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Article updated: 10/11/2013 6:38 PM

To get to finals, Sky roster needs help

Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore (23) has the intensity and skills to will her team to victory in the WNBA playoffs. Moore was named the WNBA Finals MVP after leading her team to its second title in three years.

Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore (23) has the intensity and skills to will her team to victory in the WNBA playoffs. Moore was named the WNBA Finals MVP after leading her team to its second title in three years.

 

Associated Press

Minnesota Lynx' Maya Moore, second from left, holds the championship trophy with teammates after sweeping the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Finals.

Minnesota Lynx' Maya Moore, second from left, holds the championship trophy with teammates after sweeping the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Finals.

 

Asociated Press

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By Patricia Babcock McGraw

The WNBA season ended Thursday night with Minnesota winning its second championship in three years.

In a tweet, I wondered (half-jokingly) what the Chicago Sky would have to give up to get Lynx forward Maya Moore, the MVP of the Finals. She was amazing during the playoffs and showed the killer instinct she developed at UConn, when she was the best college player in the country.

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The Sky lacks, among other things, a player with a Moore-like intensity, especially one who can deliver so consistently in the clutch.

One person tweeted me back and named just about every top player on the Sky roster. And yes, that's probably what the Lynx would expect in return for Moore -- if they would entertain the thought, which I doubt.

So barring any surprising out-of-left-field maneuvers by the Lynx, or the sudden desire by the Sky to completely retool, Chicago probably won't be involved in a blockbuster deal during the off-season. Instead, the Sky will need to be smart in free agency.

There are some holes to fill, and change will be necessary if the Sky wants to avoid another sweep in the first round of the playoffs.

While the Sky's starting lineup put together the best record in the Eastern Conference, it could benefit from some tweaking. Starting forward Swin Cash, a 12-year veteran, provided much-needed leadership as well a solid defense, rebounds and occasional offense. But she will be turning 35 next season, and she's no longer the high-level player who won titles with Detroit and Seattle.

A younger small forward who is offensive-minded should be at the top of the Sky's shopping list.

As for the rest of the starting lineup, I get the feeling Sky coach and general manager Pokey Chatman wants at least one more try with Sylvia Fowles, Elena Delle Donne, Epiphanny Prince and Courtney Vandersloot. And I don't blame her. That's a good core, especially if Delle Donne can get stronger and more physical and Prince can become a more consistent shooter.

Beyond those four, and perhaps reserve defensive specialist Tamera Young, I think anything could happen with the remaining six players on the roster, depending on contract situations. The bench was not a strength and could use some reworking.

For the most part, I liked the addition of former DePaul guard Allie Quigley, but I wish she had played more minutes. It's still a question mark as to whether she can be a consistent threat from 3-point range, which is a big need for the Sky.

Small forward Shay Murphy has tremendous upside, especially on the defensive end. But she had a rough season offensively, hitting just 17 percent of her 3-pointers. Chatman seemed conflicted about how to use Murphy, which makes her an easy choice for the chopping block.

The Sky also needed more production out of bigs Michelle Campbell and Avery Warley. And Carolyn Swords, Fowles' top sub, remains a question mark until she recovers from a knee injury.

Any or all of those three could be gone by next season, and it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes.

But a few good moves here and there and the Sky should compete for an Eastern Conference championship again next season. We'll just have to see how good Chatman is at wheeling and dealing.

pbabcock@dailyherald.com

• Follow Patricia on Twitter @babcockmcgraw.

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