Welcome our first 2020 WNBA Mock Draft here on BBall Index. I enlisted the help of Rachel Galligan, Aneela Khan and Eric Nemchock as we teamed up to conduct a full mock draft with each person controlling four WNBA teams.
The 2020 WNBA Draft is slated to occur on April 17 as planned with coverage beginning at 7 PM ET on ESPN. Potential early entrants have until April 7 to decide if they will return to schools or declare for the draft. Doug Feinberg noted on Thursday that the NCAA will make its decision known as to whether seniors will be granted an extra year of eligibility ahead of that April 7 deadline.
We will update this mock draft in some form once that deadline passes. Oregon’s Satou Sabally and UConn’s Megan Walker have already declared. Both were included in our player pool. Also included: Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter, the lone additional potential early entrant. Why? The four of us agreed that she’s a clear-cut lottery pick right now. Others could certainly enter the fold, but we had to make an initial cutoff somewhere.
Teams were assigned so that each ‘GM’ would make the same number of picks. Balance was the goal, though Dallas holding four first rounders made that difficult to define in this case. Here’s where we landed.
- Rachel Galligan will pick for the Indiana Fever (3, 14, 28), Chicago Sky (8, 30, 32) and Los Angeles Sparks (20, 22, 34)
- Aneela Khan will pick for the Atlanta Dream (4, 17, 25, 27), Minnesota Lynx (6, 16) and Seattle Storm (11, 19, 31)
- Eric Nemchock will pick for the New York Liberty (1, 13, 26), Phoenix Mercury (10, 18, 29) and Washington Mystics (12, 24, 36)
- Ben Dull will pick for the Dallas Wings (2, 5, 7, 9, 15, 21), Las Vegas Aces (33) and Connecticut Sun (23, 35)
Opposing GMs left comments under each of the first 18 picks. (With our document rapidly approaching 10,000 words, we agreed to streamline the latter half.) Full draft results, updated post-mock depth charts and closing thoughts will follow. New York, you’re on the clock.
- Round 1 Pick 1, New York Liberty — Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon
EN: What better way to revitalize one of the WNBA’s most storied franchises than by drafting the best player in the country? This pick is a no-brainer.
AK: I’m excited to see how New York prepares for her arrival and how they are going to fit her in their offense because they still have some talented guards on their roster but on the other hand, sometimes for certain draft picks, you find a way. Ionescu certainly qualifies in this regard.
BD: You sure?
- Round 1 Pick 2, Dallas Wings — Satou Sabally, Oregon
BD: Two Ducks off the board.
I certainly understand the local angle with Lauren Cox, and we all know that Chennedy Carter is a lottery-level talent. Independent of roster context, I just think Sabally is the better player. She has the full offensive package. The shooter that arrived at Oregon has really upped her aggression on the glass and in getting to the line to become a more well-rounded threat.
Not to say Cox and Astou Ndour are exactly the same, but we just made that big financial commitment to a stretchy shot-blocking 4/5. And yes, having Arike Ogunbowale already in tow as a lead guard (along with Moriah Jefferson) makes it tougher to build a case for Carter. We’re thrilled to know we’re set at both forward spots with Sabally and Kayla Thornton—one a bonafide No. 2 scorer and the other a versatile defensive cog—for the foreseeable future.
AK: When she declared early, that provided Dallas with a lot more options than before. She can be one of the future faces for the franchise and she is just starting to realize her potential. She can also provide a much-needed boost for the Wings franchise as they lost talented veterans during WNBA Free Agency.
RG: This is a no-brainer for Dallas. Sabally in some ways could or should be the No. 1 pick with her ceiling, versatility and body frame.
Dallas would be crazy to not go for Satou.
EN: I think this is the right call, not just because of fit (the Wings already have a boatload of post players on the roster so Cox might not be as good of a pick) but because Sabally is an extremely talented scorer who is, in my opinion, just scratching the surface of what she can become. Her game will complement Ogunbowale’s and make them much more difficult to defend in just about every situation.
- Round 1 Pick 3, Indiana Fever — Lauren Cox, Baylor
RG: Cox got bumped down a spot when Sabally declared early for the draft, but it works out well for the Fever who already have a dominant rim protector established with Teaira McCowan. Cox has historically played exceptionally well in a high-low game and has the size and skill set that will work well at the next level. Cox brings a scoring threat to go along with the IQ and passing ability that goes hand-in-hand with a player like McCowan. (How could we forget Kalani Brown and Cox? Yikes)
EN: With the top two Ducks off the board, I think Cox becomes the best player available, which you’ve got to be considering when you’ve won a total of 28 games over the past three seasons. She’ll make a great frontcourt partner with Teaira McCowan and, as Rachel said, her IQ and skill set might be slept on just a bit. Give her a year to learn under Candice Dupree and you’ve then got a heck of a front line for years to come.
AK: Lauren Cox is a very multi-talented post player and the Indiana Fever can sure can use her in their offense. Her passing should also help the Fever’s lead guards and should make the Indiana Fever more formidable.
BD: Easy to say because I’m not making this pick, but this scenario with Ionescu and Sabally off the board is where I wonder if Indy worries too much about immediate fit. They need a 4 of the future. The size, ability to own the glass and high-low connection with Teaira McCowan is intriguing. So much of this comes down to what Marianne Stanley and Tamika Catchings really think about Kelsey Mitchell at this point. If they aren’t ready to commit to her as their lead guard, I think Chennedy Carter is the right pick.
- Round 1 Pick 4, Atlanta Dream — Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M
AK: The Atlanta Dream pick up a great dynamic guard who can help the Atlanta Dream immediately. She’s a future star in the WNBA and is just getting started. The Dream should be thrilled that Carter is available at the fourth pick.
EN: Ideal pick for Atlanta. They’ve addressed their 3-point shooting deficiency but still need a real playmaker off the dribble, and there’s no one in this class better at that than Carter. I don’t see a reason why she doesn’t go somewhere between picks 2 and 4 in this draft.
RG: I love the fit with Carter in Atlanta. This is a young, dynamic scoring option for a Dream team who struggled in the past. An opportunity to come in and make plays right away.
BD: This is everything they could have hoped for. The Dream were too good in 2018 to get better lottery odds. They hit the jackpot with multiple high-profile early entrants jumping in at once, turning the No. 4 pick into more of a top-two pick.
- Round 1 Pick 5, Dallas Wings — Bella Alarie, Princeton
BD: Cox or Carter somehow falling here sure would have been a nice break. Alarie was going to be a top target with one of our final three first rounders regardless. She’s the best bet in this range to become a viable stretch big at the next level. We certainly hope that can become a big part of her game for us. She’ll also need to get stronger. But there’s still so much to like with her skill level. Alarie has demonstrated an ability to grab and go, make decisions with the ball up top and put it on the floor to attack the basket.
EN: Alarie is one player who I’m still not sure what to think of. She certainly brings that versatility to Dallas as a stretch four and she’ll be seeing a lot less attention from defenses than she did in college, especially with Arike Ogunbowale on the floor. I also like her fit next to Sabally. But how many minutes will she get in the Wings’ already crowded frontcourt?
AK: This is an interesting pick for the Dallas Wings as Bella Alarie is a pretty talented player and her game is similar to that of Washington Mystics MVP Elena Delle Donne but I too, have doubts on whether or not her game can translate to the next level. Regardless, the Wings pick up another good player in their very heavy first round draft.
- Round 1 Pick 6, Minnesota Lynx — Tyasha Harris, South Carolina
AK: The Minnesota Lynx need a point guard and who better than South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris? She helped guide the South Carolina Gamecocks into a remarkable season and is a true point guard who can help give the ball to reigning ROY Napheesa Collier and All-Star Sylvia Fowles. Her first instinct is to pass the ball rather than score and that fits what the Minnesota Lynx want from that position.
RG: I love the idea of Ty Harris in Minnesota, this might be my favorite match in terms of need and coachability in the league. This is perfect. Ty Harris has continued to expand her game, her shooting ability and versatility every year under Dawn Staley. She was primed and ready for a deep Final Four run before the season was cut short. She has a tremendous IQ and is ready for a long and successful WNBA career under one of the top coaches.
EN: The Lynx need a PG here, there’s no doubt about that. So is it Harris or Crystal Dangerfield? I think Harris is the “safer” pick because she’s not going to be a liability on defense and doesn’t have the health concerns that Dangerfield does. At the same time, though, I’m not sold on her ceiling, particularly as a scorer. Can she bring that kind of impact and be more than just a game manager?
BD: I’m sure we’re all wondering if Minny would land a point guard here. I was dead-set on getting Alarie and Beatrice Mompremier at 5 and 7 when we started this thing. After immediately worrying that the other wouldn’t be available at No. 7, this selection gets our stamp of approval.
- Round 1 Pick 7, Dallas Wings — Beatrice Mompremier, Miami
BD: Love the potential we’re getting in this range. Mompremier has really impressed on the glass on both ends in her time at Miami. The ability she’s already shown to face up and attack or catch on the move is very promising. This franchise is in a position to be patient with the development of our young players. Mompremier is definitely worth one of our 12 spots even with the number of players we already have under contract.
EN: Mompremier strikes me as a high-ceiling, high-motor player who, as Ben alluded to, will need to be brought along slowly. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially on a rebuilding team. This will pay dividends for Dallas if she can get her skills up to par in the coming years.
AK: I like this pick for the Dallas Wings. Beatrice Mompremier was playing well for Miami before she got injured and definitely fits what the Wings want to do. She’s also a terrific post defender and can come off the bench as post players usually take a bit longer to develop in the WNBA.
RG: Dallas picks up a ton of potential with Mompremier. Prior to her injury, she was a highly talked about prospect expected to go early in the WNBA Draft. She brings and athleticism, versatility and skill that is highly unique to this year’s draft especially. This is a great piece and asset for a young and building Wings franchise.
- Round 1 Pick 8, Chicago Sky — Crystal Dangerfield, UConn
RG: At the end of the day, at this stage of a draft, with a team that doesn’t necessarily have a glaring desperate need, you talk about the best complete player available. With Chicago adding Colson to the roster in FA, you get the sense that the PG spot is a concern as backup and also in preparing for the future. Dangerfield’s stock rose consistently in her senior year. Time after time she proved her willingness and desire to have the ball in her hands in crucial moments. Dangerfield is a competitor and is one of the toughest players in the draft. I find it hard to believe any team wouldn’t want a player like that on their roster, not to mention her ability to score, take care of the ball and facilitate.
AK: This is definitely interesting for Chicago. She may get limited run as Courtney Vandersloot and Sydney Colson are ahead of her in the depth chart. This promises to be a pick for the Sky’s future as she develops and learns the WNBA game.
EN: This is obviously a future-leaning pick for the Sky, but I can understand why they would make it. Chicago isn’t in a position where they really “need” anything, and they could do worse than drafting a long-term backup for Courtney Vandersloot.
BD: Hate that she couldn’t fall to No. 9. Dangerfield is one of the best shooters in the class. Being around Vandersloot every day should help Dangerfield sharpen the rest of her tools as she eases into a role at the next level.
- Round 1 Pick 9, Dallas Wings — Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
BD: Best available? Landing a point guard at No. 5, 7 or 9 would have really balanced things out and made it really easy to keep all four of these first rounders. (Aari McDonald, come on down!) Now we have to ask if drafting three rookie bigs is too much. Astou Ndour is a clear lock with this group moving forward. That brings the big count to four. Our plans for Kayla Thornton and Satou Sabally also factor in here. How much time will they spend at the 4? That answer probably has to be ‘some’. Maybe both will play on the wing together if Moriah Jefferson or Arike Ogunbowale miss time.
We’ll have some tough decisions to make with our final frontcourt spots. But why not include four years of Hebard on a rookie deal in those plans? We’re going to lean on Ogunbowale, Jefferson and maybe even Sabally a ton in pick and roll. We can put a really good finisher with great touch that can get short runners, hooks, etc. off quickly in tight spaces in a position to succeed.
EN: Best player available indeed. Hebard is, to me, the ultimate “complementary” post player in this class. She knows how to play alongside great guards and how to finish in the paint, and what more does Dallas need at this point? An argument could be made for Te’a Cooper at this pick, but I probably would have gone with Hebard anyway as well.
RG: It almost sounds criminal to think of Hebard going at 9, but this year’s draft is a crapshoot beyond the first four to five picks. Hebard is a workhorse who has a proven ability to score the ball, play alongside a highly skilled backcourt and complements other interior players. Honestly, Hebard has the potential to be one of the biggest names to come out of this 2020 draft in years to come. At this point of the game, you have to go with the best player available.
AK: It’s stunning to see Ruthy Hebard fall this far in the draft considering she had a spectacular senior season at Oregon and often was the recipient of Sabrina Ionescu’s many passes but in the draft, that can change with team needs as well as fits. In Dallas, she will get a shot to prove herself and is definitely the best pick available at this point in the draft.
- Round 1 Pick 10, Phoenix Mercury — Megan Walker, UConn
EN: I’m disappointed that Dallas stole Hebard at No. 9, but I’m happy that Walker was still on the board. Phoenix is looking awfully weak at small forward, and Walker will fill that position nicely. She’s a great 3-point shooter to space the floor for Griner post-ups and Diggins-Smith drives, and will be able to slide over to shooting guard if necessary. The fit also remains logical in a post-Taurasi world, which the Mercury need to start preparing for.
RG: I agree a bit that the loss on Bonner makes the 3/4 position a tad bit weak. We’ve talked about the future of this Mercury franchise for a couple of years now and what does it look like building around the next generation of players? Walker fills a question mark in the Phoenix roster and just provides added options and continued development.
AK: Megan Walker is an interesting pick for the Phoenix Mercury who have had quite the remarkable offseason and are in win-now mode especially with Diana Taurasi who is in the back end of her career. Megan Walker is a future pick for the Mercury as she still needs to work on her game although her potential cannot be denied. I think this pick could turn out to be great for the Phoenix Mercury 2-3 years from now.
BD: Walker’s decision to declare was quite surprising. Phoenix can set her up for a ton of 3-pointers. But the Mercury already have Sophie Cunningham as a catch-and-shoot threat on the wing. So, what else is Walker ready to do at the highest level? And is the WNBA a better place for her to develop than UConn these next 12 months? Those questions, to me, explain this ‘fall’ to No. 10.
- Round 1 Pick 11, Seattle Storm — Kiah Gillespie, Florida State
AK: Kiah Gillespie had a great senior year with Florida State as she led the team in scoring and rebounding this past season. She was also one of the best players overall in the nation. The Seattle Storm could use her off the bench and she can provide a spark off the bench alongside Mercedes Russell or Morgan Tuck. She is also one of the best players available this late in the first round.
EN: Gillespie is an interesting one. She’s a great shooter when her feet are set and she’s a better passer than a lot of people give her credit for. She doesn’t have great athleticism, though, and I don’t see her turning into a plus defensive player. If she’s used as more of a stretch big then I like this pick, but will she ever be able to expand past that role?
BD: This is a tough call at this moment in late March. Ezi Magbegor still hasn’t made her plans for 2020 clear, at least in the public sphere. Seattle is already six-deep on the perimeter. At best, we’re probably looking at direct competition with Crystal Langhorne or a seventh perimeter player.
- Round 1 Pick 12, Washington Mystics — Joyner Holmes, Texas
EN: Now we’re getting into best player available range, and if I’m the Mystics, I need to think about ceiling as well. Holmes has always had the physical tools to succeed and I think playing for a coach like Mike Thibault can bring the best out of her. Worst-case scenario, she adds a blue-collar mentality and some extra beef to the Mystics frontcourt. Best-case scenario, she becomes a valuable part of a rotation that can benefit from her passing ability and versatility on defense.
AK: Joyner Holmes to Washington is different but I do agree that she is the best player available in this last pick of the first round. Washington does not need much as they look to defend their 2019 WNBA title but Joyner Holmes can help the Mystics off the bench as she has the ability to become great, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
BD: This is a fun landing spot for Holmes. Carrying six bigs isn’t quite as much of a constraint for this group. Holmes can be an electric grab-and-go player. Her finishing and spot-up jumper need some work. But maybe that’s where Washington’s staff comes in—several players have made serious strides for them after ‘staying home’ to train in D.C. during the offseason.
- Round 2 Pick 1, New York Liberty — Te’a Cooper, Baylor
EN: With all the big-name post players off the board, I’m once again going best player available for the Liberty. They’re going to be absolutely loaded with guards, and they might be looking to make a trade before the season starts, but I don’t think Cooper is a player you can afford to pass on here. New York was probably going to be running a lot of 3-guard lineups anyway, and her ability to attack off the dribble will make them even more difficult to defend in transition.
RG: New York appears to be building around young players and Cooper EASILY could be a first-round pick in terms of potential and skill here. This roster is wide open in terms of competition and roster spots up for grabs. Cooper has as solid of a chance as many others to grab a roster spot and make the next level her own. This is a steal in the second round for NY.
AK: Te’a Cooper to New York is definitely interesting. Because of the early entrants, Cooper who was a first-round pick falls to the second round. New York is in a rebuild mode, so Te’a Cooper will be given the chance to prove herself in camp and may even earn a roster spot.
BD: A similar fate for another Baylor grad transfer point guard. Teams in this range should be eager to find out just how real her 41.5 percent shooting on 4.5 3-pointers per game was this season.
- Round 2 Pick 2, Indiana Fever — Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, South Carolina
RG: Listen, Herbert Harrigan simply has proven as one of the top forwards in the country the last couple of seasons. She has the capability to compliment, she can make plays, she scores the ball, defends, rebounds and would be a great filler for the Fever at the forward spot as we continue to talk about the departure of Candice Dupree. I love her ability to stretch the floor as a threat beyond the arc, she has the length and athleticism to thrive in the WNBA and this is a great option in a thinner position for the Fever.
AK: Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had a fantastic senior season for the South Carolina Gamecocks. This pick actually fits the Indiana Fever well. She can defend, rebound and she also fit what Indiana Fever’s GM Tamika Catchings looks for among forwards. She will be given the opportunity to prove herself in camp and will probably have to fight for one of those last coveted roster spots.
EN: I like this pick. There aren’t many players who raised their stock this season more than Herbert Harrigan, at least in terms of taking the next step towards “go-to” player status. Any minutes she plays alongside Teaira McCowan will make her look even better.
BD: Loading up on 4s! Dupree would be a good mentor. High-low passes will fall from the sky for anyone that plays with Teaira McCowan. Shooting can be so tough to come by at this position. At least giving her a shot in camp is a good call for the Fever here.
- Round 2 Pick 3, Dallas Wings — Tynice Martin, West Virginia
BD: A reserve point guard is probably the biggest current need if you pencil our four picks thus far in on the opening night roster along with Moriah Jefferson, Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Kayla Thronton and Astou Ndour. We didn’t land one in the first but can explore that option with our final pick. Let’s see how Martin’s athleticism and shot creation would stack up in what’s sure to be an intense competition with the 2s and 3s we’ll have in camp.
AK: This is an interesting pick for the Dallas Wings. Tynice Martin has been on the WNBA draft radar for many teams in the first round but soon fell off as more players increased their stock during the regular season. She will have to prove herself among Dallas’s first-round picks to impress the Dallas Wings coaching staff.
EN: I’ve been on the fence about Martin all season. She has the physical tools and scoring ability – that much has been obvious for years now – but I haven’t seen much growth in other areas of her game. If you’re drafting for potential, though, you could do worse; she’ll be able to come in as a sixth woman, microwave-type player right away.
- Round 2 Pick 4, Minnesota Lynx — Kaila Charles, Maryland
AK: Kaila Charles fell to the second round despite her great senior season at Maryland but as a second-round pick, she is now the best available player at this point in the draft. Her size is somewhat of a concern, but she makes up for it with her ability to rack up rebounds and steals — something the Lynx have wanted from their guards. She is a very talented player but will have it tough competing against the Lynx’s other guards in training camp.
EN: This is an interesting one to me. I was high on Charles heading into her senior season, but I’ve been disappointed with her continued lack of a 3-point shot. That can always be developed along the way, though, and her volume stats took a hit as Maryland overhauled their style of play, so perhaps she’s become a bit underrated. She’s a terrific athlete and blossoms in transition, that’s for sure.
BD: Charles just needs to prove she can make shots. Brace yourselves for lots of Napheesa Collier vision boarding with tweener forward prospects these next few years. Collier actually helping a team win as a 3 or a 4 will get overlooked. Only a select few of the current top 144 can actually do it. I see Charles just as a 3. She needs to prove it as a catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter.
- Round 2 Pick 5, Atlanta Dream — Japreece Dean, UCLA
AK: The Atlanta Dream is going with the best player available. Japreece Dean had a solid year for UCLA during her senior season and the Dream have nothing to lose in terms of giving her a shot in training camp. Japreece Dean would have a solid shot of sneaking into the first round draft had UCLA gone far in the NCAA tournament but unfortunately, it was not meant to be. She’s quick and was the lead point guard for UCLA who had a terrific season.
EN: Dean has been a fun player for UCLA but I have concerns about her potential at the next level. She’s pretty small and shot a very poor percentage from the field this season. Atlanta would likely be asking her to be more of a playmaker for others, rather than for herself.
BD: Dean would likely need to beat out former Pac-12 foe Maite Cazorla. The size difference between the two isn’t insignificant. Tough to find a fit here. Atlanta already has two stars that are going to handle the ball a lot. Cazorla’s skill set fits better as a complementary role player.
- Round 2 Pick 6, Phoenix Mercury — Leaonna Odom, Duke
EN: I’m going with potential here. Odom wasn’t featured as prominently as she should have been at Duke, but she’s a very versatile player who can do a bit of everything: score, handle, and defend. She just moves so fluidly on the court and I have a feeling she has a lot of room to continue growing. Phoenix’s frontcourt is looking a tad crowded now but Odom isn’t a player I feel comfortable letting slide past me.
AK: Leaonna Odom is intriguing. She has the tools to be a future good WNBA player once she develops her game overseas. This is a future pick for Phoenix in which they can give Leaonna Odom a shot in training camp to see what she already has. Making the Phoenix roster will be tricky for two to three years, but once she improves her game, she can snag a roster spot.
BD: Odom will need to find a good match if she elects to go overseas. This isn’t just about her 3-point shot (21 attempts in 125 college games). She spent so much of her time operating inside the arc. WNBA teams don’t need very much of that stuff from their backup wings, and the bar is extremely high for the ones that get to do it. Nia Coffey’s presence on their roster has to hurt her odds. Phoenix already has a better ‘Let’s see if she can make enough shots’ option.
- Round 2 Pick 7, Seattle Storm — Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State
AK: Taking the best available player here. Mikayla Pivec is a solid player and has had a tremendous career at Oregon State. She helped bring Oregon State to prominence and what better way to start her WNBA career than being selected by a local team, the Seattle Storm? Pivec’s strengths are her ability to pass and rebound for her size plus she is one of the players who is unselfish in terms of sharing the ball. The Storm can bring her and give her a tryout and she can learn from team leader Sue Bird in terms of being a point guard at the WNBA level.
- Round 2 Pick 8, Los Angeles Sparks — Haley Gorecki, Duke
RG: Haley Gorecki is a six-foot guard that certainly showed out her senior year at Duke. I like this pick for LA to help aid their backcourt rotations. Even if it will be highly unlikely to make an LA roster spot this late in the game, Gorecki holds a TON of potential headed into her pro career and ability to play any guard position. She might bounce around at first, but I really feel like she’ll find a spot. A true scorer, rebounder, distributor, exceptional free throw shooter and threat beyond the arc- don’t be surprised if she goes earlier in the draft as well.
- Round 2 Pick 9, Dallas Wings — Chanelle Molina, Washington State
BD: As mentioned earlier, it’s time to go get another guard that could possibly compete in training camp with us. Molina has been extremely productive in each of the past two seasons at Washington State alongside co-star Borislava Hristova. Molina’s well-rounded game is worth a closer look this late in the game.
- Round 2 Pick 10, Los Angeles Sparks — Kathleen Doyle, Iowa
RG: Kathleen Doyle played her way up as one of the top point guards in the country and strong likelihood she goes earlier in the draft. Doyle brings a solid option and competition for the PG spot in training camp, she’s tough, knows how to distribute and score the ball. Her numbers have improved steadily every year, especially in her senior campaign. She is as solid and well-rounded point guard as any in this draft. A steal for LA this late in the game.
- Round 2 Pick 11, Connecticut Sun — Kitija Laksa, USF/TTT Riga
BD: Love this fit. We already have three good, versatile defenders on the perimeter in our starting lineup and bring Bria Holmes—who can guard 1 through 4—off the bench. Plug-and-play shooting can help us immediately. Ionsecu and Dangerfield might be the only other guards in this class likely to shoot in the high-30s at the next level as high-volume 3-point shooters.
- Round 2 Pick 12, Washington Mystics — Jocelyn Willoughby, Virginia
EN: Big guard! I love the physical tools Willoughby brings to the table, particularly her ability to draw contact and get to the free throw line. The Mystics’ wing rotation might be difficult to crack with Kiara Leslie coming back from injury, but I like Willoughby as a strong training camp addition, at the very least.
- Round 3 Pick 1, Atlanta Dream — Nicki Ekhomu, Florida State
AK: To start the third round, the Dream are taking the best player available. And that is Nicki Ekhomu from Florida State. She had a fantastic senior season at Florida State and was named to the All-ACC First Team. Her size is a bit of concern. But in the third round, this is a draft-day steal.
- Round 3 Pick 2, New York Liberty — Brittany Brewer, Texas Tech
EN: Depending on how things shake out in New York’s frontcourt, this could be the rare third-round pick that makes a WNBA team. Brewer had an outstanding season, displaying a soft touch at the rim and elite shot-blocking ability. And, perhaps most importantly: she rose to the challenge in two games against Baylor, something most players are not able to do.
- Round 3 Pick 3, Atlanta Dream — Ciara Duffy, South Dakota
AK: Another draft day steal. Ciara Duffy had been on an absolute tear in her senior season and helped lead South Dakota to unprecedented heights. Had the NCAA tournament not been canceled, she would have absolutely elevated her stock. She has the size and shooting ability, it will just be a matter of her defense. But, the Dream can bring her and see if she can compete in a tough training camp.
- Round 3 Pick 4, Indiana Fever — Chante Stonewall, DePaul
RG: Definitely would be a good fit for a lot of rosters and a high chance she goes before the third round. Stonewall has some serious length and plays well beyond her six-one frame. Is a scoring threat at all three levels and can stretch the floor beyond the arc. Nice rebounder and could potentially add added competition and depth at the 4 spot which will soon need to be revamped.
- Round 3 Pick 5, Phoenix Mercury — Jazmine Jones, Louisville
EN: I’m happy with the type of player the Mercury are getting here: a tall guard who can score efficiently and has experience running an elite team while deferring to stars. She’s come into her own as a scorer this season, and though she won’t be asked to do much of that in Phoenix, I like how she complements the Mercury’s main pieces.
- Round 3 Pick 6, Chicago Sky — Alexa Willard, Missouri State
RG: Willard is a very, very talented player and a sleeper in this draft. The six-foot-two guard has the length and skill for the league. She would fit in well in the Sky’s system and honestly has a real chance at making a roster. Can score it, defend, rebound the ball and given a few years she has the potential for a nice pro career.
- Round 3 Pick 7, Seattle Storm — Peyton Williams, Kansas State
AK: Peyton Williams is one of the best players still available in the third round. She would have been a higher pick had Kansas State had a great season but she still has a ton of potential. The Storm can do no wrong by bringing her to training camp to see what she can do.
- Round 3 Pick 8, Chicago Sky — Kylee Shook, Louisville
RG: Kylee Shook is a nice pick-and-pop post player who has shown vast improvement during her time at Louisville. She has yet to hit her ceiling and at 6’4″, she’s a serious defensive presence at the rim. She was named the 2019-2020 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and finished her career as Louisville’s all-time leader in blocked shots.
- Round 3 Pick 9, Las Vegas Aces — Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton
BD: Great time to invest in a really good shooter that can grow with our core for a few years. Our top players will be due for raises as they hit free agency. We’re set with ball-handlers and bigger bodies that can defend 3s. Agnew fits right in between those two camps.
- Round 3 Pick 10, Los Angeles Sparks — Stella Johnson, Rider
RG: Talk about a flat out scorer. The 5’10 guard led the nation in scoring her senior year at 24.8 points per game. Plays with a tremendous motor and ability to make plays with and without the ball in her hands. Athletic wing who can really rebound and provides added depth at the guard spot.
- Round 3 Pick 11, Connecticut Sun — Dee Givens, Western Kentucky
BD: Let’s add another 3-point shooter to the mix. Givens fits the latter portion of the 3-and-D archetype much better than Laksa. The small difference in pay between a second- and third-round pick really matters for us, too, if we try to carry 12 players. One concern: Givens shot 40.2 percent on 5.7 3-point attempts in 2018-19 and 29.9 on 7.0 attempts this season. Was this season a total outlier? Can she ultimately land somewhere in between?
- Round 3 Pick 12, Washington Mystics — Erica Ogwumike, Rice
EN: There’s no way Ogwumike doesn’t at least get drafted, right? The odds aren’t entirely in her favor for making a WNBA team, but if Los Angeles isn’t going to use one of their later-round picks to temporarily reunite her with her sisters, I have no problem drafting her to Washington. Beyond the obvious feel-good story, the Mystics have had success with mid-major players in the past, and maybe Ogwumike can surprise some folks in training camp.
|Pick||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
|1||Sabrina Ionescu (NY)||Te’a Cooper (NY)||Nicki Ekhomu (ATL)|
|2||Satou Sabally (DAL)||Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (IND)||Brittany Brewer (NY)|
|3||Lauren Cox (IND)||Tynice Martin (DAL)||Ciara Duffy (ATL)|
|4||Chennedy Carter (ATL)||Kaila Charles (MIN)||Chante Stonewall (IND)|
|5||Bella Alarie (DAL)||Japreece Dean (ATL)||Jazmine Jones (PHX)|
|6||Tyasha Harris (MIN)||Leaonna Odom (PHX)||Alexa Willard (CHI)|
|7||Beatrice Mompremier (DAL)||Mikayla Pivec (SEA)||Peyton Williams (SEA)|
|8||Crystal Dangerfield (CHI)||Haley Gorecki (LA)||Kylee Shook (CHI)|
|9||Ruthy Hebard (DAL)||Chanelle Molina (DAL)||Jaylyn Agnew (LV)|
|10||Megan Walker (PHX)||Kathleen Doyle (LA)||Stella Johnson (LA)|
|11||Kiah Gillespie (SEA)||Kitija Laksa (CON)||Dee Givens (CON)|
|12||Joyner Holmes (WAS)||Jocelyn Willoughby (WAS)||Erica Ogwumike (WAS)|
New depth charts, closing thoughts from the ‘GMs’
Note: Names of draftees have been bolded. Players on training camp contracts were not included.
|Tiffany Hayes||Courtney Williams||Shekinna Stricklen||Glory Johnson||Elizabeth Williams|
|Renee Montgomery||Chennedy Carter||Ciara Duffy||Monique Billings||Kalani Brown|
AK: The Dream should feel good about this draft. They pick up a star and future franchise type of player in Chennedy Carter which is a great pick for them. In the second round, Japreece Dean is a nice player who can compete in training camp for a tryout. In the third round, both Nicki Ekhomu and Ciara Duffy are great players but they should be in for a tough training camp as roster spots are very limited. With the exception of Carter who should make the final team, the other three players (Dean, Ekhomu and Duffy) have a tougher time beating out Alexis Jones, Blake Dietrick, Elina Babkina for the final roster spots.
|Courtney Vandersloot||Allie Quigley||Diamond DeShields||Jantel Lavender||Stefanie Dolson|
|Sydney Colson||Kahleah Copper||Gabby Williams||Azura Stevens||Cheyenne Parker|
|Crystal Dangerfield||Alexa Willard||Kylee Shook|
RG: I think you get better with the addition of Crystal Dangerfield. The Sky PG spot has appeared a bit thin off the bench as you look to build for the future. Dangerfield gets an opportunity to come in and learn from Vandersloot and I love the duo together. Alexa Willard is a sleeper in this draft flying under the radar a bit. She has all the tools to succeed as a pro and compete for a spot. The Sky have an extremely talented foundation and this draft helps potentially patch a couple of questionable holes moving forward.
|Jasmine Thomas||Briann January||DeWanna Bonner||Alyssa Thomas||Jonquel Jones|
|Natisha Hiedeman||Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis||Bria Holmes||Theresa Plaisance|
|Kitija Laksa||Dee Givens||Brionna Jones|
BD: Adding two capable shooters without a first rounder was a great outcome for us. At minimum, we’ve added some competition for the newly acquired Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in training camp. We’d love for at least one of the two rookies will earn a spot and use the upcoming season to learn, eventually stepping into an important role as a plug-and-play shooter.
|Moriah Jefferson||Arike Ogunbowale||Satou Sabally||Kayla Thornton||Astou Ndour|
|Marina Mabrey||Allisha Gray||Katie Lou Samuelson||Bella Alarie||Beatrice Mompremier|
|Tayler Hill||Tynice Martin||Kaela Davis||Isabelle Harrison||Ruthy Hebard|
|Chanelle Molina||Megan Gustafson||Kristine Anigwe|
BD: Sabally will be a really good player for a long time. Teams sometimes wait five-plus years just to get the chance to draft a player of that caliber. We landed two of our top targets at the middle of the first in Alarie and Mompremier—players that can bolster out frontcourt for years to come.
We still have plenty of time to field trade offers before making some tough decisions in whittling down our roster. Hebard over Megan Walker was probably a mistake. We’re facing tough decisions on the wing, too, but this mock established a reality in which we may have to cut (or move off of in some form) another high-profile college big. That doesn’t seem ideal.
Even attempting to spitball some trades with those first four picks is difficult. The natural inclination might be trying to get something for No. 9, but why wouldn’t another team hold out for No. 5 or No. 7 instead? (I really liked the value we were getting at those two spots!) I think we have eight teams really sold on trying to win right now. Off-loading a player we would really want for a mid-first rounder just doesn’t feel like a match.
|Erica Wheeler||Kelsey Mitchell||Victoria Vivians||Lauren Cox||Teaira McCowan|
|Julie Allemand||Tiffany Mitchell||Betnijah Laney||Candice Dupree||Natalie Achonwa|
|Paris Kea||Kennedy Burke
|Mikiah Herbert Harrigan
RG: What the Fever should do with this pick is debatable, but the addition of Cox is huge for the franchise and it’s future as they continue to build. The same goes with Mikiah Herbert Harrigan in the second round. You’ve got two highly regarded forwards here able to come in and compete right away as you build around McCowan. The Fever get better in this draft and gain some solid pieces entering this new era.
|Kelsey Plum||Kayla McBride||Angel McCoughtry||A’ja Wilson||Liz Cambage (RFA)|
|Danielle Robinson||Sugar Rodgers||Jackie Young||Dearica Hamby||JiSu Park|
|Lindsay Allen||Jaylyn Agnew|
BD: Foiled! We tried sneaking a small clause into the new collective bargaining agreement that would give us the No. 1 overall pick every year.
We were surprised Agnew was available at the end of the third. The battle for our final spot(s) will be extremely competitive. Vegas is a good landing spot for her. McBride and Rodgers would be excellent mentors for a young 2-guard.
|Chelsea Gray||Kristi Toliver||Brittney Sykes||Candace Parker||Nneka Ogwumike|
|Sydney Wiese||Riquna Williams||Tierra Ruffin-Pratt||Chiney Ogwumike||Maria Vadeeva|
|Stella Johnson||Haley Gorecki
|Seimone Augustus||Marie Gulich|
RG: Listen, it is going to be very difficult to make the Sparks roster this season. The roster is loaded, obviously. Haley Gorecki’s draft stock rose as much as anyone’s this season as the guard put many on notice. Stella Johnson can flat out score. You add two scorers here from all three levels. These two can come into training camp and make some noise, but more than likely will end up elsewhere.
|Odyssey Sims||Cecilia Zandalasini||Napheesa Collier||Damiris Dantas||Sylvia Fowles|
|Lexie Brown||Rachel Banham||Karima Christmas-Kelly||Jessica Shepard||Temi Fagbenle (RP)|
|Tyasha Harris||Stephanie Talbot||Shenise Johnson|
AK: Minnesota only had two draft picks in this draft but both are solid players and the Lynx did the best they could considering the fact that Lynx star Seimone Augustus and the Lynx did not leave on the best of terms when Augustus signed with the Sparks and current Lynx franchise player Maya Moore on hiatus. They picked up a solid point guard in Tyasha Harris who can be their point guard off the bench but she will have to prove herself in camp against Rachel Banham and Lexie Brown to earn a roster spot. As for Kaila Charles who was picked in the second round, she has it much tougher in camp and will have to beat out Stephanie Talbot or Linnae Harper for a roster spot.
|Sabrina Ionescu||Asia Durr||Kia Nurse||Tina Charles (Core)||Amanda Zahui B|
|Marine Johannes||Rebecca Allen||Kiah Stokes
|Te’a Cooper||Brittany Brewer|
EN: The first pick is easy, but after that, the Liberty are extremely envious of Dallas and its number of assets. It’s tough being a rebuilding team but having a “normal” (that is, not affected by prior trades) draft order; the No. 13 pick is nice, but a lot of faith must then be put into in-house options showing big-time improvement.
That being said, New York shouldn’t be afraid to hold an earnest competition in training camp, especially in its frontcourt. The Liberty aren’t in a position to gift roster spots to players like Reshanda Gray and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe. I wasn’t comfortable with any of the frontcourt options available at No. 13, unfortunately, so hopefully Walt Hopkins is comfortable running small-ball lineups out there.
|Skylar Diggins-Smith||Diana Taurasi||Nia Coffey||Jessica Breland||Brittney Griner|
|Bria Hartley||Sophie Cunningham||Megan Walker||Alanna Smith||Kia Vaughn|
|Yvonne Turner (injured – RP?)||Jazmine Jones||Leaonna Odom||Brianna Turner|
EN: For the Mercury, I had one thing in mind: who best complements their core? Drafting for fit usually isn’t a good idea to me, but there are only so many roster spots available, and if my first-round pick is more or less guaranteed one of them, I’d like it to be someone who can contribute. Megan Walker is a nice piece to this Mercury puzzle.
After that, it gets really difficult for anyone to make this team because of how much they already have invested in veteran players. The Mercury are clearly in win-now mode and don’t have much longer to be messing around before Diana Taurasi calls it a career. I couldn’t let Leaonna Odom slip by me at No. 18, though – she’s just too talented.
|Sue Bird||Jewell Loyd||Alysha Clark||Breanna Stewart||Natasha Howard|
|Jordin Canada||Epiphanny Prince||Sami Whitcomb||Morgan Tuck||Mercedes Russell|
|Mikayla Pivec||Crystal Langhorne
AK: Seattle did not have any high draft picks in this year’s draft and that is fine with them, considering the majority of their roster is set already. The Storm are a capable championship contender this season with Breanna Stewart returning from injury and so their draft picks will have a hard time beating out veterans for roster spots. Kiah Gillespie who was picked in the first round may sneak onto the roster as the 12th player but that seems very unlikely.
Mikayla Pivec, who was picked in the second round, will need to have an outstanding camp for the Storm for her to have a slim shot at making the roster behind Sue Bird and Jordin Canada. The third-round pick in Peyton Williams, unfortunately, will only be there for a training camp tryout.
|Leilani Mitchell||Natasha Cloud||Ariel Atkins||Elena Delle Donne||LaToya Sanders|
|Shatori Walker-Kimbrough||Kiara Leslie||Aerial Powers||Tianna Hawkins||Emma Meesseman|
|Erica Ogwumike||Jocelyn Willoughby||Joyner Holmes||Myisha Hines-Allen|
EN: The Mystics didn’t have a very exciting draft, did they? It’s too bad there were no Kristi Tolivers in this class…
Washington is still in a great position to compete despite that hit in free agency, and with most of the roster still locked down by players who are really, really good at their individual roles, I decided to roll the dice on a high-ceiling frontcourt player who can (hopefully) defend within a system. I’m very happy with Joyner Holmes, and I think the Mystics coaching staff and culture can do her some good. Beyond her, there’s not much going on here; Willoughby and Ogwumike might play their way onto WNBA rosters somewhere down the line, but it probably won’t be on this one.
Graphic by Akshay Ram.