We’re now a couple weeks away from the 2020 WNBA Draft, but things will look a little different this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic robbing so many of their “One Shining Moment,” there’s still a bitter taste in the mouths of basketball fans in addition to a plethora of lingering “what ifs” pertaining to the tournament. However, we all understand public health is the priority no matter how disappointing.
The 2019-2020 college hoops season presented us with a lot of strong showings from draft prospects. We had everything ranging from amazing buzzer-beaters, broken records, calm leadership, 90ft heaves, dramatic blocks and more. It’s safe to say it was an interesting and exciting ride.
Looking ahead to draft night, let’s focus on where we are now. Conference play allowed many to improve their stock, while also possibly causing a few dips on the other hand. A wild WNBA Free Agency has also altered team needs along with draft positions. There’s also been some shakeup due to some star juniors (with the possibility of a few more) declaring to skip their final seasons.
1.) New York – Sabrina Ionescu
Oregon, 5-11 guard, 2019-20 stats: 17.5 points per game (PPG), 8.6 rebounds per game (RPG), 9.1 assists per game (APG).
Trying to define worst-kept secret? Look it up and you’ll see a picture of “Miss Triple-Double” beside it. It seems to be a lock that Ionescu will start her professional career in Brooklyn and get to call Barclays Arena home. The Liberty have hired Walt Hopkins to lead the team and usher in what is hopefully a winning era. With a new staff and system, how will Ionescu’s role be defined to help turn around a team that has missed the playoffs for the past two seasons?
While her scoring may have dipped a little, she is still averaging over 17 and averaged a career high in both rebounds and assists. Put the pieces around her, Sabrina finds the open player while also possessing the ability to create her own shot. She’s known for breaking records, which is evidenced by becoming the first Division 1 player to hit the 2K-1K-1K mark. New York loves a superstar, and Sabrina seems to be just the one the franchise needs – on and off the court.
2.) Dallas – Satou Sabally
Oregon, 6-4 forward, 2019-20 stats: 16.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.3 APG
When Sabally announced that she would enter the draft in late February, the top of the draft immediately shifted. She presents versatile scoring with an added bonus of size. It’ll be fun to watch her in a faster-paced and more physical pro setting. With a pro-ready frame, some argue that she could be the best overall player in this draft with the highest ceiling. With the Wings losing Glory Johnson in free agency, Sabally provides similar mobility. Averaging just under 40% in her career from deep, she gives the Wings a reliable scorer that’s able to stretch the floor along with taking on her defender off the dribble.
3.) Indiana – Lauren Cox
Baylor, 6-4 forward, 2019-20 stats: 12.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.7 BPG
Cox missed nearly two months of play after experiencing an injury. However, there’s no denying her talent. She thrives in the high-low game, and the Fever already have a powerful post player in Teaira McCowan to pair her up with. Could conditioning be a concern with two injuries in a six month span? When in the paint, Cox presents the ability to defend along with being able to knock down the occasional three. If she’s doubled, her passing ability is admirable for a post player as she averages over three dimes per game.
4.) Atlanta – Chennedy Carter
Texas A&M, 5-7 guard, 2019-20 stats: 21.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.5 APG
“Big Shot” Chennedy Carter. In a move that was heavily expected, Carter recently announced that she’ll skip her senior season for her shot at the pros. She’s arguably the most electrifying scorer in this year’s draft class, and there’s not a moment she’s afraid of. Normally shooting in the mid 30% range from deep, Carter experienced a bit of a dip this season at just over 25%.
However, her aggressive play and willingness to attack the paint enables her the opportunity to create her shot in other areas and still lead the nation as one of the top scorers. Atlanta was at the bottom of the league in offense last season, and this could be the jolt that they could be looking for. Whether she’s the lead guard or playing off the ball, she immediately makes them a better scoring team. With the recent acquisition of Shekinna Stricklen, it could very well be raining threes from multiple positions in “HOT LANTA”.
5.) Dallas – Ruthy Hebard
Oregon, 6-4 forward, 2019-20 stats: 17.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG
Another Duck will be off the board. Hebard’s shooting a career high of 69% from the field and she’s increased her production in nearly every category. One of the only traditional post players in this draft class, Hebard does most of her work in the paint which could allow opportunities for the open shooter if Hebard is subjected to double teams. Hebard’s efficiency and size will be a plus for Coach Agler’s squad.
6.) Minnesota – Tyasha Harris
South Carolina, 5-10 forward, 2019-20 stats: 12 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.5 RPG
One of the biggest risers this season has to be the point guard from the top ranked team in college hoops. She’s a pass-first point guard that understands what it means to control the pace, but became more aggressive with her offense in her senior year. Knocking it down from deep at a career-high of just under 40%, she can score in multiple ways. She’s a pesky defender with quick hands averaging a couple swipes per game, and is able to efficiently lead the fast break with her court vision. With recent departures and developments at their guard role, Harris could provide solid ball handling for the Lynx — potentially right away.
7.) Dallas – Te’a Cooper
Baylor, 5-8 guard, 2019-20 stats: 13.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.3 APG
Cooper presents strength, defense, and shooting (she shot 42% from deep). Because of her frame, she’s able to take attack the paint against smaller players. With the Wings looking to have Jefferson suit up as their starting point guard, Cooper’s able to provide good minutes in a reserve role. There still lingers the question of whether point guard or shooting guard suits her best. Cooper is very capable of both depending on matchup. Having more scoring threats around her (Arike, Katie Lou, etc.) could limit the pressure to score along with reducing the turnovers. She’s played under multiple systems (Tennessee, South Carolina & Baylor), so it’ll be unique to see how that shapes her professional game.
8.) Chicago – Crystal Dangerfield
Connecticut, 5-5 guard, 2019-20 stats: 14.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG 3.7 APG
Another solid point guard from UConn, Dangerfield is the latest of floor generals coming out of Storrs to the league. She has big game experience, and the strength for her stature makes it easy to attack and draw the foul where she’s currently connecting on 86% from the charity stripe. Dangerfield can flat-out shoot (41% from deep) which should fit well in the Chicago offense. The pressure of not having to lead a team would be beneficial in her rookie year, but will get the chance to learn from Vandersloot as a reserve guard.
9.) Dallas – Bella Alarie
Princeton, 6-4 forward, 2019-20 stats: 17.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 BPG
Length, defense, and scoring. As the Ivy League’s best player, Alarie is also one of the best in the nation. She missed a few games due to minor injuries, but lead the Princeton Tigers to a final No. 22 ranking. Alarie’s scoring and rebounding have both dipped this season, but only due to having more help to shoulder the scoring load. She provides size and, as in previous seasons, often will control the offense. Due to her frame and ability to bring the ball up the court, I’ve likened her to Candace Parker or Elena Delle Donne. She’d give the Wings another versatile post player – capable of playing on the perimeter. Alarie adds extra production on both ends of the court, and should fit well in Agler’s defense.
10.) Phoenix – Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan
South Carolina, 6-2 forward, 2019-20 stats: 13.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 BPG
Insert “Mad Kiki” here. Calm, cool, and pretty quiet and collected away from the court, but an aggressive force on it. A big piece of South Carolina’s much talked about “#BlockParty,” Herbert-Harrigan was the emotional leader for the Gamecocks. However, she’s more than defense. Now comfortably shooting nearly 44% from behind the arc, she’s able to take over games on both ends for stretches. Like former Mercury player Candice Dupree, she is legitimate threat as a stretch and versatile forward equipped with a seemingly automatic baseline jumper. She’s an undersized post player, but makes up for it with athleticism and hustle plays and averaged a career best in points and rebounds. Her speed and footwork afford her the ability to defend all positions on the court.
With the departure of Bonner, Herbert-Harrigan will provide efficiency and scoring in the small forward position. You already have the fiery personalities of Taurasi, Griner, and Diggins-Smith, so “Mad Kiki” should fit right in for Coach Brondello as she’d quickly become an X-Factor fan-favorite.
11.) Seattle – Beatrice Mompremier
Miami, 6-4 forward, 2019-20 stats: 16.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG 1.7 BPG
Mompremier from the U would be a solid fit here. She’s one of the most athletic players in this draft class, and she’s a fan of securing the loose balls. Hustle. Strength. Defense. Adding her rebounding ability complements the return of Stewie. With her unbelievable motor, you’re able to throw her in the pick and roll where she connects on over 52% of her shots. She missed significant time due to injury at the beginning of ACC play. But she returned and picked back up right where she left off. Capable of contributing a double-double, her defense bolsters an already solid Storm team looking for their second championship (fourth overall) in three seasons.
12.) Washington – Megan Walker
Connecticut, 6-1 forward, 2019-20 stats: 19.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG
Walker was a bit of a surprise when she declared. However, she has a high ceiling which Coach Thibault seems to appreciate. The Mystics will miss Toliver’s shooting, but Walker can help replace that as she averaged over 45% from deep this past season. She’s an athletic player that loves the open court. Walker will be another guard with size on the Mystics’ roster, but that just makes matchups more dangerous as they’re loaded with versatile players. They return the majority of their championship roster, so Walker will be able to ease into her development.
Other potential (senior) first-round picks: Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State) Chante Stonewall (DePaul), Erica Ogwumike (Rice), Japreece Dean (UCLA), Kaila Charles (Maryland), Joyner Holmes (Texas), Kiah Gillespie (Florida State), and Tynice Martin (West Virginia).
With more underclassmen considering declaring, things could change in a couple weeks before draft. Tune in to ESPN on April 17th at 7pm ET to find out where your favorite player is headed. Make sure you follow @thewinsidr on twitter and subscribe to Winsidr’s Patreon to hear about our draft coverage.