Chicago Sky fires coach/GM Amber Stocks after 2 seasons

 
 
Updated 8/31/2018 6:05 PM
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  • Chicago Sky head coach Amber Stocks is out after two seasons.

    Chicago Sky head coach Amber Stocks is out after two seasons. Associated Press, June 2017

It was a season of fresh faces for the Chicago Sky in 2018.

Four rookies dotted the roster, including two (Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams), who started.

Next season, the theme of fresh faces will continue. Another rookie figures to make the roster as the Sky has the No. 4 pick in the 2019 WNBA draft.

On top of that, the head coach will be a new face, too.

On Friday, the Sky announced that after two seasons Amber Stocks has been relieved of her duties as head coach and general manager.

Stocks went 12-22 in 2017 and 13-21 this summer. Both seasons resulted in playoff misses, and that followed four straight years of playoff appearances by the Sky.

"We just made an overall assessment of things and we came to the conclusion that this is the best course for 2019," Sky President Adam Fox said. "It's a results business and we weren't getting to where we wanted to be. We felt like we needed to make a change."

According to Fox, this was not a unilateral decision made by team executives. Input was gathered from all corners of the franchise.

"This came after a lot of conversations with a variety of folks," Fox said. "It was clear after all of those conversations that it was time to make a move."

I am not surprised.

While it seemed like Stocks had some very good ideas and thoroughly knew the game of basketball, it was hard to connect with her on a personal level.

Stocks was always very cordial, but she could also be very distant and not overly warm or personable. This is my observation of dealing with her as a member of the media.

I'm not sure exactly how she was with her players, but if there were those types of personal misfires and mis-connections between her and her players, then that was likely a problem that could have manifested on the court.

A big part of coaching, perhaps even bigger than the X's and O's, is the human element: how you connect with your players, how you interact with your players, how you relate to your players.

Considering the composition of the Sky's roster, with so much youth and inexperience, I think the ideal coach for this team needs to be just as much nurturer as teacher and enforcer.

I'm not sure how much nurturing Stocks brought to the table. But it sounds like that might be a priority in the search for a new coach.

"We are going to be looking for someone who is going to recognize the assets we currently have on our roster, and recognize the great youth and dynamicness there," Fox said. "And we want that person to be prepared to work with that and take it to the next level. We want someone who can create sustained success."

The next question is: does the Sky keep all of its big-potential youth? Or should there be off-season deals to trade that youth for the biggest name/performer possible?

I think the Sky needs a veteran finisher, a superstar, a big playmaker.

Some would argue that guard Allie Quigley is that player, and yes, that is often the case.

But there are times that teams can take Quigley out of her game simply by focusing the defense on her. The Sky needs someone who will be able to make clutch play after clutch play even with that kind of attention on her.

But, what would the Sky have to give up to get an A-lister finisher like that? Probably a lot. Maybe all of that dynamic youth that could make for a very bright future.

So the decision becomes, does the Sky keep moving pieces around, trying to find the perfect big-name addition, or does it ride this youth movement as far as it can?

My guess is that the Sky is going to stick with the fresh faces, and that the new head coach will fit right in.

pbabcock@dailyherald.com

Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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