Draft Overview – Atlanta Dream
By Matt Hallett
After an incredible off-season, the Atlanta Dream prepared themselves as best they could for the 2018 WNBA draft. The previous administration traded away their first-round pick, not getting enough back considering the talent level of this year’s draft. However, they still had three picks in the draft, numbers 15, 16 and 27.
Pick 15 – Monique Billings
In a slight surprise, Billings went in the second round. It was always a possibility because of the Azura Stevens draft nomination. When the Atlanta Dream selected her with the 15 pick they secured a player who has a high ceiling but needs a little more time.
Billings is a 6’4” forward who has is a lean, athletic player. She is good in the high post but needs some more time in the gym to defend down low. This is not an issue for the Dream as they have Jessica Breland, Damiris Dantas, Imani McGee-Stafford and Elizabeth Williams who are all 6’3” and over.
This means Billings can get the time that she needs as well as playing some good minutes when the games allow. What is also good for Billings is there is only one roster spot open on the Dream. She was going to be playing against Blake Dietrick and the other 2018 draftees for this but appears to be in a good position to claim this spot considering the Dream’s other moves in the draft.
Pick 16 – Kristy Wallace.
Kristy Wallace from Baylor University was selected with the 16th pick of the 2018 WNBA draft. Wallace was having a great season for the Lady Bears averaging 12.9 points, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds. Compared to some of the numbers of the guards in the first round these are not huge but they were enough to have Wallace being talked about.
When the injury happened, there was a potential that Wallace could have thought her WNBA dreams may have been over as she is going to miss the entire 2018 season. However, as the Atlanta Dream have a loaded roster, they were able to draft the Australian with this pick, meaning her WNBA dreams are kept afloat.
Pick 27 – Mackenzie Engram
Mackenzie Engram was the Dream’s last pick, taken at number 27. Playing out of Georgia University, Engram averaged 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 11 blocks per game. At 6’2”, Engram is a little shorter than Billings and does not have the same athleticism.
Engram will probably be signed to a training camp contract. However, I cannot see her outplaying Billings for the final roster spot.
Overall grade – B+
I give the Dream a B+. They didn’t really have any glaring weaknesses they needed to cover in this draft. With that being said, they also did not have a first-round pick thanks to the previous administration. Billings will get the last roster spot and will grow under the tutelage of Williams, McGee Stafford, Dantas and Breland.
Wallace may also become a nice piece if she recovers from the ACL injury.