What's your initial assessment looking after looking over the picks?
: "Unlike other years, there weren't a whole lot of surprises. Everyone fell in line where we thought we would be.
"I think the biggest mumble that I heard among the crowd was what happened to [Penn State guard] Kelly Mazzante. 'Why did she fall through to the second round?' As I looked back through the picks, I realized there were a lot of forwards and centers. People were going big. You had the obvious guards -- Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard and Lindsay Whalen went early. We all knew they were going before hand and sometimes, that's just the way it falls in line. They didn't start picking up guards again until the second round, and that's where [Mazzante] fell in."
Jones believes Brunson will thrive in Sacramento.|
Nathaniel S. Butler
(Editor's note: The Charlotte Sting selected Mazzante with the fifth pick of the second round, 18th overall pick
Why the late first round trend toward bigger players?
Jones: "Because size is one of those things you just can't teach, and you need to get it while you can. It's such a big factor in the WNBA, and not just size, but when you get someone who has size like a [No. 10 pick] Rebekkak Brunson, who has great size for a guard. [No. 11 pick] Iciss Tillis has great size, but she has great finesse as well.
"It depends on what teams are looking for. If you want bulk and size in the middle, that's one thing, but there were a lot of players, [No. 5 pick] Shameka Christon comes to mind, [No. 8 selection] Chandi Jones comes to mind, Rebekkah Brunson, all of them have the ability to be versatile from their guard are small forward spots."
One of the more intriguing picks of the first round was Tillis to the Shock. What do you think?
Jones: "I had a feeling Iciss would go there, because [Shock coach] Bill Laimbeer made it clear that he wants the best athlete available. And as you got down to that 10th or 11th pick, I'm looking around the crowd to see who's the best athlete available, it's definitely her. She'll give you size in the paint, and even though she's not a hard post player, she has the ability to shoot the basketball. And that versatility totally works in that system."
You said no surprises at the top, but can they make an immediate impact?
Jones: "Yes, obviously, Diana Taurasi from a leadership standpoint can make the biggest impact. The most curious thing to me is, are there enough basketballs to go around in Washington. Alana Beard has had to carry a team for so long, four years, and now she walks into the likes of a Chamique Holdsclaw and that's not going to be necessary. And now they have "Action" [Tamicha] Jackson at the point, so if [Beard] can slip into a two-guard position and be comfortable there, I think she can make a big impact in Washington.
"And that's the key for Washington is to have a guard who can defend, who can get you a couple of quick baskets off steals. They're going to be tough if she can work into the system and they have the right type of chemistry."
Was there in pick in the first round that was particularly sly?
Jones: "I like Rebekkah Brunson out of Georgetown. She's versatile, she's athletic, she can shoot the ball, she runs the floor well, she makes good decisions. She's headed out to Sacramento and it ought to be awesome because I'm thinking of all the talent they already have out there. She's another one who doesn't have to come in and be the star. She can come in and be a side dish, so to speak. She'll work well."
This is one of the deeper drafts. Is there another player who fell to the second round that surprised you?
At 6-5, Tillis is a versatile player who can play in the post or on the perimeter.|
Nathaniel S. Butler
: "Ashley Robinson, she's borderline. (Editor's note: Robinson was the first pick of the second round
) I thought she may go before [No. 12 pick] Christi Thomas, maybe even before [No. 13 pick] Shereka Wright, because of [Robinson's] size at 6-5 and coming from a good defensive program and she only fell to 14, one pick below.
"And because of her size and I thought a lot of people would be looking for bigs, I thought she may go a little earlier."
Phoenix picked up a little bit of everything, didn't they?
Jones: "Phoenix did well, anyone who gets Taurasi does well. But they also picked up Chandi Jones. They did well because they covered all bases. They have a good one-two guard in Taurasi, a good two-three in Jones and they have Robinson who can play in the post. They did themselves well in the draft.
"They're still young, and they may still struggle this year. We'll see how good Diana Taurasi is in her ability to be a leader, because they lacked chemistry last year, but they definitely have talent."
How did your analysis before the Draft correlate with today's picks?
Jones: "As we were going along, the first four we kind of knew. We said the Liberty needed a good-sized three and they picked that up with Shameka Christon. I thought it may have been Chandi Jones or Rebekkah Brunson, but they're all similar players.
"Minnesota has great guards and they need firepower in the paint, so they did well in picking up Nicole Ohlde. Indiana was a surprise. Ebony Hoffman, I guess she was on the list. But she was a definite surprise. People I spoke to -- coaches, players, people in the know -- no one mentioned the name Ebony Hoffman, so I'll be interested to see. That one snuck under the radar."
Are there any instances of the rich getting richer in this draft?
Jones: "This draft is the one year that will make the difference, it's the one where we'll start see even more parity in the league. We'll see another team like Detroit -- it could be Phoenix if they gel quickly. It could be Washington, they've always been right there. They picked up Beard, they picked up Kaayla Chones, who is another great player. I think this is the first year where we're not going to say, 'OK, it's Houston or L.A. Or in the East it's going to be New York.'
"It's anybody's game. This is the first draft that will help this league gain true parity."