WNBAinsidr Mock Draft
By Eli Horowitz
We spoke with a coach and/or general manager from all 12 teams and blended what we believe WILL happen based on our reporting with what we think SHOULD happen based on the eye test
and advanced analytics. We slant towards taking the best player available early in the first-round, whereas the coaches and GM’s spoke more about team needs on the record. Our feeling is that even if a player doesn’t fit, you maximize your leverage in trades by acquiring the best talent available. Later in the first-round, team needs are a higher priority.
1. Las Vegas Aces- A’ja Wilson: Although there are enough rumblings to think Bill
Laimbeer would at least consider a trade to acquire Azura Stevens and an additional pick,
A’ja Wilson checks too many boxes. She will be the face of the franchise and is a
WNBA-ready post player with the athleticism to defend fours and fives, attack off the
catch and develop an outside shot.
2. Indiana Fever- Azura Stevens: How many 6-foot-6 players are there that can shoot the
three, defend multiple positions, score inside and rebound? Stevens is taller than Elena
Delle Donne and Candace Parker, arguably the two most versatile players in the WNBA.
Her ceiling is in that mold, someone capable of playing several positions at a really high
level. You can’t pass on that type of rare potential.
3. Chicago- Diamond DeShields: DeShields is an aggressive wing who can play the guard
positions when called upon and is physical enough to make a difference on the glass as
well. There are question marks about her off-court history, but Chicago would be passing
on a tier one player in this draft as Wilson, Stevens and DeShields are a cut above the rest
as far as highest ceilings.
4. Chicago- Kelsey Mitchell: Chicago is confident in their backcourt of Courtney
Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, so selecting Azura Stevens or Gabby Williams would’ve
been preferable to fill the four position, especially with the loss of Jessica Breland. But if
Indiana goes with Stevens, they’ve got to take Kelsey Mitchell, who as a pure scorer
could be the best in this draft. If the Fever take Mitchell, as many expect, this becomes
easier for Chicago who would go DeShields and Stevens. If Mitchell falls to them, expect
them to try to shop her for Gabby Williams and an additional pick.
5. Seattle Storm- Jordin Canada:The Storm need to find their next point guard for when
Sue Bird retires. Although Jewell Loyd played point guard at Notre Dame, she already
has shown the ability to be one of the best isolation scorers in the WNBA. Canada and
Loyd would be an undersized defensive backcourt, but keeping both of those players out of the paint will be a tall task. Canada has high end athleticism and the Storm don’t
expect to have this high a pick anytime soon to address this need.
6. Dallas Wings- Lexie Brown: Skylar Diggins-Smith led the WNBA in minutes played in
2017 coming off an injury, so the Wings need a point guard to take the load off. It will be
tempting to take Gabby Williams if available here, as she fits the athletic mold the Wings
are building. But Brown is not only a point guard, she won ACC defensive player of the
year and is big enough to play the two as a spot up shooter.
7. Washington Mystics- Victoria Vivians: Mike Thibault envisioned an offensive
juggernaut when he signed Kristi Toliver to go along with Elena Delle Donne and Emma
Meesseman. The loss of Meesseman means Delle Donne can play her best position, the
four. Vivians is a big guard who can score and shoot. Her ball-handling and defense has
room to grow, but she’d be the right fit next to the elite wing defense of Tierra Ruffin-
Pratt. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they went with Gabby Williams here due to the athletic
upside, but Vivians is a better fit.
8. Indiana Fever- Gabby Williams: The Fever are in rebuild mode, so they need to take the
best players available. This is more than a one-year project. Although taking Williams
and Stevens wouldn’t give them as much positional diversity, imagine those two together defensively? Pokey Chatman likes to run and is open to playing athletic bigs with a
modern style. What better way to start building that than with those two players?
9. Connecticut Sun- Kia Nurse: The Sun are the deepest team in the WNBA, so adding a
shooter and role player in Kia Nurse is the right move. Nurse doesn’t make mistakes and
gives the Sun another player to stretch the floor.
10. New York Liberty- Maria Vadeeva: The Liberty don’t have one clear need, so they can’t
pass on the ability to take a player who just months ago was number two on some draft
boards. The Liberty are too talented to expect to be in the lottery, so this is a golden
opportunity to get a player with lottery-type potential.
11. Los Angeles Sparks- Monique Billings: The Sparks need a backup post as Nneka
Ogwumike, Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender basically played all the significant
minutes for them at the four and five spot. Stephanie Mavunga would help more in the
short term, but Billings has the highest ceiling left at this point. She’s undersized as an
interior player in the WNBA, but her length and athleticism should be viewed as a
positive for Los Angeles, and there’s no better team to mentor someone with Billings'
12. Phoenix Mercury- Marie Gulich: The Mercury addressed the point guard, wing and
power forward positions in free agency, so taking a center makes sense. Luckily for them,
Gulich, is arguably the best available at this point anyway. If not Mavunga or even
Mercedes Russell could go here as well.
Top 5 Second Round Prospects: These players have an outside chance to go late in the
first-round, and in other years, could’ve very easily been first-round picks.
- Ariel Atkins
- Stephanie Mavunga
- Jaime Nared
- Myisha Hines-Allen
- Mercedes Russell