Kara Lawson, Connecticut Sun veteran guard, is preparing for the WNBA playoffs. But as she does, there is no doubt that she'll have her nose to the ground to see who will pick up the top pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. Not due to the fact that she'll have to face off with this incoming crop of newcomers on the court, but also because she'll be analyzing their games throughout the season for ESPN.
With prospects that have the women's basketball world buzzing already about the depth and breadth of talent, it's no surprise that Lawson is touting this draft class as one of the best. But one particular woman that Lawson - and most everyone - has their eye on is none other than Baylor senior center Brittney Griner.
"This class is very, very good. Obviously, Brittney Griner is going to make things very difficult for all players - how much she's going to change things defensively with her length, and just with her athleticism," Lawson said in a WNBA playoff teleconference on Sept. 24. "This class has the ability to be right up there with some of the best classes to come in."
The four teams that will be looking for the ping pong balls to find favor on the franchise are the Washington Mystics, Phoenix Sun, Tulsa Shock and Chicago Sky. Along with Griner, there are two already touted prospects receiving the majority of the hype in Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins and Delaware's Elena Delle Donne.
"But Griner to me, specifically stands out," Lawson continued. "You can just put her anywhere and she's going to have a huge impact and a huge ability to transform a team. If she goes to a city that maybe hasn't been getting as great support, I think she maybe has the opportunity to transform that community in terms of women's basketball and getting people out to watch games."
Lawson, who's in her 10th season of the WNBA, began her "offseason" career at the network in 2004 with a particular focus on NCAA basketball. She'll be sure to have an opportunity to comment on Griner's game on-air, as the Baylor Lady Bears are slated to appear on ESPN for five games in the upcoming season.
But before her analyzing can begin, her squad will face off with the New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning Friday. She is in the midst of her most productive season as a pro, contributing 15.1 points, 4.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds a game for the Sun, all career-high averages.