2022 Draft Lottery Preview: Dallas Wings

The 2022 WNBA Draft Lottery will be held Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) to determine which team will secure the top pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, which will be held in April.

The Indiana Fever, Atlanta Dream, Washington Mystics, and Dallas Wings (via Los Angeles) – are vying for the No. 1 overall pick with the lottery odds based on the cumulative records of the past two regular seasons.

We have already broken down the three teams with the highest odds of winning the lottery – Indiana (44.2%), Atlanta (27.6%) and Washington (17.8%) – and wrap up our team-by-team look at the lottery with the Dallas Wings (10.4%), who are hoping to make back-to-back No. 1 picks after taking Charli Collier first overall in 2021.

Here are five things to know about the Wings headed into the Draft Lottery.

1. The Wings are the only playoff team in the lottery field as they finished as the No. 7 seed and were eliminated in the single-elimination first round by the eventual champions, the Chicago Sky. So how did they end up in the lottery?

This pick originally belonged to the Los Angeles Sparks, who finished 10th in the stands. The Wings acquired the pick in the trade last April the day before the 2021 WNBA Draft. Dallas sends the No. 7 overall pick and a second-round pick in the 2021 Draft to Los Angeles in exchange for the Sparks’ 2022 first-round pick.

The Wings have the lowest chance of winning the lottery (10.4%) as their odds were determined by using Los Angeles’ combined 27-27 record from the past two seasons. However, had Dallas’ 22-32 record for the past two seasons been used, they still would have been fourth among the field.

Team Combined 2020-2021 Record Chances (out of 1,000)
Indiana Fever 12-42 442
Atlanta Dream 15-39 276
Washington Mystics 21-33 178
Dallas Wings 27-27 104

2. Looking at the current 2022 team rosters – prior to the draft and free agency – the Wings are one of five teams that has five former lottery picks on their team.

  • Dallas: Charli Collier, Awak Kuier, Satou Sabally, Allisha Gray, Moriah Jefferson
  • Atlanta: Aari McDonald, Chennedy Carter, Elizabeth Williams, Odyssey Sims, Shekinna Stricklen
  • Las Vegas: Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Liz Cambage, Angel McCoughtry
  • Los Angeles: Lauren Cox, Amanda Zahui B, Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike, Kristi Toliver
  • Seattle: Sue Bird, Katie Lou Samuelson, Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Epiphanny Prince

Both the Dream and Wings can have half of their 12-player rosters consist of lottery picks depending on what happens on draft night in April.

3. Of course, that raises a key question on what is more valuable for the Wings heading into 2022 – adding another young prospect to an already young roster, or looking to utilize their pick as a trade asset to acquire a veteran starter.

The Wings have one of the youngest rosters in the WNBA. Their most veteran player is Kayla Thornton, who just finished her sixth WNBA season. The 2021 roster included three rookies, three sophomores and two players in their third year in the league.

Dallas had the top two picks in the 2021 Draft and used them to select Collier and Kuier, both of whom played sparingly in their rookie campaigns. Collier ranked 10th on the Wings in minutes (12.3 mpg in 28 games played), while Kuier ranked 11th (8.9 minutes in 16 games). Both players showed flashes of their potential – Collier earned All-Rookie Team honors, finishing third in scoring (3.4 ppg) and first in rebounding (3.6 rpg) among first-year players – and should earn more playing time in their second WNBA seasons.

4. Statistically, the Wings finished the 2021 season ranked sixth in the league in offense (102.2 points per 100 possessions) and eighth in defense (103.0 points allowed per 100 possessions). They were one of the top rebounding teams as their rebound percentage (52.0%) ranked third in the WNBA.

The Wings averaged the fourth-most 3-pointers made (8.2 per game) and shot the long ball at the fifth-highest percentage (35.4%). However, they finished the season ranked eighth overall in field goal percentage (42.0%), which is due to Dallas shooting the second-lowest percentage on 2-point shots (45.1%).

After winning the scoring title in her second season (22.8 ppg), Arike Ogunbowale finished fifth in 2021 at 18.7 ppg and earned her second All-WNBA selection (First Team in 2020, Second Team in 2021). Ogunbowale shot a career-best 37.6% from beyond the arc (20th in the WNBA), but a career-low 38.8% on 2-point shots.

5. Looking for areas that can be improved in 2022, the first place to look is at the Wings defense. They finished in the bottom half of the league in nearly every defensive statistical category:

  • Defensive efficiency: 103.0 points allowed per 100 possession (8th)
  • Opponent effective field goal percentage: 50.5% (9th)
  • Blocked shots per game: 3.9 (8th)
  • Steals per game: 6.8 (7th)
  • Opponent turnover percentage: 16.5% (8th)
  • Opponent fast break points: 10.1 per game (11th)
  • Opponent points in the paint: 37.4 per game (10th)

And near the middle of the pack in the others:

  • Opponent second-chance points: 9.6 per game (5th)
  • Defensive rebound percentage: 72.7% (5th)
  • Opponent points off turnovers: 14.6 per game (6th)

The good news from 2021 is that the Wings made it back to the postseason after a two-year absence in coach Vickie Johnson’s first season at the helm. If the young Wings want to take the next step and win a playoff series for the first time since moving to Dallas in 2016 – the franchise’s last playoff series win came in 2015 as the Tulsa Shock – making strides on defense will be key.

Will they be doing so with another lottery pick on the roster? Can they defy the odds and win the lottery and end up with back-to-back No. 1 overall picks? Or will they make a move with this pick in the months leading up to the draft?