What does Julie Allemand’s late arrival mean for Sky, who are just beginning to establish rhythm?
Allemand averaged 9.2 points, six assists and 3.1 rebounds in 29 games for Lyon in the French League.
Julie Allemand’s Sky jersey has been hanging in her locker since Sunday. Before the week is up, fans finally might see her wear it.
Last month, Sky general manager/coach James Wade said he expected Allemand to be available to play by Friday. After her European team, Lyon Asvel Feminin, lost to Bourges in the French League finals, Wade’s expectation might be right on the money.
‘‘As soon as she takes her physical, we’ll suit her up,’’ Wade said Sunday.
Allemand averaged 9.2 points, six assists and 3.1 rebounds in 29 games for Lyon. In her last season in the WNBA in 2020, she was second in the league in assists per game (5.8) to Sky star Courtney Vandersloot.
The Sky said Allemand is still overseas, but they’re hoping she’ll be able to join them at some point during their three-game road trip that begins Wednesday against the Mystics. They then visit the Sun on Friday before completing the trip against the Liberty on Sunday.
Wade has been adamant since acquiring Allemand in the three-team offseason trade that sent Diamond DeShields to the Mercury that she won’t be Vandersloot’s backup. Since the season began, Wade has used the Sky’s depth to play a variety of lineups and has substituted more often than he did last season.
The Sky’s bench ranks third in the league in scoring at 23.2 points per game and has the best field-goal percentage (.470) and three-point shooting percentage (.362) in the WNBA.
‘‘It’s a marathon,’’ Wade said in the second week of the season. ‘‘I want to make sure we’re keeping our core players fresh, and I’m very confident in the players that are not considered part of that core.’’
Through the Sky’s first 10 games, Dana Evans leads them in three-point shooting percentage (.412) and is averaging nine points, along with rookie Rebekah Gardner.
After the Sky’s victory Sunday against the Mystics, Wade credited their offensive success to the rhythm they’ve developed. So where will Allemand fit in a system that’s just beginning to establish cohesiveness?
Wade’s traditional starting lineup of Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Kahleah Copper, Emma Meesseman and Candace Parker ranks fourth in the league in points per game (32.2) in only 13.7 minutes together. Gardner has seen significant minutes with the starters while subbing for Quigley and is averaging 23.4 minutes.
Evans, meanwhile, has been exceptional on both ends of the floor while backing up Vandersloot. She’s averaging 2.6 assists to go with her nine points in 18.3 minutes and has been used in rotations with the starters and as the floor general of the second unit.
The addition of Allemand might mean a variety of things, starting with Quigley getting more rest early in the season. Gardner has been the first player off the bench for Quigley, who then has been used to sub for Copper.
Wade potentially could use Allemand to sub for Copper, which would move Gardner to the wing and Allemand alongside Evans in the backcourt. Although Wade has said he doesn’t want to use Allemand as Vandersloot’s backup, her availability might end up cutting into Evans’ minutes as well.
Gardner and Evans have proved their value, with Gardner showing she could be considered for a starting role. Allemand’s addition creates a desirable problem — more talent than available minutes — for the Sky.