Swish Appeal Top 45 WNBA Draft Prospects

If you've followed any professional sport closely, you're keenly aware of the fact that collegiate player drafts are anything but scientific.

My favorite NBA draft story will always be Michael Redd.

Coming out of Ohio State University, it was pretty much an objective fact that Redd was an inconsistent perimeter shooter when he was drafted, at best. After getting drafted in the second round and making the Milwaukee Bucks roster, he has not only become an all-star and member of Team USA, but also one of the best shooters in the NBA.

What I love about his story is that it's a pleasant reminder that a good draft pick is not necessarily determined by college performance, pedigree, or even tournament wins. So a lot of it can come down to a player's dedication to the craft, how well a player fits with the team who drafts them, and -- perhaps unfairly -- a team's patience with the player.

Ultimately, no matter what we speculate about the draft, we're destined to be wrong.

Nevertheless, it's fun to speculate, especially for true fans who care about nothing more than their team getting the best player possible.

Although we are still enjoying an outstanding NCAA tournament, Swish Appeal will now start turning its attention to the WNBA draft coming up on April 8th. There is a feeling around the league and among fans that this draft is "weak", but just to make sure we aren't blatantly missing a Michael Redd story, we present the list of top 45 prospects that we've been tracking today. Over the next few days, we'll be looking at each one of these players by position, but this is just to give a sense of where we're coming from.

The process for selecting these players was as follows:

  1. I started with Chasing the Title's list of 70 draft prospects, of which he's been listing the top 5 by position throughout the college basketball season.
  2. Given that there are 12 WNBA teams picking for three rounds, I figured that determining the top 40 would be a good start for creating a mock draft.
  3. I separated the top 40 into positional categories, similar to the way Ed Weiland of HoopsAnalyst has done for NBA draft prospects: point guard, combo guard, shooting guards, small forward, combo forward, power forward, and center (those will be described below). The value of separating players in this way is that it helps to take into account not only the positions players have played in college, but also where they might be projected to play in the WNBA without "penalizing" them.
  4. I added five players that were either not included in the Chasing the Title rankings or outside the Top 40 but showed enough statistically to deserve consideration relative to the most popular prospects: Vivian Frieson, Amber Harris, Armelie Lumanu, Chanel Mokango, amd Jene Morris.
  5. Using my framework for evaluating rookies, I looked at key statistics to rank players by position, with particular to weight to position specific needs.

Without further ado, here's my working list which is of course subject to change:

*Note: Epiphanny Prince is not included in this list because college stats were used to make these comparisons.

 

Point guard:

1. Alison Lacey

2. Ashley Houts

3. Melissa Lechlitner

4. Courtnay Pilypatis

 

Combo/tweener guard:

1. Andrea Riley

2. Alexis Gray-Lawson

3. Taylor Lilley

4. Alexis Rack

5. TK LaFleur

6. Micaela Cocks

 

Shooting guard:

1. Kalana Greene

2. Monica Wright

3. Allison Hightower

4. Ashley Barlow

5. May Kotsopoulos

6. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude

7. Brittainey Raven

8. Bianca Thomas

9. Jene Morris

10. Amelie Lumanu

 

Wing/small forward:

1. Tanisha Smith

2. Nyeshia Stevenson

3. Danielle McCray

4. Lacey Simpson

5. Lindsay Schrader

 

Combo/tweener forward:

1. Kelsey Griffin

2. Alysha Clark

3. Shanara Hollinquest

4. Vivian Frieson

5. Amanda Thompson

6. Siarre Evans

7. Shanavia Dowdell

8. Gabriela Marginean

9. Erica Beverly

10. Heather Bowman

11. Dana Mitchell

 

Power forward:

1. Jenna Smith

2. Ashley Sweat

 

Center:

1. Jayne Appel

2. Tina Charles

3. Amber Harris

4. Chanel Mokango

5. Jacinta Monroe

6. Alyssa DeHaan

 

Stay tuned for analysis of the draft by position and a mock draft in the next few days.

Update 3/29/10 - corrections at 4:36 pm: Rosalyn Gold-Onwude was accidentally omitted when originally published and Amanda Thompson was misplaced in the combo forward rankings.

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