Four is More
After nearly three months of waiting and wondering following the conclusion of 2008 WNBA season, it's sure been a busy past few days for the WNBA. Seven teams added players in Monday's Dispersal Draft of Houston Comets players and five of those seven also participated in Tuesday's historic Draft Lottery.
One of those teams, the Minnesota Lynx, added Roneeka Hodges on Monday and secured the number four overall pick on Tuesday. By now I'm sure you're familiar with the newest member of the Lynx, but what about the prospects of the number four overall draft pick…
Minnesota came into Tuesday's Draft Lottery hoping to add its fourth number one overall selection to its roster, but instead landed the fourth overall selection - just as the odds suggested they would. In fact, the five-team Lottery turned out just the way it was supposed to for the first time in the eight-year history of the WNBA Draft Lottery. That meant Atlanta got the first pick, followed by Washington, Chicago, the Lynx and finally Phoenix.
Although the ping-pong balls didn't fall Minnesota's way Tuesday, assistant coach Jim Petersen still says the team expects to land a top collegiate player. "The lottery went by the numbers this year, which is very unusual," said Petersen. "At No. 4, we're going to get a really good player. Someone like Renee Montgomery from UCONN is going to be there. One of the Paris sisters, either Courtney or Ashley from Oklahoma will certainly be there."
Although the 2009 WNBA Draft Class might not have premier players at the level of a Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles or Candice Wiggins, this year's crop of collegiate seniors promises to satisfy teams' wants and needs all the way through the first round. "There are 5-6 really good players in this draft that will be able to come in and help a ball club out from the very beginning," said Lynx head coach Don Zierden. "We're fortunate to be in the position to add one of those young talents."
With the success of last season's draft behind them, Minnesota's front office hopes to duplicate one of the more fruitful drafts in WNBA history. "The 2008 draft proved to be one of the best in our history as we were able to add Candice Wiggins, Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston, all foundations that we can build our team around," said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. "The number four pick will allow us the opportunity to add another premier player to our roster that will help us continue to build a championship contender for many years to come."
Petersen echoed many of Griffith's thoughts, and hopes to add a few more pieces in this year's draft to make this Lynx team a viable playoff threat. "Roger Griffith and Don Zierden did a great job of identifying and selecting three players last year that all have developed in to cornerstones of the franchise. Hopefully we can re-create the success of last year's draft and draft well again this year."
The number four pick has produced a number of WNBA greats over the years. U.S. Olympian and three-time All-Star DeLisha Milton-Jones was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft, while All-Stars Asjha Jones (2002) and Sophia Young (2006) were also No. 4 picks.
Those elite players and more are proof that a star can be born in the four slot. "Sometimes when you get picks three, four or five, a really good player ends up falling to you just because by the definition and depth of the draft," explained Petersen. I'm not giving up on the fact that we can't get a difference maker and be really super happy with our pick."
Angel McCoughtry, Kristie Tolliver, Renee Montgomery, Marissa Coleman, Ashley and Courtney Paris… It's time you start familiarizing yourself with these soon-to-be WNBA stars. Don't worry we'll have you covered here on lynxbasketball.com. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the unveiling of this year's 2009 WNBA Draft Central, your one stop shop for all things draft related.