Sky coach/GM James Wade’s plan for WNBA Draft is simple: ‘Take the best player possible’

The Sky don’t have a first-round pick and might not have the luxury of drafting based on a need.

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Sky coach/GM James Wade.

Because the Sky don’t have a first-round pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft, coach/GM James Wade will have to take the best player available and not necessarily address the team’s needs.

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Before the WNBA Draft, Sky coach/general manager James Wade brought his staff together for a retreat, something he has organized every year since joining the franchise in 2019.

‘‘We’re all together at an unspecified location,’’ Wade said.

The retreat, Wade confirmed, isn’t a camping trip with scheduled activities such as trust falls, stories and s’mores by a fire. Wade’s covert operation serves multiple purposes: to prepare for the draft together, to begin game-planning for the upcoming season and to spend some quality time bonding.

‘‘It’s just us getting organized,’’ Wade said. ‘‘It’s really cool and something I feel is really beneficial for us.’’

Wade and his staff won’t be in New York for the draft, which airs at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN. The Sky don’t have a first-round selection for the second consecutive year after Wade traded the fifth overall pick and other assets to acquire Marina Mabrey in a four-team trade in February.

This year, the Sky have the 11th pick in the second and third rounds — Nos. 23 and 35 overall — and the strategy Wade offered was simple: Take the best player available.

‘‘We may need a big body or something like that, but at that point we may have to take the best player possible,’’ Wade said. ‘‘That’s tough with this vast list of players to know who’s going to be on the board and who’s not.’’

A glance at the Sky’s roster shows Wade already has 11 players under contract, excluding training-camp deals. WNBA teams can carry up to 12 players, but many run with 11 because of salary-cap constraints. Of the Sky’s 11 contracts, six are protected, which means a player gets paid even if cut. There is no guaranteed money attached to unprotected contracts.

One of Wade’s players on an unprotected contract is Li Yueru. Her status with the Sky has been uncertain since she was pulled from the WNBA in August by the Chinese national team in preparation for the World Cup. Beyond Li, it’s clear to see 10 players whose positions on the roster appear to be solid. That leaves the potential for Wade to sign one or both his draftees.

The Sky have several players who have made an impact after being selected in the second and third rounds.

‘‘Their motor and having the speed of the game, that’s something that stands out,’’ Wade said about what it takes for rookies to stick on a WNBA roster. ‘‘And having a defined skill set, a player that can do something really, really well.

‘‘A lot of times, players get to the league and have to figure that out. If you come into the league with something you do that’s top-level — whether it’s running, shooting, rebounding or passing — if you have something defined, that’s attractive to teams.’’

Training camp begins April 30, and the Sky open the season May 19 at the Lynx.

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