After a long and busy winter, the last big event of the off-season is just a few days away. On Monday, April 10, the next class of stars in professional women’s basketball will hear their names in the 2023 WNBA Draft in New York.

There is little suspense about what the Indiana Fever will do with the first pick, which will almost certainly be South Carolina center Aliyah Boston. The three-time unanimous First Team All-American is one of the best prospects to break into the league in years, and he has all the makings of a franchise talent.

After that, however, things get murky, largely because several projected first-round picks have decided to go back to school, including Rickea Jackson (Tennessee), Charisma Osborne (UCLA), Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech) and Jacy. Sheldon (Ohio State). It’s also worth noting that four teams control the draft. The Wings (three selections), Fever (two), Dream (two) and Lynx (two) have nine of the 12 selections, while the Aces, Liberty, Mercury, Sky and Sun have no selection.

LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, stars of last week’s NCAA championship, will not be eligible for the draft until 2024.

Before the big night, here’s a glimpse of how things might go:

Note: This version of the mock draft was edited on April 7 following Charisma Osborne’s decision to return to UCLA.

1. Indiana Fever: Aliyah Boston, C, South Carolina

The Fever, who hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016, finally hit the jackpot and won the No. 1 pick this year for the first time in franchise history. It came at a perfect time, as they will be able to draft Boston, one of the best prospects to enter the league in years. The 6-foot-5 center is a dominant defensive force around the basket, an elite rebounder and an efficient scorer in the paint. She has the talent to turn things around in Indiana.

2. Minnesota Bobcat: Diamond Miller, G, Maryland

Miller answered any and all questions about his health and his game this season, leading Maryland to the Elite Eight for the first time in nearly a decade by doing a little of everything on both sides of the ball. At 6-foot-3, he has guarding skills and athleticism in the body of a forward, and he has the biggest advantage of anyone in this class outside of Boston. His 3-point shot needs some work, but it will be an exciting addition to a new era of Lynx basketball.

3. Dallas Wings: Maddy Siegrist, F, Villanova

The Wings lost their two biggest 3-point threats from last season, Allisha Gray and Marina Mabrey, and new head coach Latricia Trammell told CBS Sports that finding a floor spacer is a key priority. Meanwhile, team president Gregg Bibb called Siegrist, who led the nation in scoring at 29.2 points per game on 36.1 percent shooting from behind the arc, “one of the best players in the draft.” There are many signs pointing to Siegrist here.

4. Washington Mystics: Jordan Horston, G/F, Tennessee

If Siegrist is off the board, it will be interesting to see which direction the Mystics go. They could also use some help on outside shots, but the best shooters in the class are specialists who are more prepared for the end of the first round. Trying to predict what Mike Thibault will do is always a fool’s game, but maybe they’ll just go with the best player available and take Horston. She can’t shoot, but her athleticism, defense, and competitiveness would be a perfect fit for the Mystics’ style.

5. Dallas Wings: Stephanie Soares, C, Iowa State

Soares is perhaps the most difficult prospect to project, both in terms of where she’ll be picked and her chances of succeeding at the next level. The two-time NAIA Player of the Year she got off to a good start at Iowa State, but she tore her ACL in January and was denied an additional year of eligibility. She will now enter the draft as a tempting prospect who has the size and skills to potentially be a great rim-protecting 3-point shooter, but is relatively untested against elite competition and has serious injury concerns. She won’t be playing this season, and that could make her a perfect fit for Dallas, which has three first-round picks and could be facing a roster crisis.

6. Atlanta Dream: Haley Jones, Girlfriend, Stanford

Jones entered the season widely projected to be the No. 2 pick, but now he could be out of the lottery due in large part to his continued inability to develop any kind of outside shot, which would limit his lead. However, she is still a super talented and versatile player who would be a perfect fit for Atlanta’s defensive style under head coach Tanisha Wright and give the Dream another playmaker. If she’s still available at No. 6, she seems like a no-brainer for the Dream.

7. Indiana Fever: Brea Beal, G/F, South Carolina

Fever general manager Lin Dunn has said time and again since rejoining the organization that she wants the team’s identity to start on the defensive end. Beal fits that bill perfectly. At 6-foot-1, he has the size and quickness to guard multiple perimeter positions and relishes the challenge of guarding elite players. If the strides she’s made as a 3-point shooter this season are anything to go by, she should have a long WNBA career.

8. Atlanta Dream: Laeticia Amihere, F, South Carolina

Amihere never put up big numbers in South Carolina, but she was willing and able to adapt to whatever the Gamecocks needed from her. That versatility, combined with her size, length and athleticism at the forward spot, makes her an exciting prospect, and someone who could benefit from the extra space at the professional level. The Dream were one of the best defensive teams in the league last season and play with a fast-paced style, both of which would make Amihere a good fit.

9. Seattle Storm: Grace Berger, G, Indiana

Berger’s final season with the Hoosiers ended disappointingly with a second-round loss to Miami in the NCAA Tournament, but his 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists in that game were another reminder of his strong overall play. Although Berger may not have the advantage of other prospects, he is a big, versatile guard who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. The Storm can use all of those abilities as they try to rebuild after Breanna Stewart’s departure and Sue Bird’s retirement.

10. Los Angeles Sparks: Ashley Joens, F, Iowa State

Joens surprised everyone by returning to school for a fifth season at Iowa State, where he won Big 12 Player of the Year. There are some real questions about how his skills will translate to the next level given that she’s not an exceptional athlete and won’t have much of the ball in her hands, but players with her college pedigree are usually worth taking a chance on this one. spot. in the draft. The Sparks need wing depth and shooting, and she provides both.

11. Dallas Wings: Lou Lopez-Senechal, G/F, UConn

The Wings were a middle-of-the-road 3-point shooting team last season, fifth in attempts per game (22.6) and eighth in percentage (.343), and lost their two best outside threats, Allisha Gray and Marina Mabrey. about winter. The perfect way to address that weakness would be to recruit Lopez-Senechal, who has shot 44% from 3-pointers for UConn this season and 40.5% in his career.

12. Minnesota Lynx: Zia Cooke, G, South Carolina

Cooke is another part of South Carolina’s legendary recruiting class of 2019, and he could be the fourth Gamecock to hear his name in the first round of draft night. He is coming off the most impressive and efficient offensive season of his college career, and has excelled in the biggest moments to make two NCAA Tournament teams. The Lynx need depth in the backcourt, and Cooke could be a fit here.

Leave a Reply

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