James Wade named WNBA Coach of the Month after leading Sky on historic June run
The Sky (10-8) led the WNBA in points scored (1,004), field goals made (367) and assists (260) in the month of June. They also led in steals (100) and finished second in the league in free throws made (181), rebounds (424) and blocks (49).
Sky coach and general manager James Wade has a phrase he repeats quite frequently whether his team wins or loses.
“We’re focused on the next game,” Wade will say.
During the team’s seven-game losing streak Wade reiterated to his team all they needed was one win.
The win that snapped the losing streak and sparked the Sky’s franchise-best seven-game win streak came June 9 against the Fever. With five players scoring in double figures and every single player scoring the Sky dominated the Fever 92-76.
That win was the catalyst for a month marked by league-best accomplishments. The Sky (10-8) led the WNBA in points scored (1,004), field goals made (367) and assists (260). They didn’t stop there also leading in steals (100) and finished second in the league in free throws made (181), rebounds (424) and blocks (49).
In all of their wins during the month of June, the Sky had five or more players score in double figures, except one. Against the Wings on Wednesday night seven Sky players finished the game in double figures.
Wade led the Sky to an 8-4 record in June which earned him WNBA Coach of the Month.
Courtney Vandersloot surprised Wade with the news following a film session Thursday.
“I thought you all were going to tell me to go back to France,” Wade laughed and said to the team in a video posted to social media. “We have a long way to go.”
Wade went on to say he called Sky owner, Michael Alter following the team’s 77-74 loss to the Mercury on June 1. He thought he was letting the team down.
The turnaround came following Candace Parker’s return to the court after an ankle injury sidelined her for eight games, but the success is not solely because of Parker. The Sky are one of the most complete teams in the league because of the scoring threat every player poses and their newly established defensive identity.
In the last eight games, they are third in offensive and defensive rating behind the Aces and the Storm.
Wade remained confident throughout the team’s losing streak that once they were healthy and had everyone available, they’d look completely different. He was right.
Astou Ndour returned from competing in EuroBasket this week and it marks the first time all year the Sky team that Wade crafted this offseason is intact. He still thinks there’s a level his team has yet to reach.
“I’m happy that everybody is here and we can keep taking steps forward,” Wade said.