SEE WHAT WNBA COACHES ARE LOOKING FOR IN THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
What the Coaches are Saying
|Eastern Conference Coaches|
|Anne Donovan - Charlotte Sting|
(Draft picks: 2, 18, 34, 50)
We can go in a number of different directions with it. We can go perimeter or post.
Q: With the No. 2 pick, that's a great position. There are some wonderful players out there.
Donovan: There sure are. It's a good pick for us. We can go in a number of different directions with it. We can go perimeter or post. We're looking good. We're pleased to have this pick in this draft.
Q: Are the injured players in your sight lines?
Donovan: They're in our thought processes right now, but we're not sure what we are going to do with that. You have two great players with (Tamika) Catchings and (Svetlana) Abrosimova -- they will make a team and make an impact, if not this season surely next season. So you can't look past them, you have to consider them, and we will.
|Dan Hughes - Cleveland Rockers|
(Draft picks: 11, 27, 43, 59)
We're trying to look at a group and say, out of this group, hopefully someone falls.
Q: What are the needs on your roster?
Hughes: The first need that comes to mind is, from a perimeter standpoint, we'd really like to add somebody who can give us the ability to stretch the defense in any of the three positions. With that, we'd like a degree of athleticism to help us continue to guard, which is something we value a lot in Cleveland. The second need is another post in our rotation. I think everybody could use one more. Those are the two that come to mind right away.
Q: Have you been able to narrow down your prospects?
Hughes: Yes, but the problem is, so has everyone else, including the 10 ahead of us. We're trying to look at a group and say, out of this group, hopefully someone falls. Or maybe even two fall that maybe we can make a decision on. But that's kind of how we approach it. We know that, picking 11th, there are a lot of picks ahead of us. You just hope that within the group that you kind of finalize on, that you get a choice within that group.
|Greg Williams - Detroit Shock|
(Draft picks: 6, 22, 38, 54)
We know there's going to be a nice pool of players there, two or three we like.
Q: What's your plan for the No. 6 pick in the draft?
Williams: We know there's going to be a nice pool of players there, two or three we like. We have no idea who it is going to be. But we don't have to draft by position, we can take the best player that's available there, which is important because she could be a perimeter player or a post player, it doesn't matter to us.
Q: Are the injured players a part of that mix for you?
Williams: Possibly. We just don't know what's going to happen to them. Certainly they were projected before their injuries to be picked higher than six, but with their injuries, they could slide. We might be faced with the possibility of drafting someone who is injured right now.
|Nell Fortner - Indiana Fever|
(Draft picks: 3, 14, 19, 35, 51)
It's such an intense, short season, you have to have players who are able to stay focused.
Q: Does it seem extra intense this year with such a talented group trying to get drafted?
Fortner: I think so. The players realize that they're trying to get a job. I think there are going to be much more intense training camps come May 2, because there is no expansion and there's going to be a lot of competition for jobs.
Q: What are you looking for in players?
Fortner: There are a lot of intangibles. We look at their energy level, their work ethic along with their athleticism, and basically, can they play the game? It's such an intense, short season, you have to have players who are able to stay focused for that intense a period of time, and be great players, too. So that helps you narrow the field.
|Ron Rothstein - Miami Sol|
(Draft picks: 5, 21, 37)
There are some individuals and some individual plays that make your eyes get wide.
Q: With Sandy Brondello and Elena Baranova coming back and a No. 5 pick, are the injured players in your mix?
Rothstein: It's possible. We're probably one of the few teams picking high that could wait for one of the injured players. We got the two returning players plus we traded for Tracy Reid. We think that Tracy is about ready to return to her Rookie of the Year form. We're looking at three players, maybe you can call them three first-round draft picks. Yes, I think we could wait if that were the case.
Q: What are your impressions of this draft class?
Rothstein: There are some individuals and some individual plays that make your eyes get wide, and you get a little excited. At the top end of the draft, in the first round, there are some very, very good players that are going to have very good WNBA careers. It's possible that we can get somebody who can make our team at 21, but I'm not sure. We have a lot of good players back. We have some depth. I don't know about our quality yet, but our quantity is good.
|Richie Adubato - New York Liberty|
(Draft picks: 28, 44, 60)
I think it's 10 deep where people can come in and make an immediate impact.
Q: You don't have a first-round pick this year.
Adubato: We traded our first-round pick, which was No. 12, for Grace Daley, who was No. 5 last year. We liked her last year but couldn't get her because we always get the lower picks. We felt that due to the fact that she was playing in Minnesota where they had Katie Smith and Betty Lennox, the Rookie of the Year last year, it was difficult for Grace to get time. But it didn't mean that we didn't still like her. I have to rely on [assistant coach] Patty Coyle and [Vice President and GM] Carol Blazejowski, who look at the college players -- I look at a lot of the European players -- to tell me that whether at 12 there is somebody better than Grace Daley. We don't think so.
Q: Your first pick is No. 28. Is there a player there able to join your roster?
Adubato: We've been lucky so far. We've actually been better in the second round than the first round. We got Tamika Whitmore in the third round and she's very good for us. I think anytime you get below 20, you can get someone at 25 or 30 or 40 -- it's a situation where you're just guessing down there. Right now, looking at this draft, I think it's 10 deep where people can come in and make an immediate impact. So, we're still looking good at 12 for Grace Daley.
|Carolyn Peck - Orlando Miracle|
(Draft picks: 10, 26, 42, 58)
When it gets to No. 10, you just have to look at who the best player is and measure her against what you need.
Q: You have No. 10 and 26 in the first two rounds. What are you looking for?
Peck: I'm looking for the best player I can get. When it gets to No. 10, you just have to look at who the best player is and measure her against what you need. I think there will definitely be good players at both of those spots.
Q: You've been out of college coaching only for a couple of years, so you're very familiar with the players in this class.
Peck: I think there is a lot talent in this class. I think there was a lot of talent in last year's class. But the thing is, coming in, the existing players on the teams have the experience. For the new crop of players, when you're looking at them, you have to figure out which ones can make the quickest transition.
|Tom Maher - Washington Mystics|
(Draft picks: 9, 25, 41, 57)
I think we need to build our depth in the point, wing and post positions.
Q: How important is pre-draft camp for you? What are you looking for?
Maher: I've watched a lot of college games since I've been here, but this is an opportunity to see the better players play against the better players. To me that's more important than the college games. I think we need to build our depth in the point, wing and post positions. I think we need something of everything, really.
Q: Do you think injuries might make some top players drop in the draft?
Maher: I think [Svetlana] Abrosimova's stock has dropped a little with the injury. But whether they've dropped two to four, it's still before nine. I don't know about Abrosimova. When I first came to the U.S., she was routinely spoken about in the top three. It's a long way from the top three to nine, so I don't if she'll fall that low, but it could happen because I've heard a lot of people talk up Georgia Schweitzer, talk up Camille Cooper, talk up Penny Taylor. So, it only takes one or two players. But then Jackson might not come in, so who knows.
|Van Chancellor - Houston Comets|
(Draft picks: 15, 31, 33, 47, 63)
We go out there and hunt long and hard to take the best player available.
Q: Unlike previous years, you don't have the last pick in the draft. What are you planning with No. 15?
Chancellor: This year, this is a great draft, a tremendous draft. I think there is a player at 15 that can help us. I am excited about that possibility. This is a great class; there'll be 20 players who will make the WNBA.
Q: You're famous for drafting players who are not at this camp. Are you looking at a player who's not here?
Chancellor: Yup, I always look at players who are not at this camp. We just find the best player regardless of where she is. We go out there and hunt long and hard to take the best player available.
|Michael Cooper - Los Angeles Sparks|
(Draft picks: 16, 32, 48, 64)
We just have to take the best available players at that position for us, the best athlete.
Q: Because of your superior record last year, L.A. has the last pick in the first round.
Cooper: It's an awkward position, but then again, it's a fortunate one because we don't have to do too much work. We just have to take the best available players at that position for us, the best athlete. Don't get me wrong, there are some holes we want to fill, but I don't think we will be able to accomplish that because we're drafting at No. 16. We're looking for the best athlete regardless of position.
Q: Do you think you'll be able to draft someone who can contribute right away at 16?
Cooper: Oh yeah. It's a very deep draft. There are some nice young ladies out there -- people who can get the job done. We got a pretty good group of core players, so we need to fine someone who can mix in well with them.
|Brian Agler - Minnesota Lynx|
(Draft picks: 7, 23, 39, 55)
We have the luxury, if it is a luxury, that when it's our time to pick, of just picking the best player available.
Q: What are you looking for in this draft? Are there any prospects here?
Agler: After the trade we made in the offseason, I think our personnel in terms of positioning is pretty well balanced, so I think we have the luxury, if it is a luxury, that when it's our time to pick, of just picking the best player available. It's still early at this point, but this is a great opportunity for us to see someone like a Penny Taylor from Australia, people that we've been watching all year long. The other good thing is to see players from different conferences and maybe from different parts of the country. You've seen them play, but now you get to see them on the same floor, playing against each other on the same floor. It's a great evaluation tool.
Q: As Betty Lennox and Katie Smith have emerged as your main offensive weapons, how do you look to complement them?
Agler: They're two of the best players in the league and we're just trying to surround them with quality people, a good balance of young players and veterans. If we can stay healthy and keep getting better with our personnel, then I think we can keep improving as a team. We have a very tough schedule out there in the West. The Western Conference is very demanding, so we've got some work ahead of us, there's no question.
|Cynthia Cooper - Phoenix Mercury|
(Draft picks: 13, 29, 45, 53, 61)
I'm not real sure who's going to be available, so we really want to take the best athlete.
Q: As a first-time coach, what are you looking forward to this season?
Cooper: I'm looking forward to a very exciting season. My transition from player to coach, I think the most difficult part will be when I actually get into the season. Right now, we're looking at all of the young talent. It's definitely very exciting and very interesting to be looking at it from this point of view. Normally I'd be looking at it as competition on the court, but now I'm looking at it as far as who I would like on my team, so it's very interesting.
Q: What are the needs on your roster?
Cooper: I think we need a backup point guard, athletic wings. At the 13th pick, I'm not real sure who's going to be available, so we really want to take the best athlete. I also feel that, because this is one of the deepest senior classes, that everybody will be given an opportunity to show what they can do, and be brought into a camp and be able to showcase their talent.
|Linda Hargrove - Portland Fire|
(Draft picks: 4, 12, 20, 36, 52)
I definitely think having three picks in the top 20 is going to help us.
Q: What are you looking to add to your roster?
Hargrove: I think we made some trades in the offseason that will help us, acquiring Kristin Folkl, and then Carolyn Jones [Young] was on our roster last year but was injured, so if she comes back stronger then we're going to be a little better. As I look at our team, we obviously need starters, and we'll use our starters more as depth players. That's not going to happen in one year, so it's going to be a building process.
We feel good about Sophia Witherspoon. I thought she had a really good year for us. I like our post with Sylvia Crawley and Alisa Burras, and now Kristin Folkl's in that mix. Vanessa Nygaard did a nice job for us down low last year. I think we've got to get better at the point guard position. Tully Bevilaqua and Michelle Marciniak both shared the point guard position and did OK, but we've got to get better there. And then, obviously, just our depth. We've got to be able to bring people off the bench and not give up as much as we did a year ago.
Q: With two first-round picks, do you think you'll be able to help yourself significantly?
Hargrove: I definitely think having three picks in the top 20 is going to help us. The other thing that the No. 12 pick has done is given us some versatility on some trade options with some experienced players. We're not exactly sure what direction we're going to go right now, but I think we're going to help ourselves definitely in this draft.
|Sonny Allen - Sacramento Monarchs|
(Draft picks: 30, 46, 62)
We'd like to get some size, and if not size, just a good 2-3 type player, an athlete that can shoot the ball.
Q: What are you hoping to gain in the draft?
Allen: We'd like to get some size, and if not size, just a good 2-3 type player, an athlete that can shoot the ball. We have a great point guard in Ticha Penicheiro, we've got Yolanda [Griffith] inside, but we need to get some more depth inside and a perimeter shooter. (Editor's note: The Monarchs traded their 14th pick to Indiana for center Kara Wolters on April 11.)
Q: What is your outlook heading into the season?
Allen: I think everybody is looking forward to it. The thing about our season is, we're off for nine months. Everybody's anxious to get back. Now that Houston doesn't have [Cynthia] Cooper, everybody feels they have a better chance of winning. I think it's going to be an exciting year. I've talked to all the coaches and they're certainly ready to get started.
|Lin Dunn - Seattle Storm|
(Draft picks: 1, 17, 49)
What I'm going to do is try to get us somebody that
can rebound and score.
Q: The first pick in the draft, what are you going to do with it?
Dunn: I have given this a lot of thought. I am thinking that what I'm going to do is try to get us somebody that can rebound and score. That's the No. 1 priority -- we need rebounds, we need points. I am looking closely at Lauren Jackson, Tamika Catchings, [Svetlana] Abrosimova, Ruth Riley, Jackie Stiles -- those are the ones in my final five. I would entertain trading that first pick if I thought I could get two or three quality players for the pick because I think the pick is of that value.
Q: Have you been called about trades?
Dunn: I have had several conversations with several teams -- I say three or four in the East and three or four in the West -- about the possibility of a trade. We really haven't had a lot of firm talks because everyone is waiting to see if Lauren Jackson is going to come into the league or not. If she comes in, that would certainly affect the value of the pick because she is so good.
|Fred Williams - Utah Starzz|
(Draft picks: 8, 24, 40, 56)
We're pretty strong in every position that we have, but you can always get stronger with a few draft choices.
Q: What are the needs on your roster?
Williams: I think we're pretty strong in every position that we have, but you can always get stronger with a few draft choices. We're going to look for a good player to come in and help us with outside shooting, someone who can go to the boards and make some things happen. It could be a post player, it could be a perimeter player. We'll see who's available at that eighth spot for us in the first round, and the other rounds there's going to be a lot of other great players, too.
Q: Do you think Natalie Williams' and Margo Dydek's games have elevated with their Olympic offseason?
Williams: I think we've done a lot of things with [Natalie] at Salt Lake, getting her a lot of touches with the ball even when she's triple- and double-teamed. Playing on the Olympic team really helped her a great deal, getting that experience day in and day out against a lot of her WNBA counterparts. Each year, Margo's game is getting better and better, as far as coming into the WNBA. I look for a good year from Margo coming in, still being a contender in blocking shots, but also being a threat in the scoring area.