in the league but her play this season is a notch above her All Star play. I don’t think being on the Lynx will hurt her MVP chances just like it didn’t hurt Ogwumike’s shot last year either. While Fowles is the front runner, don’t forget about the Mercury’s Brittney Griner. She’s been simply outstanding and for me personally, fun to watch her growth and development. There’s a reason why she was taken ahead of Elena Delle Donne because when Griner puts it all together, she’s unstoppable. She’s been able to avoid foul trouble for the most part and her level of play should make Mercury fans very happy. Their very hyped center is finally turning the corner and becoming one of the top three players to watch through a quarter of the WNBA season. Another player who has also emerged as one of the three contenders for the award is none other than Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne. If there is one thing Delle Donne is simply elite at, it is her ability to score. Being a versatile elite scorer has helped the Mystics off to a very great start through 10 games (7-3) and makes her a very serious candidate for the WNBA MVP award. Other names are also in the mix such as Sparks reigning MVP (Nneka Ogwumike), Liberty’s Tina Charles, etc. But these three (Fowles, Griner and Delle Donne) are simply a notch better through a quarter of the WNBA season right now.

Another key story is the quality of play of the top teams versus the bad teams. There is quite a remarkable difference between the Minnesota Lynx and the San Antonio Stars. One team is undefeated while the other is winless. Sure, the Lynx have more talent and have experienced veterans on this team, but the Stars do have talent regardless of what you have read about them. The Minnesota Lynx are 9-0 because they can close out teams, they have some very big blowout wins and are in cruise control right now. They get elite level production from Fowles (discussed above), steady production from Rebekkah Brunson, Seimone Augustus and a very good point guard in Lindsay Whalen to direct the team. Meanwhile the San Antonio Stars are winless because they cannot close out teams, they have had multiple chances to win games and their rotation is a mess because the coach has yet to figure out which line up combination works for her team. I did not expect the Stars to have a winning record at this point, but never did I think they would still be winless. It’s not fun to watch for anybody. The Lynx being 9-0 and the Stars being 0-9 are two stories to track through one quarter of the season. Both teams could set records (and in the Stars case, not a great record.)

REFEREES: Still not great, way too many games decided by their fate. Reviews are way too long and it takes the fun out of the WNBA game.

HOT SEAT? Two coaches right now are on the hot seat. Vickie Johnson of the San Antonio Stars and Amber Stocks, the coach/GM of the Chicago Sky. Of these two, I think Johnson will be let go after this season because she is only on a one year deal. Amber Stocks is on the hot seat because of some her rosters moves are puzzling. Not only that, but her team could have won more games, but haven’t due to the talent on the floor. It’s only a quarter of the way through the WNBA season, but keep an eye on these two coaches moving forward.

These are some of the top major stories around the league. When the majority of the WNBA has played half of their games (17 games), I shall do another post on what other stories have transpired in this 2017 WNBA season.