Skidding Sky has several reasons to choose the right ship against Wings

A lot hinges on the Sky’s game against the Wings on Thursday at Wintrust Arena.

Of course, ending the four-game losing streak is the top priority. However, one other important point looms large: The 2025 pick trades control of the Wings as part of the trade of former Sky coach/general manager James Wade for guard Marina Mabrey.

Currently, both teams are out of the playoffs, putting them both in the 2025 draft lottery. However, if the Sky (4-9) ended up with a higher pick, the Wings (3-10) would surely implement the exchange.

This means there is only one way to undo the pick swap, and that is to secure a playoff spot.

“You’re always aware of what’s going to affect your team in the short and long term,” Sky chief executive Jeff Pagliocca said. “But as far as the trade goes, we’re not paying too much attention to it right now. We’re preparing for Dallas like any other game and we’re focusing on ourselves.

There are a lot of things Sky need to focus on amid this skid, starting with the lack of execution.

Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon took a step to try to remedy this problem by changing the starting five. She traded guard Dana Evans and swing player Diamond DeShields for guards Lindsay Allen and Chennedy Carter.

However, it wasn’t enough to secure a victory against the Fever last Sunday. Once again, the team faltered late in the game, committing errant fouls resulting in another single-digit loss.

Weatherspoon had back-to-back practices this week before the game against the Wings. She expressed confidence in the productivity of both firms.

“It was great to have those two days of practice,” Weatherspoon said. “It’s so necessary. It took us a few games to get back between those four lines and practice. This is where things really start.

In many ways, the Wings are in a tougher position than the Sky five weeks into the season.

They have their own losing streak and have been hit hard by the injury bug. Their most recent addition to the injury report is forward Maddy Siegrist, who broke a finger on her non-shooting hand.

She was injured in the first quarter of the Wings’ eighth straight loss Tuesday night. There is no deadline for his return. The Sky have already faced the Wings twice and will face them again in September.

The draft order is determined using the cumulative record from the previous two seasons of each of the four teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs. The Wings finished last season with a 22-18 record, while the Sky narrowly reached the playoffs with an 18-22 record.

If both teams stay out of the playoffs, their 2024 record will be added to last season’s to determine their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2025 draft. UConn guard Paige Bueckers is the consensus No. 1 overall pick, but the Sky have no chance of getting him even if they end up in the lottery because of this trade.

The best possible outcome for Sky this season would be to earn a playoff spot and build on
Pagliocca will continue to grow the roster via free agency and even a potential trade.

At this point, all Sky can focus on is trying to secure a victory on Thursday afternoon.

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