A lot has changed in the three months since my last mock draft. With free agency mostly settled, it’s time to check in again on the college players. This time, I called upon friend, colleague, and fellow Chicagoan Rachel Galligan to join me in a joint mock draft!
Rachel and I sat down to discuss and debate how team needs and draft order have affected the current draft landscape. (As a refresher, get caught up on Rachel’s mock draft from November.)
Let’s do this!
Note: Conversation edited for brevity and clarity.
1. Indiana Fever — Aliyah Boston
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Boston Galligan’s Previous Pick: Boston
Matt Cohen: Where is Indiana at, and what are their needs?
Rachel Galligan: It’s hard because they’ve got so much youth from last year’s draft class and so much talent. I mean, with Smith and Egbo you have the type of franchise forwards you can build around, but they don’t have a true, true, dominant center. You can add a true center; but, it’s hard for me to think of Indiana doing anything other than Aliyah Boston here, although I love the challenge of thinking outside of the box and going in a different direction. I’m curious to hear what you’re going to say.
Cohen: I kind of want to go in a different direction, but the options aren’t there. Indiana could use a point guard, but they need more of an established point guard than a rookie. You can’t galaxy brain this—is there anyone that’s clearly better than Boston? I just don’t see it.
Galligan: It’s a safe bet. You have a chance to take a franchise player who you can build around.
2. Minnesota Lynx — Diamond Miller
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Elizabeth Kitley Galligan’s Previous Pick: Kitley
Cohen: I feel like this could go in so many different directions, but I said it in November—Sylvia Fowles left a hole in Minnesota. Now, they need to find some front court depth, someone who can play well next to Napheesa Collier. What do you think?
Galligan: This one’s so hard for me. They haven’t been able to secure what they need in the front court in free agency. This team still needs a point guard to facilitate and run this team, so those are the two holes I’m looking at. How can you address that through this draft class?
We’ve talked about Liz Kitley. This isn’t a big draft for post players. At the same time, I’m not as in love with the Kitley choice anymore because I’m starting to question their guard play. They need a facilitator. A lot of people have Haley Jones at number two. I’m not in love with that either. At this point, I think you have a strong case that Diamond Miller is the best player available. With that number two pick, you have to get massive potential, high ceiling, and to me, right now, that’s Diamond Miller.
Cohen: Looking at this team, you do have a lot of holes across the board, so maybe the big isn’t what you go get right away. The more you talk about it, the more I think it does make sense to go with Miller.
3. Dallas Wings (from ATL) — Rickea Jackson
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Haley Jones Galligan’s Previous Pick: Jones
Cohen: Dallas—what do you see as their needs?
Galligan: I think it’s that athletic wing; you just lost Allisha Gray and shooting potential with the Mabrey trade. A slashing wing who can score and go get their own bucket or a sharpshooter. I think they need Diamond Miller, if she falls, Taylor Mikesell, or Rickea Jackson. With Mabrey now gone, this team needs a player who can get their own points, too. I like Jackson for this pick because she fills both those needs.
Cohen: Yeah, it makes sense to me. Jackson is a bucket and should fit nicely as a scoring option on this team.
4. Washington Mystics (Pick Swap with ATL via LA) — Taylor Mikesell
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Ashley Joens Galligan’s Previous Pick: Miller
Cohen: For me, their need is an offensive creator who can stretch the floor. I’m not confident right now in saying Eric Thibault will fix the offensive woes, so you need someone who can be a plus offensive talent, especially because they didn’t address it in free agency to this point. My pick is Mikesell here. Conventional pick is Jordan Horston, but it’s Coach T (or General Manager T these days), so he’s going to zig when others would zag. What do you think?
Galligan: Washington always comes with some out-of-the-box picks, so who is that in this draft? I agree it’s got to be someone who can create their own shot and score, and is not a liability on defense. I think Mikesell fills something this Mystics team doesn’t have. I like it; I want to mix it up, so let’s do it.
5. Dallas Wings (from CHI via PHX) — Haley Jones
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Jackson Galligan’s Previous Pick: Joens
Cohen: When this was Chicago’s, I had Horston here in this mock. But now who do we think Dallas takes?
Galligan: Given all the moves they’ve made, it’s clear Dallas has beefed up its front court presence. The bigger question is: who’s going to shoot for this team?
Cohen: Exactly right. I also think this team doesn’t have a true facilitator. While I can certainly see them giving Veronica Burton every opportunity, I think Dallas won’t be able to pass on taking Jones, if she’s here.
Galligan: Makes a lot of sense. Jones’ impact on the game would bring a new element to this Wing’s roster on both ends of the floor, from a versatility standpoint. Being able to defend and play multiple positions could be a real asset and compliment to Dallas’ stars. If by chance Jones is available at No. 5, I don’t think Dallas could afford to pass her up.
6. Atlanta Dream (from CON via NYL) — Elizabeth Kitley
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Miller Galligan’s Previous Pick: Jacy Sheldon
Cohen: When this was Connecticut’s pick, we had Kitley here. Why do we keep her here?
Galligan: Bigs are their need, even with Cheyenne Parker roaming the paint. They can try and address it immediately and also add a future piece, both within the first round.
Cohen: I was just going to say, I still think this is the spot where Kitley goes.
Galligan: If you look at size, you have Amihere, Ajha Blackwell, and Monika Czinano, but none of them I’d feel would fit at this point in the draft. Maybe a Jessika Carter?
Cohen: This high?
Galligan: Maybe, but I still feel it’s Kitley here. It’s a perfect place for her and can’t be passed up, given what Atlanta needs to address.
Cohen: Right. And with Parker’s contract set to expire after the 2023 season, who knows if she’ll be back. Kitley makes a lot of sense here for what Atlanta needs.
7. Indiana Fever (from DAL) — Jordan Horston
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Madi Williams Galligan’s Previous Pick: Grace Berger
Cohen: My thought is Indiana’s going to want a scorer. I thought maybe Madi Williams?
Galligan: I’m not as high on Williams here. What about a point guard?
Cohen: Do they have faith in Destanni Henderson / Kristy Wallace to step up?
Galligan: What I’m really getting at is I want them to draft Grace Berger.
Cohen: *smiling with great excitement* You’re just doing that because she’d be right there in Indiana!
Galligan: Kind of. Berger’s really good. Thinking it through, though, Horston makes the most sense because they don’t have her on this roster. You need someone who can go get their own points.
8. Atlanta Dream (Pick Swap with WSH) — Stephanie Soares
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Maddy Siegrist Galligan’s Previous Pick: Jackson
Cohen: Size is what Atlanta needs more than anything right now, still?
Galligan: Yes, they need size, and I’m going to trust my gut on this one. You have an opportunity to get a unicorn in this draft, to get her rights and bring her in a year from now— Stephanie Soares. I think it’s a great pick, even at eight. If she officially declares and is denied an NCAA waiver, she’s going to get taken at some point,despite her injury. With Kitley at No. 6, you can have a future piece here. Allow her to get healthy and continue to develop. What she brings to the table is so rare. Is Atlanta willing to take her at this spot and play the long game? I would.
Cohen: You need someone to back up Cheyenne Parker, and I agree. This is a quality pick, healthy or not.
9. Seattle Storm — Charisma Osbourne
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Dyaisha Fair Galligan’s Previous Pick: Fair
Cohen: Even with Stewie now in New York, I see Seattle going with a point guard here.
Galligan: You don’t think there’s an argument for Charisma Osbourne, even though she’s more of an off-guard?
Cohen: You’re going to make me put her here, aren’t you?
Galligan: I’m not, but let’s think about it. I like her better than Dyaisha Fair. I wish Jacy Sheldon was healthy (and hopefully we get to see more of her soon). I know they need a true point guard, but just not sure I see one here. It’s not a great point guard class. Seattle could go size here, but at this point, a combo guard makes the most sense.
Cohen: I hate this pick, but it’s the right one here.
10. Los Angeles Sparks (from CON) — Lou Lopez Senechal
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Dre’Una Edwards Galligan’s Previous Pick: Aijha Blackwell
Galligan: We need to start bringing the name to the first round table—Lou Lopez Senechal. LA could use perimeter scoring. If Mikesell falls this far, they would likely take her. They want someone who can shoot the basketball, who can be fundamental. They want a culture piece who they can build around. I think Senechal is a safe bet.
Cohen: Yeah, I like this a lot. She’s really taken off playing for Geno at UConn, and I think she’s the kind of player that checks all the right buttons for LA. They need to make the right decision with this pick, and Senechal to me is exactly that.
11. Dallas Wings (from IND via CHI) — Maddy Siegrist
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Ashley Owusu Galligan’s Previous Pick: Soares
Cohen: Dallas again. If we assume they get Jackson and Jones earlier, they still need plenty of shooting to surround these interior players. Who’s that going to be?
Galligan: I like the idea of adding a shooter, but not someone dimensional.
Cohen: So, who is that?
Galligan: As literally the best scorer in the nation, we know Maddie Siegrist can flat-out score. Now, how that translates to the pros is to be determined, but her ability to manufacture points and stretch defenses is unlike anyone else. Dallas getting her at No. 11? I would go for it.
Cohen: I’ve liked Siegrist in the first for a while now. Glad to see you come around on her!
12. Minnesota Lynx (from LVA) — Grace Berger
Cohen’s Previous Pick: Blackwell Galligan’s Previous Pick: Osbourne
Cohen: Who are the best players left? Zia Cooke? Ashley Joens? Amihere? Celeste Taylor or Madi Williams?
Galligan: We know they need guard play, so I can see Jacy Sheldon, Grace Berger, or Celeste Taylor.
Cohen: I think the better pick is Berger. Call me biased, but she’s been sensational this year for the Hoosiers, even after missing a stretch with a knee injury.
Galligan: I agree. Minnesota needs to do this draft right. They need a guard. They need a solid, skilled, competitive, tough guard who will have longevity in this league. Berger best fills the need for Minnesota right now.
All stats as of 2/23. Unless otherwise noted, player stats are from ESPN.com
Your Mystics pick is not what they need. USF F/C Dulsy …. will give them power rebounding and scoring. She’s 6-4 and strong. Mystics have enough guards.