Angel Reese is beyond the steal of the 2024 WNBA Draft. Can she be rookie of the year for the Chicago Sky?

With the seventh overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky made out like bandits.

They got the BET Sportswoman of the Year, the WNBA Rookie of the Month in June, one of the league's top rebounders and, now, a WNBA All-Star.

Reese was one of the 12 players named to the 2024 WNBA All-Star team, an honor that reduced her to tears. None of the other accolades did, but this one got to her.

It was also an accolade that moved her past the steal of the 2024 WNBA Draft. Now, she's in a position to win the 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year.

"I wanted nothing but to win," Reese said. "Being an All-Star really wasn't on my list as a rookie."

It started two months before the draft began.

On February 19, Chicago made a trade with the Los Angeles Sparks for the No. 8 overall pick in the 2024 draft.

The Sky sent Julie Allemand, the rights to Li Yueru and a third-round pick in the 2025 WNBA Draft to the Sparks for No. 8 overall. That gave the Sky its second first-round pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft.

Then, the Sky moved up one pick. 

On the day before the WNBA Draft, the Sky traded the eighth overall pick for the seventh overall pick in a hefty deal.

The Sky sent Sika Kone, a 2025 second-round pick and the right to swap 2026 first-round picks to Minnesota. The Lynx sent Nikolina Milic.

At the time, it felt like a heavy price to pay to not only move back into the first round but to move up just one selection.

After all that, it's hard to argue the price wasn't worth it and then some.

Reese finished every game in the month of June with at least 10 rebounds. She was named WNBA Rookie of the Month in June, an honor most expected Caitlin Clark to earn due to her high-volume scoring. Reese grabbed it like it was a rebound.

You can't deny that Reese earned it. She broke the single-season consecutive double-doubles record once owned by Candace Parker. 

"I trusted the process and I believed," Reese said. 

Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese is interviewed by ESPN's Holly Rowe after defeating the Indiana Fever 88-87 at Wintrust Arena on June 23, 2024, in Chicago. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Believing might have been hard at times for Reese. She said there were plenty who have doubted her as she transitioned from college to the WNBA.

Plenty said her offensive game wasn't good enough, and it's why she slid to No. 7 overall in the WNBA Draft. The Chicago Sky are grateful for it as much as Reese is.

Even now, there's plenty of vitriol Reese endures. The team knows this. They also recognize it as the individual accolades start to come in for her.

"She goes through a lot," Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said. "She's a team player."

Can Reese win Rookie of the Year? Absolutely. Reese is atop the race for WNBA Rookie of the Year.

In fact, you could even say the race between Reese and Cailtin Clark, save for a surprise emergence in August when the WNBA returns from its Olympic break, is dead even.

Right now, Clark and Reese both earned a WNBA Rookie of the Month honor. Both have taken the league by storm. Both have a strong case.

Ironically enough, Clark and Reese will play on the same team that will face off against Team USA.

Once the two come back from that break, the race will heat up. Whichever one of the rookies can lead their team to a playoff berth would be a factor, but Reese and Clark don't have much say in how other players perform.

Even now, these last few paragraphs have focused too much on Clark. Reese can only control how she performs. Right now, the improvement she's shown in the first two months of the WNBA season have spoken volumes to what Reese's ceiling can be in the WNBA.

A good comparison is Tina Charles, one of the most productive players in the league. Charles began her WNBA career as a heralded rebounder and offensive post presence. Reese has done the exact same. Over time Charles developed her offensive game with plenty of post moves and a 3-point shot.

Reese is getting more comfortable taking jumpers. She's developing right before our eyes.

The Sky are 7-11 right now, sitting right outside the playoff picture. Still, they're 3-2 in their last five games. One of those games, the win over Indiana, was due to Reese taking control of the game in the fourth and putting the team on her back.

The city of Chicago has embraced Reese. Now, the league has too as one of its All-Stars.

If this rise continues, it'll be hard to deny Reese WNBA Rookie of the Year unless someone else takes it from her.

"I'm thankful I dropped to seven and was able to come to Chicago," Reese said. "I'm really happy right now."


Column: Angel Reese just needed time. She took it Sunday as a WNBA star for the Chicago Sky

Angel Reese didn't wait for it. She didn't ask for it. She took her stardom Sunday. That's what stars do, and she certainly has achieved stardom in the WNBA as a rookie.