2014 WNBA draft: Organizing prospects into tiers

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

A draft board for today's WNBA Draft with prospects ordered into tiers

Analyst Debbie Antonelli offered a pretty good breakdown of the top prospects on the Indiana Fever's website yesterday, but since people have asked me about a few specific players I'm going to offer a slightly different take on things using statistics as the basis for a set of tiers.

The tiers are based on a really low standard: the risk involved in drafting a player that might not make a roster, as follows:

Tier 1 - Elite: Instant impact players who with no major weaknesses that have kept players off a roster three years down the road

Tier 2 - Low-risk: A player with a number of strengths but a noticeable red flag compared to past propsects

Tier 3 - Fringe: A player with a strength but enough red flags to make their future outlook unclear

Tier 4 - Questionable: A player with a number of red flags and marginal strengths

Tier 5 - Risky: Players that have a number of red flags and no major statistical strengths

Again, the level of risk is based on making a roster generally based on past prospects not whether they might be able to find a fit with a particular roster based on need or style of play - for some players, there might be a situation or two that masks or negates their red flags. It also doesn't account for general managers' personal tastes. But what we're trying to find is players who have the least chance of failing to find a situation where they can contribute based on which players have succeeded in the past.

I'm trying to stay close to the numbers here so bear with me - there might even be players here that I like subjectively, but can't find support for statistically and vice versa.

Three notes:

  • I wouldn't read too much into the ordering within tiers - a lot of that is subjective and it's much more difficult to sort out differences between positions within tiers.
  • I didn't make any adjustments for injured players - their placement is based on their performance during the season.
  • Astou Ndour - who could be a first round pick - is not listed here because I don't have a good way to compare international players to NCAA ones.

The tiers

Elite

Chiney Ogwumike

Odyssey Sims

Alyssa Thomas

Kayla McBride

Low-risk

Stefanie Dolson

Bria Hartley

Chelsea Gray

Tyaunna Marshall

Fringe

Meighan Simmons

Markeisha Gatling

Jordan Hooper

Natasha Howard

Tricia Liston

Natalie Achonwa

Asya Bussie

Jennifer Hamson

Ariel Edwards

Bri Kulas

Valencia McFarland

Tiffany Bias

Risky

Theresa Plaisance

Ebony Rowe

Artemis Spanou

DeNesha Stallworth

Haley Peters

Hallie Christofferson

Karla Gilbert

Shoni Schimmel

Christina Foggie

Aaryn Ellenberg

Asia Taylor

Jamierra Faulkner

High-risk

Maggie Lucas

Jessica Kuster

Kirby Burkholder

Michelle Plouffe

Cassie Harberts

Dequesha McClanahan

Jerica Coley

Nicole Griffin

Gennifer Brandon

Samarie Walker

Jasmine Lister

Morgan Hook

For more on the top WNBA prospects, check out our 2014 WNBA draft prospect watch storystream.

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