With the WNBA season just a few weeks away, the League 2022 is hosting the WNBA Draft on Monday in New York. It is held in person for the first time in two years.
After having zero players in the 2021 draft, the UConn women’s basketball team has trained guard Evina Westbrook, senior guard Christyn Williams and senior forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa in the draft pool. The trio formally wrote their names on the candidate list on Wednesday.
Where the three ends are uncertain. Mock drafts project Westbrook and Williams in the first round and Nelson-Ododa in the second.
Each player has unique strengths. Westbrook is a 6-foot combo guard with the ability to score at all three levels and can guard multiple positions. Williams, 5-11, can score in many ways and propensity to steal with his active hands. She averaged 14.2 points per game. fight and won the Ann Meyer Meyer’s Drysdale Award as the nation’s best shooting guard. Nelson-Ododa, 6-5, is a blower who fights low and protects the rim well.
Here’s everything you need to know about the teams you need to see in the WNBA draft and the prospects you must not miss.
When: Monday at 19 ET
TV: ESPN, ESPN app
Connecticut Suns Choice: 12, 24 and 36
On Wednesday, the Washington Mystics swapped overall No. 1 for the Atlanta Dreams No. 3 pick, No. 14 in the second round and the right to swap with the Los Angeles Sparks’ 2023 first-round pick.
The Dream came after an 8-24 season and has not reached the playoffs since the 2018 season. The trade indicates that Atlanta is pushing all of its chips on the table to flip its fortunes with potential franchise-shifting talent.
“We have identified a player we feel very confident about taking as No. 1,” Dream General Manager Dan Padover told Brandon Sudge of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We went for it,”
“The move today gives us a chance to achieve a basic piece that is very difficult to get hold of in this league.”
This is the second time in franchise history that the dream has the No. 1 choice; last time was in 2009 when they chose Angel McCoughtry.
Along with the top pick, Atlanta will also pick number 15 in the second round.
While last season lacked a clear top pick, Dream has an easy pick in Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard. Nearly every mock draft has Atlanta to pick the 21-year-old.
Howard has an impressive list of accolades, including a unanimous first-team All-American in 2021, FIBA AmeriCup MVP and three-time First-Team All-SEC.
She is an offensive superstar who can score anywhere on the field. Howard fills the statistics sheet with an average of 20.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists during his final year in Kentucky. Her play has improved over the last couple of seasons, and at the defensive end she shows the versatility to guard all positions.
Howard may be the primary option in the WNBA and should help improve Dreams’ offensive efficiency, which was ranked No. 9 in the WNBA by 97.5.
Indiana Fever will be the team to watch when they have four selections in the first round, including three of the first six.
In March, the fever signaled a complete rebuild after swapping Teaira McCowan, their No. 7 pick and a future first-round pick for the Dallas Wings for two picks (Nos. 4, 6) and a future first. Indiana has four choices (Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 10).
After a 6-26 season, Tamika Catchings left her general manager / vice president role and Lin Dunn was appointed interim general manager.
Dunn put forward any concept of draft fit fairly quickly at his inaugural press conference.
“When you draft in the first round, you look at ‘Who are the best players available?'” She said. “The best available player is the right plan for a team that comes after a season of six wins.”
The fever has been disappearing at the bottom of the WNBA basement for the past few years.
“Our challenge is to use these choices in the best possible way,” Dunn said. “So by the end of the draft, we’re significantly better, we’ve made improvements, and we’re moving forward.”
For the past two years, the draft has been held largely instead of in person. This year, the WNBA invited 12 prospects to New York: Howard, Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith, Ole Miss center Shakira Austin, Florida Gulf Coast guard Kierstan Bell, Tennessee guard Rae Burrell, Northwestern guard Veronica Burton, Michigan State guard Nia Clouden, NC State center Elissa Cunane, Louisville forward Emily Engstler, South Carolina guard Destanni Henderson, Michigan forward Naz Hillmon and Oregon forward Nyara Sabally.
According to Bleacher Report’s, the prospect will attend several events over the weekend, including a mini-tour of New York City. On Monday, they head to the Empire State Building to have a lighting ceremony to celebrate the WNBA draft.
There are 108 NCAA players who have entered their names in the 2022 WNBA draft pool, with 36 spots available. It does not even include the international players.
The holders’ battle knot will be intense, as about half of the drafted players do not even make the season list.
Mike Thibault, general manager and head coach of the Washington Mystics, said the number of players changed his team’s strategy.
“I think this draft class has more depth than last year did,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we felt we would be in the second round of Election No. 14. Whereas a year ago I questioned whether I would be in the draft at all.”
Limited places put teams in a challenging position as lists are limited to 12 players.
Fever has the most open positions with six, but four teams (Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Minnesota) have almost zero vacancies.
1. Atlanta Dream
2. Indiana Fever
3. Washington Mystics
4. Indiana Fever
5. New York Liberty
6. Indiana Fever
7. Dallas Wings
8. Minnesota Lynx
9. Los Angeles Sparks
10. Indiana Fever
11. Las Vegas Aces
12. Connecticut Sun.
13. Minnesota Lynx
14. Washington Mystic
15. Atlanta Dream
16. Los Angeles Sparks
17. Seattle Storm
18. Seattle Storm
19. Los Angeles Sparks
20. Indiana Fever
21. Seattle Storm
22. Minnesota Lynx
23. Las Vegas Aces
24. Connecticut Sun.
25. Indiana Fever
26. Phoenix Mercury
27. Los Angeles Sparks
28. Minnesota Lynx
29. New York Liberty
30. Dallas Wings
31. Dallas Wings
32. Phoenix Mercury
33. Seattle Storm
34. Indiana Fever
35. Las Vegas Aces
36. Connecticut Sun.
Shreya’s Laddha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on shre98 on Twitter.