By Rebecca Lobo
April 14, 2004

My mock draft will become a mockery if I keep changing my picks. But, I've changed them again -- and I can't promise I won't change them once more before the draft.

1. Phoenix Mercury: Diana Taurasi (Connecticut)
Everyone knows Phoenix is taking Taurasi. Mostly because Phoenix has told everyone they're taking Taurasi.

2. Washington Mystics: Alana Beard (Duke)
Washington seems like they want to keep a strong hold on the #2 pick -- they haven't been mentioned in any trade rumors. Beard could be the missing piece to a playoff run in '04.

3. Charlotte Sting: Nicole Powell (Stanford)
Charlotte holds the reins at the top of the draft because they're the only squad in the top 3 that might trade the pick. They are looking for versatility and Powell is the poster child for that. However, Charlotte could trade the #3 pick if the price is right. And, if they trade the #3 -- it'd probably be for a team that really wanted Whalen (i.e. Minnesota).

4. Connecticut Sun: Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota)
Connecticut needs a point guard after trading Shannon "Pee Wee" Johnson. Whalen fits the bill better than anyone at #4.

5. New York Liberty: Shemeka Christon (Arkansas)
Everyone assumed New York would take a "Big" like Hayden or Rebekkah Brunson with the #5 pick until Christon's performance in the All-America game and pre-draft camp. She's got a pro body and her game resembles Sheryl Swoopes' in so many ways it's eerie. (Check out Christon's running form -- and the way she dribbles in the open court -- and Swoopes will come to mind.) She's a valuable asset in the Eastern Conference because she can guard players like Swin Cash and Tamika Catchings.

6. Seattle Storm: Vanessa Hayden (Florida)
The Storm could use a big body next to Lauren Jackson in the post -- especially if Kamila Vodichkova has injury trouble again. Hayden fits the bill. And, she's a true 5 who could benefit from Ann Donovan's coaching.

7. Minnesota Lynx: Nicole Ohlde (Kansas State)
The Lynx need to get more athletic in the post. Ohlde is a terrific athlete who would fit well in Minnesota. Rebekkah Brunson would also fit the bill. Of course, the Lynx covet Whalen but they'd have to trade up to the top 4 to have a chance at her.

8. Phoenix Mercury: Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown)
Brunson played great in pre-draft camp and impressed all in attendance. She has a pro body and an attack mentality that is appealing to anyone trying to get more athletic inside (which is everyone).

9. Indiana Fever: Christi Thomas (Georgia)
If Indiana plans to move Tamika Catchings to the perimeter this season, they could use another big body in the post. Thomas showed a lot of toughness in the All-America game when she matched up with Tina Thompson. She is the best post remaining at #9 (based on this mock draft).

10. Sacramento Monarchs: Chandi Jones (Houston)
Sacramento is looking for a scorer on the perimeter who can add pressure defensively in the full court -- Swoopes like. Jones fits the bill and she's a player that has a big upside. Right now she's a skinny, young - looking kid who will benefit from an offseason in the weight room. If she falls to #10, I can't imagine Sacramento passing on her.

11. Detroit Shock: Ebony Hoffman (USC)
Detroit could use a sold back-up post for Ruth Riley and Cheryl Ford. Ebony Hoffman is a big body (6-2/210) with decent three point range. She reminds some people of Jennifer Gillom. Detroit might also take Iciss Tillis with this pick. Either way, expect them to take a "Big" at #11.

12. Los Angeles Sparks: Iciss Tillis (Duke)
DeLisha Milton expects to play this coming season after partially tearing her ACL, but LA will need to take a post as an insurance pick. Tillis' body and skills have been compared to Lisa Leslie. She needs to get stronger -- and meaner -- to be a really good pro.

13. Detroit Shock: Toccara Williams (Texas A&M)
Williams had a strong pre-draft camp and might have played herself into the first round. Detroit has a solid guard rotation but could use a backup point guard. Williams is quick, athletic, and solid defensively.



Also see: Lobo's Prospect Tracker