Dallas Wings – Draft Summary
By Matt Hallett
The Dallas Wings started the free-agency period off with a bang. They bought back to the league Liz Cambage, one of the best players in the world. This meant the Wings were able to upgrade their roster without giving up any significant pieces, with the exception of Courtney Paris. While other teams traded picks the Wings held on to theirs allowing them to pick 6th, 18th and 30th in the 2018 draft.
Pick 6 – Azura Stevens
When Azura Stevens nominated for the 2018 draft, every single mock draft was thrown out the window. The conjecture was she could be picked at number one or two. However, Stevens was not taken 1st, nor was she taken 2nd. The Chicago Sky chose their people and then Seattle picked according to script. Dallas then chose the best player available and Stevens had a new home.
While it looks a little like the Wings have doubled up at the center position, Stevens will probably spend the first half of the season backing up the 4 and 5 spots for the Wings. I do not believe that she should start, remember she has been drafted on ceiling, not actual at the moment. However, leave her in the hands of WNBA coaches for a time and she will start next to Cambage moving forward. That is a center at 6’8” and a power forward at 6’6”. Can anyone say imposing.
What this means is the two front court players are mobile and have the ability to defend smaller players on the pick and roll, an area where the Wings were clipped last year. Add to this the defensive attention will be on Cambage and Skylar-Diggins-Smith meaning Stevens may be the second Wings player in a row to win Rookie of the Year.
Pick 18- Loryn Goodwin
In a draft filled with talent, Loryn Goodwin dropped to the 18th pick in the draft. The 5’9” guard out of Oklahoma State had a stat line of 21.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game. These are gaudy numbers for a mid-second round pick. As shown last season, Dallas are not afraid to take their draft picks into the season.
Goodwin will certainly make the training camp squad. She will probably be given good minutes in the pre-season to see if she can compete at this level. Looking at the squad, the Wings will not have to look too hard to create an open roster spot. They could move on Breanna Lewis, Evelyn Akathor or even Sainya Chong to make room for Goodwin.
Pick 30 – Natalie Butler
Natalie Butler was the 30th pick in the 2018 draft. The 6’5” center our of George Mason averaged 18.5 points, 15.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season. On other teams this might give her a shot at making the regular season roster. Unfortunately for Bulter she is competing with four players who are 6’5” or over just to make the roster. She will get a training camp contract before being cut for the regular season
Draft grade: A+
I give the Wings an A+ for this draft day. The simple fact that Stevens fell to them at the sixth pick and they decided to take the best player available. Added to this they took a shot on a high-volume scorer which will only bolster their bench. They fixed a big part of their pick and roll defense which is going to make them scary next season.