The ninth annual WNBA Draft is officially in the books. With all 39 selections
accounted for, WNBA.com spoke with some of game's top experts as well as new WNBA
President Donna Orender, to get their reactions to the events that transpired.
Ann Meyers, ESPN analyst and Hall-of-Famer
Q. What were the major storylines of the Draft?
"The major storylines this year were with regard to the talent. It wasn't like
a lot of players jumped out at you like a Diana Taurasi or an Alana Beard last
year, or superstar in Lauren Jackson, where you'd know there'd be a definite No.
1. In talking to a lot of coaches and GMs [before the Draft], some people felt
that [Kendra] Wecker could be a No. 1, they felt that [Tan] White could be a No.
1. A lot of them didn't feel that [Janel] McCarville was the better big player
yet she went No. 1."
"So a lot of players that were talked about could have
gone one, two, three or they could have been seven-eight-nine kind of players.
Also, there were many needs for guards but the posts are the ones that went high.
It was heavy loaded with the big players. They always say you can't teach big."
What developments were the biggest surprises of the Draft? A.M.:
Detroit snatched Braxton with the seventh pick.
was surprised Temeka Johnson fell as far as she did. Houston led us to believe
they wanted a point guard but it took Sancho Lyttle inside. And, [Kara] Braxton
was available. Braxton, a true post at 6-5, you think if she had played all four
years at Georgia, she might have been the definite, clear cut No. 1."
of people were surprised Loree Moore went to New York as she wasn't talked about
as much. I'm not surprised with Loree Moore. I think Loree Moore is coming from
a championship program in Tennessee, went to the Final Four all four years and
she's a big guard at 5-9.Yes, they have K.B. Sharp and Erin Thorn but I think
they felt they needed to get bigger at that position. Crystal Robinson and Vickie
Johnson, they're veteran players. How much longer do they have?"
team had the best Draft?
A.M.: "I think Detroit with Braxton was
huge, and then Nikita Bell - she's such a strong athlete. With that pair, they're
fast and big."
"I think the Monarchs really did well for themselves getting
[Kristin] Haynie in the backcourt. Then they got [Chelsea] Newton. She's a player
who will surprise a lot of people. Then they brought in [Anne] O'Neil, who led
the nation in three-point shooting. So they really sured up there outside game."
"Connecticut's going to surprise people. The trade bringing in Margo Dydek
is going to help them a lot. I think San Antonio is going to get more than the
nine wins they got last year."
Q. Who is your pick for Rookie of the Year?
A.M.: "I think if there's an impact player it might be Tan White.
But again, how much time will she get in Indiana? Braxton has the ability to maybe
get rookie of the year. McCarville will probably earn her way to gain playing
time. Off the cuff, I'm looking at White and Braxton, and maybe put McCarville
Q.Which prospect slipped in the Draft?
"We were surprised [Steffanie] Blackmon, went so low. Blackmon won an NCAA championship.
She was a key player in the championship game. When you've got a player like that,
you don't expect third round."
ESPN and WNBA.com analyst
Q. What is your reaction to the Connecticut-San
Rebecca Lobo: "I wasn't surprised because I heard
the trade was in the works. It was a great pickup for both teams. For Connecticut
to get Margo Dydek, it feels a need they had on the perimeter. Now Taj McWilliams-Franklin
can move over to the four position, which is here natural spot. It adds a lot
for them defensively."
"In return, San Antonio got Kendra Wecker, who is one
of the best perimeter players out there, and [Katie] Feenstra, which gives them
what they needed in terms of size. That was one of those trades that was a win-win
for both teams."
Q. What were the biggest surprises of the Draft?
R.L.: "You heard so much about players like Shyra Ely and Jacqueline Batteast
going in the first round. Ely being the first pick in the second round doesn't
mean she slipped very far but I was surprised with where Batiste slipped to. I
think she's really going to help her team. And Ashley Battle, there had been talk
she might go in the first round but she goes late in the second. I think Seattle's
thrilled that they could add her to the roster."
Q. Did you expect McCarville
to be selected No. 1 overall?
R.L.: "Yea, I thought McCarville
would go No. 1, mostly because [Sting] coach Trudi Lacey mentioned the team needs
scoring, rebounding and toughness. She was the one person who brought all of those
"[Sandora] Irvin is also a scorer and a rebounder, but to have a
big physical presence - that is what McCarville is. She's the best passing post
player I've ever seen. She adds a lot to that team. I think Charlotte has to feel
pretty good about the draft they had."
Q.: Who is your pick for Rookie
of the Year?
R.L.: "It's tough, because it all depends on the
situation a player goes in a team. Last year, you figure Diana Taurasi - all out
favorite - and then Alana Beard has an incredible second half of the season. Lindsay
Whalen brings her team to the championship. Nicole Ohlde just has a terrific season
"This year, it is really about the fit. Is McCarville going
to start? How many minutes is she going to get? Tan White is one of the rookies
who will have an opportunity to get a lot of minutes. Her team should improve
just because they struggled a little bit last year. It's tough to say, but maybe
Tan White is the player [that wins the award], especially because she's on a lot
Q.: How does this crop of prospects stack up against past groups?
R.L.: "Some Drafts are stronger than others. Last year was probably
the strongest Draft ever other than the year the ABL players went. This year,
I don't think you'll see as many star players as you saw coming out of last year's
Draft but you're going to have a lot of good, solid complementary players. Some
that might start, some that might come off the bench."
Orender with Kendra Wecker
"You look at a player like Kara Braxton - as talented as she is, she's going to
have to come off the bench in Detroit because of the players they already have.
I think time is the test that tells you how strong a draft really is. This definitely
isn't one of the couple worst drafts in the league, it's not one of the top two
drafts, but probably falls somewhere in the middle."
Orender, WNBA President
Q. What were the biggest surprises
of the Draft?
Donna Orender: I don't think there were any great
surprises. I think the fact that Steffanie Blackmon, going as late as she did
despite being one of the stars off the national championship team, probably was
a bit of a surprise. Other than that, it was pretty much as we thought."
How does this crop of prospects stack up against past groups?
was incredibly deep. While people might say there's no one superstar, I think
as time plays itself out, it's going to reveal there's a tremendous amount of
talent that is going to make a great impact in our league."