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WNBA Draft 2011: Swish Appeal's Consensus First Round Mock Draft

As you know we've been profiling WNBA Draft prospects for some time, but with the NCAA Tournament completed it's time to roll out our first mock draft.

The way we went about this was as follows:

  • Four of our contributors (James Bowman, Scott, DishNSwish, and I) submitted mock drafts based on perceived team needs.
  • I aggregated them to determine a consensus opinion of who each team should draft.
  • I used James Bowman's previous post of top college seniors to add insight or break ties.
  • People submitted explanations for their picks, so those will be added when necessary.
  • When possible, I'll add links to a previous player profile.

Not that there's much drama for the first two picks, but without further ado, our mock draft of the first round.

1. Minnesota Lynx: Maya Moore, F, Connecticut Huskies

Other votes: none.

Boxscores rank: 1

Commentary: She's good and there has been no indication that the Lynx would see fit to do otherwise.

2. Tulsa Shock: Liz Cambage, C, Australia

Other votes: none

Boxscores rank: N/A

Commentary: Even if it means drafting her and trading her, it's hard to imagine this pick going any other way.

3. Chicago Sky: Courtney Vandersloot, PG, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Other votes: Amber Harris, Ta'Shia Phillips

Boxscores rank: 9

Commentary: This is a somewhat recent development, but rumor has it that Vandersloot is the pick here. At the very least, it seems certain that she will not be falling past 7. The Sky have been rumored this off-season to be interested in acquiring a point guard and despite a stronger season as a distributor from Dominique Canty, Vandersloot is more of a pure distributor than who they currently have. The problem is that this obviously creates a logjam for them with Canty, Jia Perkins, and Epiphanny Prince all vying for time in the backcourt. One might anticipate a trade if this happens.

4. Minnesota Lynx: Amber Harris, F, Xavier Musketeers

Other votes: Jantel Lavender, Danielle Robinson

Boxscores rank: 5

Commentary: Assuming Vandersloot goes third, Harris seems too talented to fall below this point. But going by Boxscores, Lavender as an inside presence could make some sense as well.

5. Los Angeles Sparks: Jantel Lavender, C, Ohio State Buckeyes

Other votes: Kayla Pedersen, Courtney Taylor

Boxscores rank: 4

Commentary: The Sparks need a wing that can both shoot and defend most of all, but that's not really available in this draft so the Sparks likely take the best player available. So two of our voters and the statistics go for Lavender here. If Lavender is indeed available here the Sparks should grab her to eventually play center alongside Candace Parker.  If Lavender is gone as expected the Sparks probably will have to go with one of the point guards.

6. San Antonio Silver Stars: Danielle Robinson, PG, Oklahoma Sooners

Other votes: Victoria Dunlap, Angel Robinson, Courtney Vandersloot

Boxscores rank: 17

Commentary: There was absolutely no agreement here, but the majority thinking here is point guard. So we might assume she falls no lower than 6 based on that assessment, but based on what's left, Robinson is our pick here for now. Also worth noting: Angel Robinson is a pretty good point guard with a solid feel for the game. Every draft has a wild card pick. Robinson could be that here. But given San Antonio's rebounding struggles, one voter also considers Dunlap here.

7. Tulsa Shock: Victoria Dunlap, F, Kentucky Wildcats

Other votes: Danielle Robinson, Amber Harris

Boxscores: 3

Commentary: By the numbers, Dunlap is the best on the board, two voters have her, and the other had Dunlap a pick ahead. Tulsa would likely love to have Danielle Robinson fall here, but with Robinson gone the choice is Dunlap. There might be doubts about Dunlap's ability to finish consistently enough to be a factor in the WNBA, but Tulsa is one place where she would have a chance to succeed because of Nolan Richardson's style of play.

8. Atlanta Dream: Kayla Pedersen, F, Stanford Cardinal

Other votes: Jantel Lavender, Courtney Vandersloot

Boxscores: 14

Commentary: Pedersen is an interesting prospect - we have her going as high as five and one person has her out of the first round. And based on team needs, if she falls this far it is possible that she falls out of the first round based on her skillset. But there's a solid argument for the Dream to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Dream could use a backup for Sancho Lyttle, especially now that she's involved with the Spanish national team. If Pedersen is gone Jessica Breland offers some similar qualities to Lyttle, and has experience playing in a fast paced system like the Dream's.

9. Indiana Fever: Jasmine Thomas, G, Duke Blue Devils

Other votes: Sydney Colson, Danielle Adams

Boxscores: 23

Commentary: Again our general consensus here is some sort of point guard. While Thomas is not the ideal fit here she is the best guard available for the Fever's style of play.

10. New York Liberty: Ta'Shia Phillips, C, Xavier

Other votes: Jessica Breland, Tierney Jenkins

Boxscores: 2

Commentary: The consensus seems to be that the Liberty need a post player. With Taj McWilliams- Franklin leaving for Minnesota center is a significant need for the Liberty.  Ta'Shia Phillips makes sense as a big center that can also clog the paint. Northwestern's center Amy Jaeschke remains the highest rated on the board statistically, but two voters went with Phillips.

11. Washington Mystics: Danielle Adams, F, Texas A&M

Other votes: Jessica Breland, Carolyn Swords, Amy Jaeschke

Boxscores: 10

Commentary: The Mystics are likely to go big and with Nakia Sanford gone to Phoenix, a defensive big might be considered a necessity. Adams is another one where there's no consensus on her stock, with boxscores rating her fourth, two voters leaving her out of the first round entirely, one having her ninth. The one voter that had her here wins.  Adams needs to continue to improve her conditioning, but she makes shots both inside and outside of the paint better than Jessica Breland. 

12. Seattle Storm: Kachine Alexander, G, Iowa Hawkeyes

Other votes: Jeanette Pohlen

Boxscores: 11

Commentary: What do you give the man (Brian Agler) who has everything?

With their free agent acquisitions, they feel like they've filled out their roster nicely and as we found out last year with Alison Lacey, Agler has no qualms with spending a draft pick on someone and sitting them. They will probably be taking best available here. By the numbers, that's Tierney Jenkins or, if you don't accept that because you have't heard much about her, Kachine Alexander, who averages 14.3 points per game and was a two-time member of the Big Ten All-Defensive Team. For a team that is looking for a 9-11th player anyway, Alexander is ideal - any guard who gets offensive rebounds like she does has at least enough heart to become a crowd favorite. In the quest to outdo Agler's 2010 dominance of KeyArena favorite with the Stanky Legg, someone actually in uniform like Alexander could be it.

Others receiving votes:

Jessica Breland (10, 11)
Jeanette Pohlen (12 X 2)
Courtney Taylor (5)
Angel Robinson (6)
Sydney Colson (9)
Carolyn Swords (11)


Statistical Honorable Mention:

Angel Robinson
Tierney Jenkins
Kalisha Keane
Carolyn Swords
Ify Ibekwe

For more details on the draft, click here.