Introducing the fourth and final 2019 WNBA Mock Draft here on BBall Index. The 2019 WNBA Draft will be held Wednesday in New York (7 PM ET, ESPN2/ESPNU).
The Las Vegas Aces are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick. Oregon star guard Sabrina Ionescu announced Saturday in the Players’ Tribune that she will return to school for her senior season with the Ducks. Jackie Young, however, announced Monday that she will forego her senior campaign with Notre Dame to enter the draft.
One last time, let’s rattle off all 36 picks. Again, each pick is made with team context in mind.
1. LAS VEGAS ACES: Jackie Young, Notre Dame
Only one of Sabrina Ionescu or Young needed to enter the draft early for this pick to become a much more valuable trade asset to Bill Laimbeer. Young would fit nicely next to Kayla McBride on the wing for the foreseeable future. If Young isn’t seen as the right fit, I like Asia Durr’s scoring ability or an attempt to trade down, take on another asset and select Alanna Smith to really clear the way for more of A’ja Wilson’s face up game in year two.
2. NEW YORK LIBERTY: Asia Durr, Louisville
Amid all the talk that this is a wide-open class, it’s amusing to see such a clean fit in the lottery. The Liberty need scoring. This isn’t a reach. Ionsecu is headed back to Eugene and Young is already off the board. Take a bite of the apple while you can and hope it’s enough to balance out the offense to help get Tina Charles back to the playoffs sooner rather than later.
3. INDIANA FEVER: Kalani Brown, Baylor
The rarity of Smith’s skill set can’t be overlooked, even this early, for a team that needs to keep the floor spread for Kelsey Mitchell. I don’t see a path for Teaira McCowan to become a pillar of Indiana’s offense. I can for Brown.
The rim runs she has put on film have been very overlooked. The midrange shooting sample is extremely small, but it’s something. Without seeing any significant margin between the two centers defensively, Brown’s more refined game as a play finisher needs to at least make this a serious conversation between the two for a team that dearly needs a big, physical presence around the rim.
4. CHICAGO SKY: Alanna Smith, Stanford
Take the rarity of a player that can help on both ends of the floor right away and is low-maintenance when it comes to an offensive role. Is Anigwe ready enough defensively to be a center in every matchup for a team that needs to make the playoffs? Run back the same questions for McCowan’s offensive fit as mentioned for Indiana, but stationing her at the front of the rim in a limited role may lead to more stops around the rim.
The clearest path for the Sky to get back to the playoffs rests more on becoming an elite offense. The personnel to get there is already in place. Smith will make each of them better.
5. DALLAS WINGS: Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame
We don’t know what Brian Agler is going to do with this frontcourt yet, though he takes over with two extremely talented players in Kayla Thornton and Azura Stevens. If they find another big (already rostered or elsewhere) to round out this five-player group, they’ll have plenty of length on the floor. Ogunbowale would be a devastating running mate in transition next to Skylar Diggins-Smith. The big question, of course, is if the Notre Dame star will be efficient enough to justify a large scoring role at the next level.
6. MINNESOTA LYNX: Napheesa Collier, UConn
Maybe it was the finality of Sunday’s national championship game bringing the college season to a close, but I’ve been worrying less and less about Collier holding up at her size as a four. Her standstill 3-pointer has a long way to go.
But the idea of pairing her with one of the best defensive centers in the game mitigates some of those size concerns. The Lynx will be hurting at the position if Rebekkah Brunson does not return. Perhaps Collier can pick right up where the five-time champ left off in making the 3-pointer a bigger part of her game.
7. LOS ANGELES SPARKS: Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn
This should be an easy choice at this point in the draft for the team that needs to win now already set with four capable bigs. Whether general manager Penny Toler finds a way to acquire Liz Cambage or not, Samuelson will fit right in opening up the floor. She’s a natural fit with Candace Parker, who will be able to reward her running off screens and cutting to create clean looks early in the clock for a team looking to up its pace in 2019.
8. PHOENIX MERCURY: Kristine Anigwe, Cal
This is tough. Bridget Carleton feels so right for how the Mercury are playing now—spreading the floor for Brittney Griner post-ups and Diana Taurasi pick and rolls. Carleton is a perfect fit to spot up, attack in transition and make plays from the second side.
But the addition of Essence Carson in free agency solidified a wing rotation that was already quite strong. They simply don’t need much from the perimeter. I like Carleton if they’ll willing to hold onto her as a piece for the future, but the pressing need for this team is up front behind Griner and Sancho Lyttle (coming off an ACL tear). Anigwe is an upgrade over what they have and would thrive offensively from day one as their backup five.
9. CONNECTICUT SUN: Bridget Carleton, Iowa State
Speaking of offensive systems Carleton would thrive in: Can Curt Miller make room for her on his roster, perhaps cutting ties with one of his reserves set to hit free agency in a year anyway? The Sun could really use one more presence from the periemter that can put some pressure on the rim and add value without the ball in their hands.
10. WASHINGTON MYSTICS: Kennedy Burke, UCLA
I’ve dug my heels in on this one. It’s tough not to pair Burke with the Mystics after seeing the success some of their players have had lately improving their 3-point strokes after spending an offseason at home. Burke just approaching Alysha Clark-level competency from beyond the arc is a very, very valuable player.
It’s easy to fall into the ‘Well if they improve their jump shot,’ trap. I think Burke’s worth it at this stage for a team that could use another versatile defender. She’ll help them get out in transition more, too, and has already learned to use her length to unlock some creative finishes in the paint.
11. ATLANTA DREAM: Sophie Cunningham, Missouri
The Dream need shooting. They can afford to station her in a corner and familiarize her with some of the same wrinkles that created some many clean looks for Renee Montgomery last season.
12. SEATTLE STORM: Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
I’ve said all along that the ‘Who needs a center?’ game is tough. Seattle is in a great position to give her a role right away against favorable matchups without having to ask too much against bigs that spend more time out at the 3-point line.
13. PHOENIX MERCURY (FROM INDIANA VIA LAS VEGAS): Maite Cazorla, Oregon
14. NEW YORK LIBERTY: Megan Gustafson, Iowa
15. CHICAGO SKY: Han Xu, China
16. MINNESOTA LYNX (FROM LAS VEGAS): Paris Kea, UNC
17. DALLAS WINGS: Megan Huff, Utah
18. MINNESOTA LYNX: Caliya Robinson, Georgia
19. LOS ANGELES SPARKS: Jessica Shepard, Notre Dame
20. MINNESOTA LYNX (FROM PHOENIX): Kiara Leslie, NC State
21. CONNECTICUT SUN (FROM CONNECTICUT VIA ATLANTA): Ezi Magbegor, Australia
22. DALLAS WINGS (FROM WASHINGTON): Brianna Turner, Notre Dame
23. ATLANTA DREAM: Zala Friskovec, Slovenia
24. SEATTLE STORM: Morgan Bertsch, UC Davis
25. INDIANA FEVER: Cierra Dillard, Buffalo
26. NEW YORK LIBERTY: Anriel Howard, Mississippi State
27. CHICAGO SKY: Tima Pouye, France
28. INDIANA FEVER (FROM LAS VEGAS): Marina Mabrey, Notre Dame
29. DALLAS WINGS: Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette
30. MINNESOTA LYNX: Meme Jackson, Tennessee
31. LOS ANGELES SPARKS: Chloe Jackson, Baylor
32. PHOENIX MERCURY: Presley Hudson, Central Michigan
33. CONNECTICUT SUN: Sam Fuehring, Louisville
34. WASHINGTON MYSTICS: Naomi Davenport, West Virginia
35. ATLANTA DREAM: Taylor Emery, Virginia Tech
36. SEATTLE STORM: Allazia Blockton, Marquette
Related: Don’t miss our 2019 WNBA Draft Guide—our most detailed big board yet ranking the top 36 prospects with strengths, concerns, stats, and highlights listed for each.