PHOENIX MERCURY – DRAFT SUMMARY
In another offseason of moves the Phoenix Mercury just got better and better. They re-signed Dewanna Bonner, signed Sancho Lyttle and traded their eighth pick for Briann January. To get back in the first round of the draft they then traded Danielle Robinson to the Minnesota Lynx for the twelfth pick.
All of this activity left them with only one or two positional needs. They needed a backup center and arguably a backup at the two guard behind Diana Taurasi. They had picks 12, 20, 21 and 26 to make this happen.
Pick 12 – Marie Gulich
Marie Gulich, a 6’5” center out of Oregon State was always in the conversation for the Phoenix Mercury to be taken with their first pick in the draft. This was certainly the correct player at this stage in the draft. The Mercury needed someone to back up Brittney Griner after they taded away Cayla George.
Gulich was not a sure thing to be drafted this season. Her numbers last season were 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. She was shooting at 46.9 percent from the field. However, this season and Gulich was able to produce 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game. Sydney Wiese was drafted last season and Gulich had to step up. She shot at 66.1 percent from the field which was the first time she was able to get above 50 percent on the season.
Pick 20 – Tyler Scaife
Tyler Scaife is a 5’9” guard out of Rutgers and would be best described as a scorer. Her 19.7 points per game was good for 36th in the entire of division 1 last season. She was not able to average over three per game of anything else.
Her field goal percentage is pretty good for a guard at 44.7 percent. However, she is not going to be able to space the floor well when Taurasi sits as she only knocked down 29.6 percent from deep. This is best number of her career. Scaife is not going to be a defensive liability as she averaged more than 1.2 steals per game in her entire college career.
However, Scaife is going to be facing competition at the guard spot from January, Taurasi, Leilani Mitchell, Alexis Prince and Yvonne Turner just to make the roster.
Pick 21 – Raisa Masina
For the 21st pick the Mercury went international and selected 6’3” forward Raina Masina from Russia. There was some inside information on this pick considering she plays for Sandy Brondello’s husband in the Russian league. Masina averaged double figure scoring in aged European championships. However, these averages will not hold up when you play professionals.
Masina struggled against professional women in the Euroleague for the last four years. She has not averaged more than 8.2 points per game or 4.8 rebounds per game in this time. It is unsure if Masina will come over next season but this pick has project written all over it.
Pick 26 – Imani Wright
Imani Wirght is a 5’9” guard out of Florida State who averaged 17.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals. The only number which jumps off the page is she is a 39.9 percent shooter from deep. However, with the amount of guards on this squad, it is very difficult to see Wright getting a regular season roster spot.
Draft grade: B-
I gave the Mercury a B- as they did address one position of need but left Mercedes Russell on the board. The players they took are going to struggle to make the roster. Russell could have been a good third option at either center of forward or traded to get a decent backup at the two guard spot.