2010 WNBA Draft Grades
Sun, Silver Stars stand out amongst all 12 teams.
by Ben York / @bjyork
In a few jam-packed hours, the WNBA Draft came and went with a bang. Though, it was not without a few surprises and a couple head-scratchers.
Here is the full list of players drafted:
1 Connecticut Sun | Tina Charles | Connecticut
2 Minnesota Lynx | Monica Wright | Virginia
3 Minnesota Lynx | Kelsey Griffin | Nebraska (traded to Connecticut)
4 Chicago Sky | Epiphanny Prince | Botas/Rutgers
5 San Antonio Silver Stars | Jayne Appel | Stanford
6 Washington Mystics | Jacinta Monroe | Florida State
7 Connecticut Sun | Danielle McCray | Kansas
8 Los Angeles Sparks | Andrea Riley | Oklahoma State
9 Atlanta Dream | Chanel Mokango | Mississippi State
10 Seattle Storm | Alison Lacey | Iowa State
11 Indiana Fever | Jene Morris | San Diego State
12 Los Angeles Sparks | Bianca Thomas | Mississippi
13 New York Liberty | Kalana Greene | Connecticut
14 Washington Mystics | Jenna Smith | Illinois
15 Connecticut Sun | Allison Hightower | Louisiana
16 New York Liberty | Ashley Houts | Georgia
17 San Antonio Silver Stars | Alysha Clark | Middle Tennessee
18 Washington Mystics | Shanavia Dowdell | Louisiana Tech
19 Tulsa Shock | Amanda Thompson | Oklahoma
20 Los Angeles Sparks | Angel Robinson | Georgia
21 Atlanta Dream | Brigitte Ardossi | Georgia Tech
22 Seattle Storm | Tanisha Smith | Texas A&M
23 Indiana Fever | Armelie Lumanu | Mississippi State
24 Phoenix Mercury | Tyra Grant | Penn State
25 New York Liberty | Cory Montgomery | Nebraska
26 Minnesota Lynx | Gabriela Marginean | Drexel
27 Connecticut Sun | Johannah Leedham | Franklin Pierce
28 Chicago Sky | Abi Olajuwon | Oklahoma
29 San Antonio Silver Stars | Alexis Rack | Mississippi State
30 Washington Mystics | Alexis Gray-Lawson | California
31 Tulsa Shock | Vivian Frieson | Gonzaga
32 Los Angeles Sparks | Rashidat Junaid | Rutgers
33 Atlanta Dream | Brittainey Raven | Texas
34 Seattle Storm| Tijana Krivacevic | Hungary
35 Indiana Fever | Joy Cheek | Duke
36 Phoenix Mercury | Nyeshia Stevenson | Oklahoma
SLAMonline’s 2010 WNBA Draft Grades
Who They Got: Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin, Danielle McCray, Allison Hightower, Johannah Leedham
Analysis: You’re telling me the Sun got Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin (via trade), Danielle McCray, AND Allison Hightower? They might not have any draft picks in 2011, but who needs them with the extremely talented and young core group of players they managed to snag? The Sun is a young team, but the amount of basketball ability they have collectively is almost unbelievable. I’m not going to get too enthusiastic as it will take an unprecedented turn of events for them to beat out an experienced team like the Indiana Fever in the Playoffs. Still, the future looks incredibly bright for the Sun (no pun intended).
Who They Got: Monica Wright, Gabriela Marginean
Analysis: Monica Wright is a phenomenal talent and will thrive under Cheryl Reeve’s mix of high-powered offense with disciplined defense. She’s a big guard and should benefit from Lindsay Whalen’s leadership and patience with the basketball. Seeing her mesh with Seimone Augustus and the rest of the Lynx stars will be exciting to watch as the season progresses. Wright will help in multiple areas with as versatile as she is and is just another talented piece to the Lynx’s puzzle. They’re young, but their collective basketball IQ makes up for that.
Who They Got: Epiphanny Prince, Abi Olajuwon
Analysis: They needed some scoring power with the loss of Candice Dupree and they got it with Epiphanny Prince. Shameka Christon will win over the Sky fans quickly, but they’ll need additional firepower to grab one of the four Eastern Conference Playoff spots. Abi Olajuwon should be a nice bench player and has a WNBA-ready body. Steven Key has a tough task ahead of him as he tries to identify what style of play he’ll run, but he has all the necessary ingredients for a high-scoring and effective offense. I still think the key to their season rests on Sylvia Fowles shoulders.
SAN ANTONIO SILVER STARS
Who They Got: Jayne Appel, Alysha Clark, Alexis Rack
Analysis: Quietly, the Silver Stars had one of the best drafts of the day. Jayne Appel will prove to be a force in the paint as she returns to health (something they sorely needed with Wauters sitting the season out) and Alysha Clark will be a strong compliment to Sophia Young on the perimeter. Essentially, the Silver Stars addressed every area they needed to in the off-season. They needed another scorer and added Roneeka Hodges and Alysha Clark. They needed post help and added Jayne Appel. Becky Hammon now has multiple options and some of the pressure for her to score will be alleviated. Look for Alysha Clark to turn some heads offensively.
Who They Got: Jacinta Monroe, Jenna Smith, Shanavia Dowdell, Alexis Gray-Lawson
Analysis: Washington needed help in the paint and both Jacinta Monroe and Jenna Smith were fantastic selections. They have enough scoring power in Alana Beard and now Katie Smith, but their glaring need was post help; they solidified both their frontcourt and backcourt in the off-season and through the draft, and will be a difficult team to face come Playoff time.
Who They Got: Amanda Thompson, Vivian Frieson
Analysis: Not much to say here. Amanda Thompson is a fine player; I’m unsure she’ll be the right fit under Nolan Richardson. Still, there will be plenty of opportunities for Thompson and Frieson to make an impact on the Shock as they attempt to find their identity with the personnel they have. I just don’t feel that they got any better with their selections. Sure, they traded their first round pick to the Sun (who took Danielle McCray) for veteran players, but they still need a bona fide leader.
LOS ANGELES SPARKS
Who They Got: Andrea Riley, Bianca Thomas, Angel Robinson, Rashidat Junaid
Analysis: Andrea Riley will be a surprisingly nice addition to the Sparks. Personally, I expected them to draft someone like Allison Hightower at this spot, but with the amount of talent Andrea Riley has I can’t blame them. They improved their backcourt with Riley and Thomas but the Sparks still have a glaring weakness in the paint with the loss of Lisa Leslie. Will Angel Robinson be able to help fill that void? Time will tell.
Who They Got: Alison Lacey, Tanisha Smith, Tijana Krivacevic
Analysis: In typical Storm fashion, the team had another solid draft all-around. Alison Lacey is a fantastic choice to back-up Sue Bird at the PG position, something they haven’t had in multiple years. They also lacked depth along the perimeter and added Tanisha Smith who is a versatile wing player. While their picks won’t create as much buzz as other teams, the Storm successfully addressed the areas they needed to.
NEW YORK LIBERTY
Who They Got: Kalana Greene, Ashley Houts, Cory Montgomery
Analysis: I’m still a bit surprised Kalana Greene dropped as far as she did, but the New York Liberty was certainly happy she fell to the 2nd round. Greene gives the Liberty much needed depth in the front court with the loss of Shameka Christon. They took Ashley Houts with their 2nd pick who is a fine player but I feel they needed to address their rebounding deficiency a bit more than they did.
Who They Got: Chanel Mokango, Brigitte Ardossi, Brittainey Raven
Analysis: The Dream is loaded with talent so they didn’t have any glaring needs they wanted to address. Thus, they took the best player available in Chanel Mokango. They did lack some depth at the 3 and 4 positions and Mokango is a versatile forward who defends well and can create her own shot. With Angel McCoughtry poised for a breakout season, Mokango should be a solid addition to compliment the young team. They’ll need a collective effort to get past the Fever, Mystics, Sun, and the Liberty.
Who They Got: Jene Morris, Armelie Lumanu, Joy Cheek
Analysis: Believe it or not, the Fever immediately became even better defensively with Morris, Lumanu, and Cheek. Jene Morris is a tenacious defender and will fit perfectly under Lin Dunn’s system. Although their selections don’t carry the weight of some of the other big names, they always seem to find a way to integrate their rookies quickly and effectively. No one is talking about the Fever this offseason, especially with all the noise the Sun is making, but they quietly gained depth at key positions that will help them have another successful season in 2010.
Who They Got: Tyra Grant, Nyeshia Stevenson
Analysis: The Mercury didn’t have much wiggle room with their two picks but certainly got the firepower they always look for in both Grant and Stevenson. Both are phenomenal scorers who attack the basket with ferocity and Corey Gaines loves that type of player. They also are known as hard workers and team players which are mandatory qualities if you’re going to be a member of the Mercury. Perhaps more importantly, both Grant and Stevenson are driven to always improve; and who better to learn from than Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor.