If you’re a fan of the Chicago Sky or a fan of the WNBA, you may have noticed that Diamond DeShields is the biggest fan of Kahleah Copper.
Two years ago, DeShields was the third star on the Sky along with Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley and led the team with 16.2 points per game. She was 24 years old and was on the rise. She has shown offensive versatility from the wing, and her athleticism and explosiveness seem to make her a superstar.
2020 was not friendly to DeShields. Due to injuries, she played far fewer minutes per game and then left the wobble early for personal reasons. What looked like a promising young career was suddenly surrounded by uncertainty. What role would she play for Sky in 2021?
Copper takes the place of DeShield as the team’s third star in 2020, raising her average score by 8.2 to 14.9, starting each game and averaging 31.3 minutes per game. Copper and DeShields are the same height and are both fast, athletic wings that prefer to get out of the transition but can also hit the three.
In 2021, DeShields did nothing but celebrate the similarities between her and Copper and embrace the idea that they are a deadly wing duo while playing together. And she maintained that attitude while playing a lesser role than Copper all season.
The numbers from the regular season are not that far off: Copper averaged 14.4 points on DeShields’ 11.3 points and has only played 3.9 minutes per game. But she made the All-Star Game while DeShields was a bit suspicious in talks about the Sky star, which now also includes Candace Parker. DeShields, with all her talent, has almost been considered a role player, at least for this season.
DeShields moved from the starting lineup to the bench on August 21 and has not started since. In the playoffs, she only played more than 20 minutes once (match 5 against the Sun) and scored only once with double figures (14 in the second round against the Lynx). In game 1 of the final, she only played 11 minutes and 20 seconds and did not even score. Yet today I write with good reason about her.
As her 14-point performance against the Lynx shows, she could be a dangerous weapon for Sky in the final at any moment. She still has all the tools to be a superstar player, and if you add her to Parker, Vandersloot, Copper and Quigley, you understand why they call Chicago a superteam.
DeShields can score well over 14 points, but even if she does not play a big role in this final, it is worth noting the sacrifices she made while the Sky was on their tears after the season . She did not complain that she did not get the ball, and continues to encourage Copper, who averaged 18.6 points in the playoffs and took the lead in Game 1 of the final with 21 and 10 rebounds.
Copper is just as excited about playing with DeShields as DeShields is about playing with Copper and the couple were nice to watch together. Copper knows how good DeShields is and if the Sky falls silent at some point in the final round, do not be surprised to see how Copper and Vandersloot want to get DeShields involved. It’s just that things are going so smoothly now and Chicago is not away from the hot hands. So, at the moment, DeShields is hiding on the Sky bench.