Basketball Hall-of-Famer and ESPN analyst Nancy Lieberman answers your questions and emails throughout the year. Leading up to the 2006 WNBA Draft, she answers your questions about what teams need and who is likely to fill those holes. Click here to submit a question of your own.


Q. With two picks early in the first round, who do you see the Minnesota Lynx drafting?
-Joe, Eden Prairie
"It is my understanding in having talked with a lot of different people that they will draft Seimone Augustus. They want to grow with her through her career. If she is good enough for the future of USA Basketball, she is good enough for the Minnesota Lynx to have as a part of their future. So if they take her with that first pick, I think they need to take a point guard with the seventh pick. I don't believe Cappie Pondexter will be available, so they're looking at Megan Duffy, who could very well go there. Other options are Nikki Blue or Erin Grant. Megan Duffy plays well with better people around her and she is a smart player"

Q. The Charlotte Sting have another lottery pick this season, yet have quite a full roster. What kind of player do you see them going after? A post player? A guard? What style does Muggsy Bogues like to run and who do you see fitting into his system?
-Erin, Charlotte, N.C.
"There will be a lot of pressure on the Sting to take Monique Currie with the third pick, but after that, it wouldn't hurt for the Sting to get a backup point guard to Helen Darling or a shooter until Allison Feaster comes back. I think you'll see a better version of Janel McCarville this year because she is healthy and has worked on her game. She has done a lot to rehab her injuries. I think Muggsy will want to be able to push tempo. Coaches typically implement a system similar to the style they liked to play. I thought they could use another rebounder in the post as well and thought they had a chance to sign Tamika Whitmore, but she ended up in Indiana."

Q. If you had the choice between Sophia Young and Monique Currie, which player would you draft?
-Serena, Cowdotta, MD
"If Monique Currie is available, the Charlotte Sting have to take her. I think they need to sell tickets and she is from the area. She is also a legit player. That would then leave Sophia Young for San Antonio should they so desire her."

Q. How much will Candice Dupree benefit from having learned from Dawn Staley? Is she a first round Draft pick?
-Tyesha, West Chester, PA
"I do see Candice as a first round pick and I think she has learned tremendously from Dawn Staley. How can you not considering the wealth of knowledge and experience that she has? I hear a lot of people trying to define Candice Dupree. Is she a four? Is she a three? This is not unlike a lot of other players in the Draft, the "tweeners," so you have to project not what they play now, but what position they will play as a professional. And the same goes for Candice. She has to keep developing her game to fit the needs of a team at the next level."

Q. Hello Ms. Lieberman. Will you be working at the Draft this year? Also, do you see any late round impact players making a team and potentially starting like Chelsea Newton was last year did with Sacramento?

-Leigh, New York, N.Y.
"First, I will be working the studio for the Draft with Ann Meyers, Doris Burke and Linda Cohn in Boston. As for the end of the Draft, I think teams will select the best player available for their individual team. There are a lot of good players who will be available by then. But players like Erin Grant can be had in the second round if she doesn't go earlier. So much depends on what happens in the first five picks or so that will then dictate where the rest of the players like Dupree, Tye'sha Fluker and Shanna Zolman go. What about Shimek and Bowel?. There are so many possibilities that I break things down by position, not necessarily a complete order. There are a lot of players out there, so you'll see the "Who's who?" of college basketball in the first two rounds fitting in somewhere. That said, WNBA teams are taking fewer and fewer players to training camp, so that is why the Draft is so much more important and the WNBA pre-Draft camp is so important."

Q. It seems like Augustus is the consensus top pick. In the past, consensus top picks have gone on to have pretty good careers. How will Seimone compare to Sue, Diana and Tina Thompson when all is said and done?
Melissa M., Lubbock, TX
"That is such a tough question to answer because they play totally different positions. Augustus has certainly proven her consistency over four years. She is not only a quiet leader, but she is very talented. She can handle herself well on both ends of the court and she can lift a team. She has been successful as a winner, so where that puts her in a comparison with players like Bird and Taurasi, that's hard to project."

Q. Hi Nancy, as one of the best out there, I was hoping you could bring us Californians some justice... Is there an east coast bias to the WNBA Draft, too? How come we don't hear more about UCLA's senior stars, Lisa Willis and Nikki Blue?
-Raymond, Pasadena, CA
"These players may not get the media attention and recognition in the fans' eyes, but people who are in the know and make the decisions about these players' futures clearly know about Willis and Blue. I've seen pro scouts at many of their games and when I am talking to GMs and coaches, I am being asked about these players. They are very much on the radar and I think they will both be first round picks."

Q. Hi Nancy, so my question for you this time around is... outside of the top four picks, how much do we really know? Is anything else nailed down or firmed up as far as who could go where?
-Marie, Bayville, N.J.
"It is all about need. It depends on who needs what kind of player or has a position that needs to be filled. Free agency and the expansion draft have created some holes and teams have players that need to be replaced. As we get into Year Ten, there is a totally different dynamic to the Draft. Teams lose players every offseason and it is hard to maintain a core group for an extended period of time. In years past, it has been easier to mock draft. This time, it's very hard because it will be different on a team-by-team basis based on immediate need. Then it will go based on the best player available."

Q. Do you think Shanna Zolman will make it into the WNBA? I really hope so she is my favorite player! Thanx!!
-J, Knoxville, TN

"I think Zolman has helped herself a lot in the past couple of weeks. She is showing more confidence and maybe a bit of the pressure is off of her. She is knocking down shots again as well. She is more than just a shooter, but her M.O. or profile is that she has to shoot the ball, and now she is doing that and feeling a bit more comfortable. So people are definitely looking at her. Look at players like Minnesota's Amber Jacobs and Washington's Laurie Koehn over the past two years as players who can shoot that have made WNBA teams. Her teammate, Tye'sha Fluker is a big player who comes with a lot of experience in a great program. I think she is definitely on people's radar as well."