Seth Sulka has guided the day-to-day operations of the Phoenix Mercury since its inception in 1997. The team's general manager and vice president of operations recently spoke with WNBA News about a variety of topics, inlcuding the upcoming season, his search for a new head coach, and who the team will select with the first overall pick.
Q: Speculation on who you are going to pick with the No. 1 pick?
"We’ve thrown around a lot of ideas. There’s a kid at Duke who’s pretty good; there’s a kid at UConn who’s pretty good. (Laughs.) We’re going to take Diana (Taurasi). We’re really excited that we were able to win the lottery in December. We pretty much felt the whole time that we’re going to go with Diana, and we didn’t see anything during the college season that would have changed our minds. It’s going to be good to make it official Saturday."
Q: You also have the No. 8 pick, and in this deep draft should net you another good player.
"It’s interesting because for most of the years in this league, our 14th pick would have been a first-round pick as well when we had 16 teams in the league. So the way we look at it we have one, eight and 14 – three first-round picks, in essence, in a year when the collegiate talent is as deep as it has been. We feel we will get a really good player at eight, and another good player at 14.
Q: What are you going to do at eight?
"At eight, we’re going to look for the best player available. Because of the depth this year, there is going to be some decisions made by teams ahead of us, so we’re going to sit back at eight and take the best player on the board, regardless of position. Then maybe at 14, we’ll come back down and look for something really specific."
Q: Looking at your stats last year, the team needs help all around.
"That’s exactly right. We have many needs. That’s the premise for us looking to take the best player available since we just don’t have one need to fill or one position to fill."
Q: What’s the main thing Taurasi will add to the Mercury?
"She’s one of those players that the things she adds are going to be more than just statistics. She’s going to be able to score, she’s going to be able to distribute the ball, she’s going to rebound, she’s going to take three-pointers, but the leadership, the basketball intelligence quotient, that’s important. She’s a great player who is going to make other players on the team better. She’s a very unselfish player who gets as much satisfaction for passing the ball as she does scoring."
Q: It seems like the Mercury has turned the corner. During the offseason, you got two new minority owners and now you’re about to draft Diana Taurasi. How’s Taurasi going to bring the fans back?
"It’s just really a great time in Phoenix. We had a very good start to our franchise during the first four years in this league. The last couple of years have been tough. But now we have momentum. It started with Penny Taylor, the first pick in the dispersal draft. We were able to add two incredibly influential businesswomen as owners, which I believe is cutting edge. Then you add the No. 1 pick in the college draft as well, and it being such a special person in Taurasi, everything is coming together. I think it’s going to be really exciting in Phoenix going forward."