WNBA Mock Draft
The WNBA Draft is Monday. We take our shot at a mock draft.
by Stephen Litel / @stephenlitel
It’s that time of year, WNBA fans. The 2012 WNBA draft is Monday, April 16. This year’s draft is quite interesting due to the teams making the early selections, as many of the teams making early picks are also teams with great expectations heading into the season. Because of that fact, it would not be a surprise to see draft day trades, but we’ll take a look at the current draft order and provide our mock draft of the first round.
Let’s start the conversation below in the comment section and, of course, always feel free to give me a follow on Twitter to chat there as well. What player(s) would you like to see your team end up with from this year’s draft?
Here we go…
1. Los Angeles (15-19) – Nnemkadi Ogwumike / PF – Stanford
This pick has been set in stone for a while now. What is interesting about it though is the moves the Sparks have made already this off-season, acquiring Nicky Anosike, Alana Beard, and Marissa Coleman. Those three new players partnering with Candace Parker, Delisha Milton-Jones, Ebony Hoffman and Jantel Lavender will make playing time for rookie Ogwumike difficult to acquire. “Nneka” is talented enough to play more than one position, most likely at power forward and small forward in the WNBA, so that gives her a better opportunity to find time on the court.
2. Seattle from Chicago (14-20) – Shenise Johnson / SG – Miami (FL)
The Storm took the risk of trading away Swin Cash in an effort to get more youth on their team, attempting to think a few years ahead while still being able to compete now. Signing Tina Thompson helps to fill the hole left by Cash and Willingham, but finding a young player who can contribute now and possibly become someone to build around in the future is key. Johnson is a great candidate to fill that role, as she is a very versatile player, capable of playing three positions on the court. Having the opportunity to learn from veterans like Katie Smith, Tanisha Wright and Sue Bird will only help Johnson become a fine player in the WNBA.
3. Minnesota from Washington – Glory Johnson / PF – Tennessee
The reigning champs are selecting third in the draft? That’s just not fair…or proof Roger Griffith has made great moves in recent years. The Lynx are set at many positions, obviously, but one of their few weaknesses is depth off the bench in the post. Now that Charde Houston has moved on to Phoenix, Minnesota needs to address that depth off the bench. Johnson is a perfect fit into Cheryl Reeve’s system of defense and rebounding leading to the offense and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her immediately jump past Amber Harris in the rotation. Partnering with Jessica Adair as Minnesota’s post players off the bench, the Lynx would have a solid, young rotation to partner with their established veterans.
4. Tulsa (3-31) – Shekinna Stricklen / SF – Tennessee
Normally, a team that had as rough of a year as the Shock had last year would end up with the first pick in the draft, but this year isn’t the case. However, Tulsa is still going to end up with a player who should be a great fit for their team in Shekinna Sticklen. More than versatile, Stricklen will immediately become a starter for the Shock, but the question will be at which position? It may end up being another rough season as a whole for Tulsa, but adding a player of Sticklen’s talents to the mix is a great addition.
5. San Antonio (18-16) – Devereaux Peters / PF –Notre Dame
After two straight seasons without any issues surrounding her knees—which were very troublesome at one point—Peters stock has risen to the point of being Dan Hughes choice at number five. San Antonio needs size, rebounding and defense in the post, as those areas were some of the most striking deficiencies in San Antonio’s attack last year. Peters should become a quick fixture in San Antonio’s lineup, but also has a tremendous opportunity to learn from veteran Tangela Smith, who also arrived in San Antonio this off-season.
6. Phoenix (19-15) – Riquna Williams / PG – Miami (FL)
Departing players Temeka Johnson, Ketia Swanier and the loss of Penny Taylor for the season create a need for the Mercury on the perimeter. Riquna Williams can score the ball from either guard position and would be a perfect fit into Phoenix’s up-tempo system. What may make this a perfect selection for the Mercury is the fact she fits an immediate need for the 2012 season, but will also be able to play a significant role in the future when Taylor is able to return to the team. Whether or not Phoenix would have made the same selection if their pick was higher in the draft doesn’t change the fact Williams is an ideal fit in their system.
7. New York (19-15) – Vicki Baugh / F – Tennessee
The Liberty brought in Kelly Miller to back up Leilani Mitchell this off-season, addressing one of their biggest needs already. Because of that, New York has plenty of options at this selection. Players such as Natalie Novosel and Samantha Prahalis will still be on the board, but if they are to address another glaring issue it will be in the post and select Baugh. New York has a good amount of players who would be ahead of Baugh in the rotation, but that would give her the opportunity to learn and come along slowly.
8. Washington from Atlanta (20-14) – Samantha Prahalis / PG – Ohio State
By talent alone, the most unfortunate drop in the draft due to good team’s selecting more by need than by needing to acquire big talent is the fall to this spot of Samantha Prahalis. Of course, the Mystics don’t see this as unfortunate, as they will receive a steal this far into the draft, filling a major need with a fine player. Washington had a great turnaround of their roster this off-season and essentially is starting from scratch. Doing so with a more than solid point guard to run the show is a good start.
9. Connecticut (21-13) – Natalie Novosel / SG – Notre Dame
If New York does, in fact, take somewhat of a flyer on Vicki Baugh, the Sun will be quite happy. They will end up with a player who would go much higher in a normal draft out of the trio of Prahalis, Tiffany Hayes and Novosel. It may be difficult for the Sun not to select the UConn player in Hayes, but Novosel would address one of this young team’s biggest needs in three-point shooting. While adding another young player to this already-youthful, but talented team may not be the most ideal situation, but with the addition of Sidney Spencer to address outside shooting already, the Sun can afford to add Novosel for even more depth.
10. Washington from Seattle (21-13) – LaSondra Barrett / F – Louisiana State
The Mystics would be very happy with how the draft played out if, in fact, this is the way it goes, as they will have the opportunity to add yet another good, young player to their mix in Barrett. For a team that has nowhere to go but up, Washington continues to add the best talent available and Barrett’s versatility will make her incredibly valuable to the new-look Mystics.
11. Indiana (21-13) – Sasha Goodlett / F – Georgia Tech
Rebounding. Pure and simple, that’s what the Indiana Fever are looking to address before the season tips off. Goodlett fits the mold with her size being 6’5” and rebounding prowess. Who knows what would have happened last year without Catchings injury, but it is difficult to imagine the Fever defeating the Lynx in the Finals with how poorly they rebound the ball. Catchings returns, but Tangela Smith departs, opening up the spot for Goodlett to come in and do what she does best. This is an excellent pick for the Fever.
12. Minnesota (27-7) – Tiffany Hayes / G – Connecticut
Again, if this is, in fact, how the draft plays out, it is very difficult to imagine Hayes falling out of the first round. While she does not fit a need for the Lynx, she becomes a valuable asset in a trade. It would not be a surprise at all to see Minnesota trade this pick to acquire a post player who can block shots, rebound and defend behind Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Adding Glory Johnson earlier in the draft helps, but Minnesota will still look to address their inside presence, as the perimeter spots are locked up.