Fans WNBA

2018 WNBA Draft

This year Women’s Final Four gave women’s college basketball fans all that it could handle.   Both semifinal games went into overtime for the first time in tournament history.  The championship game was decided on buzzer beater by Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale to lead Notre Dame to its first national championship in 4 years.

Women’s college basketball has given us great dynamic players to watch over the last 4 years.

Tonight, we get to see those dynamic players take the next steps in their basketball careers.

The 2018 WNBA draft airs on ESPN 2 at 7pm in New York City. The second and third rounds will air on ESPNU.   Here is look at how the first round of the draft might unfold?

  1. Las Vegas Aces: A’ja Wilson, 6-foot-5, PF, South Carolina

Coach/general manager Bill Laimbeer liked all of Wilson’s scoring (22.6 PPG) and rebounding (11.8 RPG) skills for the Gamecocks this season, but also how she passed, ran the floor and helped her teammates. She should be an instant-impact player for a team that scored the fewest points (74.4 PPG) in the WNBA last season.

  1. Indiana Fever: Kelsey Mitchell, 5-foot-8, SG, Ohio State

This seemed like a rock-solid choice before Azurá Stevens declared for the draft last week. But if coach/GM Pokey Chatman sticks with the scoring phenom — Mitchell scored 3,402 points in her Buckeyes career — that could be a boost for a Fever offense that was second-worst in the WNBA last year at 75.1 PPG. Mitchell also should become a better defender at the pro level.

  1. Chicago Sky: Diamond DeShields, 6-foot-1, SG, Turkey/Tennessee

Her college career wasn’t all she hoped for, although she played in the Elite Eight twice, with North Carolina and then with Tennessee. DeShields spent this past winter playing in Turkey, so she comes into the WNBA with pro experience. She averaged 17.4 PPG her last season at Tennessee (2016-17), and we know what kind of offensive dynamo she can be at her best.

  1. Chicago Sky: Azurá Stevens, 6-foot-6, PF, UConn

With back-to-back picks, the Sky can get a top guard and top post player. Again, before Stevens’ entry, UConn’s Gabby Williams, an undersized post, seemed like the pick. But how can the Sky pass on the versatility and size of Stevens? She played two years at Duke and one at UConn, averaging 14.7 PPG and 7.4 RPG with 76 blocked shots this season.

  1. Seattle Storm: Jordin Canada, 5-foot-6, PG, UCLA

Nobody wants Storm legend Sue Bird to retire, but she’s 37, and it will happen eventually. Canada has looked up to and patterned her game after Bird. She’s a speedy, smart, gutsy player who sees the court well and can benefit from everything Bird has to teach. Canada likely needs to gain some bulk to handle the WNBA’s physicality.

  1. Dallas Wings: Gabby Williams, 5-foot-11, SF, UConn

The Wings surrendered the most points in the WNBA last season (88.8 PPG), and Williams would immediately make them better defensively with her versatility and exceptional athleticism. Williams also is an excellent facilitator offensively (team-high 191 assists at UConn this season), which fits a Wings team with several strong scorers.

  1. Washington Mystics: Victoria Vivians, 6-foot-1, SG, Mississippi State

With Emma Meesseman missing the 2018 season to rest and prepare to lead Belgium in the 2018 FIBA World Cup, the Mystics could opt for a post player, if there was one coach/GM Mike Thibault really wanted. Instead, the Mystics should benefit from having a big, strong, quick scorer at the wing position. Thibault knows Vivians (19.8 PPG) well because his daughter, Carly Thibault-DuDonis, is on the Mississippi State staff.

  1. Indiana Fever: Lexie Brown, 5-foot-9, PG, Duke

The Fever traded veteran point guard Briann January to Phoenix for this pick, so it would come full circle if they took a young point guard with it. Brown can score (19.4 PPG), distribute (146 assists) and defend (122 steals), and has good size and strength at her position. She and Mitchell could form a promising young backcourt for Indiana.

  1. Connecticut Sun: Kia Nurse, 6-foot, SG, UConn

This isn’t a “get a UConn player” pick for the Sun. Nurse proved herself an excellent and tough defender for the Huskies, guarding a variety of players. She’s also a good 3-point shooter, making 85 of 192 (44.3 percent) from behind the arc this season, and had 102 assists while averaging 13.5 points.

  1. New York Liberty: Ariel Atkins, 5-foot-11, SG, Texas

The Liberty have struggled at times the past few seasons with consistent perimeter scoring and defense, although some of that was due to injuries. If they go this direction instead of getting more depth in the post, Atkins could fit well with her size and skills. She averaged 14.9 PPG, shot 42 percent from long range (50-of-119) and had 89 steals last season.

  1. Los Angeles Sparks: Monique Billings, 6-foot-4, PF, UCLA

The Sparks, who won the 2016 WNBA title and took Minnesota to five games before falling in last year’s Finals, don’t have obvious holes to fill. But they had some issues rebounding last year against the Lynx, and Billings (9.5 RPG) can help there. She’ll need to get a little stronger, but she runs the floor well and would have great posts to learn from in L.A.

  1. Phoenix Mercury: Maria Vadeeva, 6-foot-3, C, Russia

The Sparks, who won the 2016 WNBA title and took Minnesota to five games before falling in last year’s Finals, don’t have obvious holes to fill. But they had some issues rebounding last year against the Lynx, and Billings (9.5 RPG) can help there. She’ll need to get a little stronger, but she runs the floor well and would have great posts to learn from in L.A.

The second and third rounds of WNBA draft could potentially feature more great players like:

Marie Gulch, 6-5, C-Oregon State

Mercedes Russell, 6-6, C- Tennessee

Myisha Hines-Allen, 6-2, PF, Louisville

Jaime Nared, 6-2, SF, Tennessee

Imani Wright, 5-9, SG, Florida State

Raigyne Louis, 5-10, SG, LSU

Linnae Harper, 5-8, SG, Ohio State

Kristy Wallace, 5-11, PG, Baylor

Rebecca Greenwell, 6-1, SG, Duke

Katelynn Flaherty, 5-7, PG, Michigan

Morgan William, 5-5, PG, Mississippi State

Brittany McPhee, 6-0, SG, Stanford

This 2018 WNBA draft class has the potential to make an immediate impact and generate exciting times within the league for years to come!

 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top