Stocks out after two seasons; posted a 25-43 overall record with Chicago Sky
The Chicago Sky fired head coach and general manager Amber Stocks, the team announced on Friday.
“The entire organization would like to thank Amber for the hard work and dedication that she has given to the Chicago Sky for the past two seasons,” team president Adam Fox said in the team’s press release. “At this time, we felt a change was necessary for the 2019 season. We wish her nothing but the best in the future. Our search for a new coach will begin immediately.”
The Sky are coming off a 2018 regular season in which they won 13 games and finished 10th in the league.
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Last season, Chicago had to replace Elena Delle Donne, so finishing with a 12-22 record and three games out of the eighth seed didn’t exactly put Stocks on the hot seat. But Sky principal owner Michael Alter couldn’t hide his disappointment with the team’s lack of progress in her second year.
“I didn’t expect we’d be in the championship, but I thought we’d be a [playoff] team and sort of on the climb-up,” he said earlier this month, per the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Brian Sandalow. “We’re a little behind where I hoped we’d be, based on that. Last year was kind of what I expected with all the new parts. This year, I don’t feel like we moved forward from last year as much as I would’ve hoped.”
Alter’s comments aren’t entirely off base, either. Allie Quigley was an All-Star for the second straight season and Courtney Vandersloot set the WNBA single-season record for assists. Throw in Stefanie Dolson and 2017 first-round picks Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams, and Chicago had the pieces to pusher harder for a playoff berth.
That assemblage of talent is going to make Chicago a very attractive job this offseason.
Vandersloot and Quigley are set to become free agents, according to High Post Hoops’ salary database. Even the Sky lose both veterans, they’ll still have a talented young squad and the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft. High Post Hoops’ Howard Megdal projected Louisville Cardinals guard Asia Durr to Chicago in his first mock draft.
The Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream both enjoyed 11-win improvements in 2018 to finish first and second in the league, respectively.
While it’s too early to call the Sky a title contender in 2019, their fortunes could change rapidly depending on whom they tab as Stocks’ replacement.