Editor’s Note: In 2019, Nothing But Nylon created Prestige Rankings, a system designed to display the very best and very worst teams any basketball league has had to offer over history. Using points based upon various accomplishments or failures, we have ranked every WNBA team in multiple ways to show you who has truly run the show since 1997. We’re up to #10 Chicago Sky, but take a look at all of the criteria and defunct teams to get a good idea of how things work.
Years Active: 2006-Present
Prestige Score: 23.3
Prestige Rank: 15/23
Active Rank: 10/12
The Sky have lived a largely futile existence since they started play in 2006. Outside of a run to the WNBA Finals in 2014 and a few postseason appearances under Pokey Chatman in the mid-2010s, which are the only seasons providing Chicago with any points at all, there’s not a whole lot here.
From 2006-09, the Sky registered negative points only, and it took until 2013 for the team to finish a season with a positive total. They have only ended three of their 13 seasons with an above-.500 record.
Now let’s push the negative aside. They brought in James Wade as the GM and head coach, and while there will surely be issues with new leadership to start, he has a ton of young talent to work with. Rookie Katie Lou Samuelson and second-year Chloe Jackson already showed off a bit in their first preseason game, and despite the loss, brought promise from an unfamiliar group. The Sky are also currently without star Diamond DeShields due to a hamstring, and Astou Ndour and Allie Quigley to overseas commitments, staples that will make a world of difference once on the court. The future is bright, but what’s right ahead of them is troublesome.
Chicago Sky Totals
WNBA Championships: 0 |0 points|
WNBA Finals Appearances: 1 |60 points|
Series Wins: 3 |90 points|
Playoffs Wins: 7 |105 points|
Playoffs Byes: 1 |15 points)|
Playoffs Appearances: 4 |48 points|
Regular Season Top Record: 0 |0 points|
Above .500 Regular Season: 3 |12 points|
All-WNBA Player on Roster: 6 |18 points|
MVP on Roster: 1 |5 points|
Coach of the Year: 0 |0 points|
Regular Season Worst Record: -10 |-10 points|
Below .500 Regular Season: 10 |-40 points|
Total points: |303|
Best Year: 2014
In Pokey Chatman’s fourth season as Chicago’s head coach, the team finished the regular season 15-19, the last team to make the playoffs, needing a tiebreaker to take the final spot from the New York Liberty. But from there, the Sky made a run to their first WNBA Finals, upsetting the No. 1 seed in the East, Atlanta, 2-1 in the first round, then dispatching No. 3 seed Indiana in the Conference Finals, 2-1. The ride came to an abrupt end as Phoenix, the top team in the league in the regular season, swept Chicago in the WNBA Finals, 3-0.
Elena Delle Donne led the Sky in scoring with 17.9 points per game, followed by Epiphanny Prince (15.0), Sylvia Fowles (13.4) and Allie Quigley (11.2). Fowles averaged a double-double, also hauling in 10.2 rebounds per contest.
Worst Year: 2006
It was Chicago’s first-ever season, and like most expansion teams in all of professional sports, it didn’t go so well. The team went 5-29, the worst record in the league. It was head coach and general manager Dave Cowens’s only season in Chicago before leaving to pursue opportunities in the NBA. Candice Dupree led the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game and was one of only two double-digit scorers on the roster.
Winningest Coach: Pokey Chatman
In her six seasons in the Sky’s cockpit, Chatman went 106-98 from 2011-16, including four-straight playoff berths from 2013-16, a WNBA Finals appearances in 2014 and a Semifinals showing in 2016, plus the top seed in the East in 2013.