Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the 2017 WNBA Draft, where ANYTHING could happen.
Kelsey Plum, the standout guard from Washington and the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball, should be a deadlock for the number one pick in today’s draft.
Or is she?
Most basketball fans who know the game would say it’s obvious that the San Antonio Stars, who have the number one pick this year, should draft Plum. She’s been compared to James Harden, she’s the deadliest three-point shooter available, and by far the best overall talent. Yet, word has it that the Stars may pass up on her.
If that were to happen, then we would be looking at possibly the most surprising draft in WNBA history.
San Antonio already has six guards on their squad, including last year’s draft picks Jazmon Gwathney and Moriah Jefferson, as well as 2015 All-Star Kayla McBride. And San Antonio needs some post help. To add to that, they also own the fifth pick in the draft, so it does stand that the Stars could get a quality post player and STILL get Plum.
So, beyond Plum, who else stands to benefit from this year’s draft?
TEAMS WITH THE MOST TO GAIN
The Chicago Sky may have lost one of the top five players in the league in Elena Delle Donne, but in return, they retrieved a king’s ransom from the Washington Mystics, highlighted by the number two pick in the draft. With so many scorers available, the Sky have a chance to seriously make a splash. Northwestern’s Nia Coffey is being looked at as a serious contender, but you can’t rule out the possibility of players like Kaela Davis or Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.
After missing out on the playoffs six of the last seven seasons, the Dallas Wings have not one, not two...but THREE picks in the first round. With a definite need for post presence and an off-guard to play alongside Skylar Diggins, there’s plenty to choose from for the Wings. It would not be surprising to see Alaina Coates go with their first pick, and if Plum does happen to fall beyond the first pick, Dallas will definitely make a move for her. If not, they should go local, as in Baylor guard Alexis Jones.
There’s no way that Dallas could mess up with their selections this year.
TEAMS WITH THE MOST TO LOSE
Losing one of the best players to ever lace up the sneakers is bad enough. To not have a first-round pick in a year where defense is prominent is even worse.
Indiana has some heavy shoes to fill after the retirement of Tamika Catchings, five-time Defensive Player of the Year AND the league’s all-time leader in rebounds and steals. Trading their first-round pick and Lynette Kizer to Connecticut may have been a big mistake. However, with three second-round picks, they could pick up some mid-level talent (Erica McCall comes to mind).
Of all the teams in the draft who need a miracle in this year’s draft, it’s the Atlanta Dream. The announcement earlier this year that All-Star forward Angel McCoughtry sent shockwaves not just throughout the city, but the league as a whole.
McCoughtry single-handedly willed the Dream past the first round of last year’s playoffs, scoring 37 points in the win over Seattle. And replacing 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game will not be easy for head coach Michael Cooper. However, Atlanta has three picks (7, 19 and 31) to get it right. The obvious need would be a stretch forward who can also play some off-guard, but post depth is plentiful, and Atlanta can’t go wrong with that either.
Look for more coverage from Swish Appeal in today’s draft. Television coverage of the draft will come from ESPN2 (7 p.m. ET; first round) and ESPNU (second and third round).