Mock Draft v2.0
Taking a look at each team's needs and the best players available, STORM.WNBA.COM predicts who will end up going where come April 17. This mock draft is for recreational use only, and always keep in mind that everything will change dramatically by tomorrow.
Last Updated: April 13
|PG Diana Taurasi|
It is official: Mercury GM Seth Sulka announced last week that Phoenix would take Taurasi. She now has her first WNBA coach as well - congrats to former Storm assistant Carrie Graf on getting the top job in Phoenix! Job one for Graf will be ensuring that Taurasi becomes the superstar everyone expects her to be.
|SG Alana Beard|
The Mystics have played things much closer to the vest than the Mercury, with good reason, but this has to be Beard, doesn't it? The accolades keep piling up for Beard, as she was named the inaugural female Wooden Player of the Year earlier this week. "It's John Wooden, he's such an incredible person, he's a legend in our game," Beard told the AP. "To be mentioned in the same breath as this man, I can't even put into words. To be the first woman to receive this award is so special to me."
|F/G Nicole Powell|
The first swing pick in the draft is the third pick, which is expected to be Powell but could go any number of directions. Beware the admonition of the Storm assistant coaches last week - the top four is not set. Charlotte has dropped hints about wanting to go big with this pick, but that's the beauty of Powell. Because of her incredible versatility, she can help the Sting out up front as well as in the backcourt. No word yet on whether she'll also sell tickets, hawk popcorn or do play-by-play.
|PG Lindsay Whalen|
The Lynx continue to make a run at moving up to this pick to draft hometown girl Whalen, which also means trying to get picks from other teams in order to make a two-for-one draft-pick swap. If the Sun stays put, point guard is the clear need area, as 37-year-old Debbie Black can't be counted on as the starter at this point in her career. Good luck for Connecticut - the best available player is Whalen, who happens to be a point guard, and an outstanding one at that.
|SF Shameka Christon|
On the strength of her outstanding play against the US National Team and at last week's pre-draft camp, Christon is the fastest climber in the draft, putting herself in position to possibly (maybe even likely) be selected in the lottery portion of the draft. The athletic Christon could give the Liberty the kind of defense and rebounding it doesn't get from incumbent Crystal Robinson while also allowing Robinson to play a super-sub role.
|SG Chandi Jones|
Storm Coach Anne Donovan cited Christon and Jones as two players she's watching closely in a Q&A with WNBA.com, confirming what has been suspected all along. Jones is the best player available and also fills a key need for the Storm. Much has been made of the relatively weak competition Jones faced in the WAC, but looking at her phenomenal statistics as a junior, even a schedule adjustment shows her as right there with the top four picks. Playing alongside Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, Jones' field-goal percentage would likely skyrocket from last year's 42.0%.
|PF Rebekkah Brunson|
If - and that if is capitalized not solely because it starts a sentence - the Lynx holds on to this pick, it will be another key swing selection. The Lynx's need is generally believed to be point guard, where Teresa Edwards will soon be literally over the hill and Helen Darling and Kristi Harrower are better suited as backups, but a point guard taken at this pick would be a reach. Is it any wonder the Lynx wants to move up? With point guard off the table, Minnesota is expected to add front-line depth, never a bad idea. With only Tamika Williams on the roster as a true power forward, Brunson would make some sense. She improves the Lynx on the boards and defensively as a reserve.
|SG Kelly Mazzante|
The Mercury's only All-Star, Adrian Williams, is up front. Phoenix took a post, Plenette Pierson, in last year's draft. Center Maria Stepanova could return from overseas, and Slobodanka Tuvic and fan favorite Kayte Christensen are also in the mix. Tough to see Phoenix going big with this pick, despite Sulka's claim he'll take the "best player available", right? If the Mercury does look to add depth on the perimeter, Mazzante is the logical choice, despite her stock slipping of late. Mazzante gives the Mercury an effective backup to Anna DeForge.
C Vanessa Hayden|
Good news for the Fever, which probably wants to go big with this pick after trading for Kelly Miller and now has its pick of any of the posts, all of whom are still left on the board. Led by All-Star Tamika Catchings, the Fever has plenty of offensive power and needs to improve defensively in order to return to the playoffs. That means blocking shots, and Hayden blocked nearly as many during her senior season at Florida as Indiana did as a team. That prowess might make them willing to overlook concerns about her conditioning and recovery from a foot injury and take her anyway.
|F/G Shereka Wright|
Here's where the effect of all those perimeter players going early is felt on the negative side. The Monarchs are set up front, with All-Star Yolanda Griffith as well as the second pick of last year's draft, Chantelle Anderson. Sacramento will likely go for a perimeter player, meaning they might be able to reach a little bit on Wright. They're still getting a good player who can play both shooting guard and small forward for them, probably more of the former as Ruthie Bolton ages.
|C Nicole Ohlde|
The stunning faller in this mock is Ohlde, who goes from the fifth pick in v1.0 to pick 11 in v2.0. That's good news for the Shock and Coach Bill Laimbeer, who should relish the opportunity to develop Ohlde and teach her some of his old tricks. Ohlde's lack of toughness and poor rebounding have hurt her WNBA stock, but they also have obscured some of what she does bring to the table. 57% shooting each of the last three years and 17-plus points per game all four years of her career simply can't be ignored.
|C Christi Thomas|
The Sparks completes the run on posts with Thomas, another player who drops in this mock. Help up front is a most for Los Angeles, with DeLisha Milton-Jones' status up in the air after a torn ACL. The Sparks weren't very deep up front even with Milton-Jones last season, with Jennifer Gillom failing to provide as much as the team hoped. Another post is a no-brainer for this pick, and Thomas is the best one available.
|PF Iciss Tillis|
Even if they get a center with the first of two first-round picks, Detroit may go big again because the Shock already has some solid depth on the perimeter, and also because of the quality inside players available. Tillis is a gamble, but a team like Detroit can afford to take one because it has a pair of first-round picks and no glaring needs. If Tillis doesn't develop like the Shock hopes, that's okay. If she does … look out.