Basketball

Sky “sitting pretty” entering WNBA Draft with third, fourth overall picks

With the third and fourth picks in the WNBA Draft on Thursday, the Sky are “sitting pretty,” according to ESPN analyst LaChina Robinson.

“When you look at their roster, they already have [Courtney] Vandersloot and a very talented group who looked very strong through most of last year,” Robinson said. “But to have the three and fourth pick is major. You’re looking at a franchise changer.”

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The Sky, who missed the playoffs last season, have their pick at No. 4. They also have Atlanta’s first pick, which became No. 3 when the Dream also missed the playoffs. The choices give the Sky an opportunity to fill holes on a team that went 12-22 and lost Cappie Pondexter to the Los Angeles Sparks and Jessica Breland to the Dream in free agency, though it gained versatile guard/forward Alex Montgomery.

Sky coach Amber Stocks reacts as she yells to her team during a game last season. | AP

“When you lose someone like a Jessica Breland, you have to replace what she brought in terms of her length, her ability to be disruptive,” Robinson said. “I see them picking up a perimeter player that can score but also a power forward that can do a variety of things.”

Of course, the two high draft picks give the Sky flexibility. When asked whether she’d use the picks or trade one, Sky coach Amber Stocks was coy.

“Well, we’re going to use both picks for sure, and we may use them to acquire players or we may use them to trade to acquire different picks,” Stocks said. “But they’re going to be used. Trading and movement is always an option.”

The Las Vegas Aces, who will play their first season after moving from San Antonio in the offseason, have the first pick and are widely expected to take South Carolina forward/center A’ja Wilson. The Indiana Fever and former Sky coach Pokey Chatman pick second.

Players the Sky could take include Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell, Tennessee guard Diamond DeShields and Connecticut forwards Azurá Stevens and Gabby Williams.

“I think it’s quality at multiple positions, quality bigs, quality small forwards, some quality shooting guards and some pretty good point guards and combo guards,” Stocks said. “Quality in that first round.”

The draft begins at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The second and third rounds will air on ESPNU.