The Sky have two of the first nine picks, including the No. 2 selection, in the WNBA draft Thursday.
On Wednesday, coach and general manager Amber Stocks was mum on her plan. Will she use the second pick, which was part of the trade that sent Elena Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics, to grab a top talent? Or will she use it as a bargaining chip to add multiple players in a trade?
“One of those plans will come to fruition,” Stocks said. “Few scenarios will surprise us.”
The Sky bulked up their frontcourt with All-Star center Stefanie Dolson, who was acquired with guard Kahleah Copper in the Delle Donne trade.
Several mock drafts have the Sky focusing on the backcourt and considering South Carolina’s Allisha Gray (13.2 points per game. Last season), Syracuse’s Alexis Peterson (23.4 ppg.) or Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (18.8 ppg), all of whom have the versatility that Stocks values.
But with the Sky already having plenty of guards among veterans Courtney Vandersloot, Cappie Pondexter, Allie Quigley and Jamierra Faulkner, many of the backcourt minutes could be spoken for already.
Dolson adds depth to a frontcourt that already included center Imani Boyette, but the Sky could use the ninth pick to enhance their post presence. Several mock drafts had them targeting Northwestern forward Nia Coffey with that pick.
Coffey averaged 20 points and 10.4 rebounds this past season and could help fill some of the gap left from the Delle Donne trade. Stocks also likes the upside of South Carolina 6-4 center Alaina Coates, who would provide another formidable post presence. Washington guard Kelsey Plum is widely expected to be first off the board.
Stocks likes the long-term potential of the draft class.
“These are the types of players that have the physicality, mentality and talent to last year’s in this league and continue to be stable cornerstones of your franchise for years to come,” Stocks said. “It may not show up in the 2017 season, but the fruit of the talent that they have will continue to show and grow over the years.”
Although Stocks already has formulated a plan to enhance a team that advanced to the WNBA semifinals last season — without an injured Delle Donne — she understands there might be other teams eyeing the No. 2 pick with hopes of getting better faster.
And if the inquiries come as Stocks expects, she’ll be ready.
“My cellphone will be on,” she said, “and I will listen to all calls.”
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