Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma has coached 11- first-round WNBA draft picks and three #1 overall picks, so you would be interested to know who he would pick with the number 1 pick of the 2011 draft.
Interesting enough the coach wouldn’t pick his senior All-American and Player of the Year, Maya Moore. His choice? None other than his nemesis this summer: Australian Liz Cambage.
"If I had the number 1 pick in the WNBA draft, but I don’t and I won’t, I would take that kid with the first pick, as much as I love Maya," said Auriemma.
Do you risk the No. 1 pick on her though? She is young, talented, and has limitless potential. But the question remains is she willing?
She was recently quoted as saying, "My dream is to play for the LA Sparks. I always loved Kobe Bryant and I could definitely do with some Californian sunshine, but they did really well last season. I’ll probably already be snapped up by some other team by the time they get to pick their draftees. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible honor to even be considered, but I don’t know if I want to move straight away."
We have previously discussed what the Minnesota Lynx should do with 2 top-4 draft picks. Minnesota needs a quality post, there is no question that it’s their glaring weakness. The debate all season will be do you take the athlete and scorer that is Maya Moore and see which high quality post is left for the fourth pick?
One setback for this is Minnesota has a log jam of stars at the 2/3 positions. Between Monica Wright, Seimone Augustus, and Candice Wiggins, where do you find time, space, and a position for Moore?
Liz Cambage seems to be the solution but do you take a chance on an international player, who not only isn’t thrilled about the lottery system, but also has possible commitments to her National Team?
Australian Coach Carrie Graf has suggested that the Aussies sit out the WNBA season to prepare for the 2012 Olympics after a dismal, to their standards, 5th place showing at the FIBA World Championships this summer. If Basketball Australia makes it a priority you have the chance to be without your top draft pick for 1-2 seasons. "You have to get a commitment that she’s coming," Auriemma said.
I personally don't think you can’t sit back for 3 years and wait for someone to show up. There also is the question will she ever show up.
No one is questioning her ability. She will be an asset to a team. Between her size, footwork, youth, and basketball IQ she has the potential to be a star. When Auriemma describes her he seems like her biggest fan.
"She is solid. She’s incredible," he said. "She makes free throws, has a little step back. Makes 10-footers. Uses her left and right. She got better, every day, of every possession, of every game. She got better and better and better and better."
The question that remains is who is a gambling GM?
Don’t worry Moore fans, Coach Auriemma ended with this thought: "Now that’s enough, I don’t want Maya to read tomorrow that she isn’t going to be first in the draft because of course she is going to be."
Or perhaps Coach Auriemma just wants to give her a little extra incentive this season.