The time has come. The 25th WNBA Draft will take place on Thursday night.
Let’s take a look at all 12 WNBA teams and the ways in which they will meet their needs through the bevy of young talent waiting for the opportunity to join the league.
Picks: 3, 15, 27
Needs: Post depth, defensive help, versatility.
The Dream, coming off of last season’s struggles, have an opportunity to pick up an impact player with a high draft pick. Atlanta could use post depth and support for Elizabeth Williams inside. They could use some depth on the wing, with the return of Tiffany Hayes and Chennedy Carter in the backcourt. And they could use a versatile player who could plug in where needed. Both of the young guards below should be helpful to that end.
Who could fit the bill: Rennia Davis (G/F, Tennessee); Arella Guirantes (G, Rutgers)
Picks: 8, 16
Needs: A backup point guard.
James Wade, whose team made the biggest move of the offseason with the free agent acquisition of hometown star Candace Parker, has made it clear that he would like to find a player who could learn under the wing of Courtney Vandersloot and also be able to spell her. The Sky aren’t the only team looking for a point guard, but still, at No. 8, he should have a few good choices.
Who could fit the bill: Aari McDonald (G, Arizona); Dana Evans (G, Louisville); Kiana Williams (G, Stanford)
Picks: 20, 21, 30
Needs: Guard/small forward or wing.
With Alyssa Thomas out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon and no first-round picks – their first pick at No. 20 in the second round – the Sun will be mining the later rounds for a possible player who could fill at least a little of those shoes, hoping to find a young player who could pitch in some scoring and versatility.
Who could fit the bill: Destiny Slocum (G, Arkansas)
Picks: 1, 2, 5, 7, 13
Needs: Post depth, rebounding, interior defense.
With five of the first 15 picks stockpiled, the Wings are going to be able to address some needs and likely put themselves in a position to make a deal or two to put new head coach Vickie Johnson in a position to take a young team to the playoffs. Dallas needs post depth, rebounding and a defensive presence inside and it looks like they will get it in those top two picks with the anticipated selections of Charli Collier and Awak Kuier, while also having the opportunity to find a player to complement the core group of Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally and Moriah Jefferson.
Who could fit the bill: Charli Collier (F/C, Texas); Awak Kuier (C, Finland); Natasha Mack (F, Oklahoma State); Aari McDonald (G, Arizona); Arella Guirantes (G, Rutgers); Chelsea Dungee (G, Arkansas)
Picks: 4, 19, 24, 26, 31, 33
Needs: Scoring from the wing.
With six picks in this draft – including the No. 4 pick – the Indiana Fever, led in her second season by Marianne Stanley, could get a lot done via draft and via trade. On paper, they are pretty well set inside with the young post duo of Teaira McCowan and Lauren Cox and added Danielle Robinson as a veteran in the backcourt. Depth at the 3-4 spots would be the most helpful. The Fever will be looking for the best small/potential stretch forwards available. But Arizona’s Aari McDonald would be the kind of splashy pick that would bring some much-needed attention to the Fever after some quiet seasons.
Who could fit the bill: Rennia Davis (G/F, Tennessee); Arella Guirantes (G, Rutgers); Aari McDonald (G, Arizona)
Las Vegas Aces
Picks: 12, 14, 36
Needs: Frontcourt depth.
Last season, without Liz Cambage, the Aces needed to pull Carolyn Swords out of retirement to play in the bubble. This is a team that could use another big body to play inside with Cambage and A’ja Wilson, not to mention a strong small forward to take up some minutes and contribute some points on the wing.
Who could fit the bill: Natasha Mack (F, Oklahoma State); DiJonai Carrington (G, Baylor)
Los Angeles Sparks
Picks: 10, 22, 28, 34
Needs: Small forward, point guard.
With the departure of Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray, it’s a new era in Los Angeles, and one of the first tasks for Derek Fisher as head coach/GM is to find a point guard of the future for the Sparks with the No. 10 pick in the first round. There is also the need to find a small forward, who will learn a lot playing in between the Ogwumike sisters and Kristi Toliver. With the addition of Erica Wheeler and Amanda Zahui B this is going to be a team looking for a new identity in order to find its usual level of success.
Who could fit the bill: Michaela Onyenwere (F, UCLA); Kiana Williams (G, Stanford); DiJonai Carrington (G, Baylor), Jasmine Walker (F, Alabama)
Needs: Overall versatility, point guard depth.
With only one pick in this draft, and the roster fairly well set – including the additions of Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa – the Lynx will be looking for the best available player at No. 9 with a chance to make the roster and add depth and versatility. After scoring big with Crystal Dangerfield, who was the WNBA Rookie of the Year as a second-round pick in 2020, Cheryl Reeve might have the secret to finding a strong, but underrated talent.
Who could fit the bill: Michaela Onyenwere (G, UCLA); Natasha Mack (F Oklahoma State)
Picks: 6, 17, 25, 29
Needs: Point guard depth and a wing player who can score.
The young Liberty, heading into Walt Hopkins’ second season at the helm, will have four picks and the No. 6 pick, and with the uncertainty of Asia Durr’s health status, they will likely be looking for guards early, even as they anxiously await the return of Sabrina Ionescu to the floor after the ankle injury that cut short her rookie season in the bubble. Natasha Howard’s arrival allows New York to look for some help on the perimeter.
Who could fit the bill: Dana Evans (G, Louisville); Chelsea Dungee (G, Arkansas); Jasmine Walker (F, Alabama); Rennia Davis (G/F, Tennessee)
Needs: One more title for Diana Taurasi.
The Mercury are chasing a title and they built their roster last season to get it while giving up their meaningful participation in this draft. Phoenix would have been drafting at No. 8 in this draft, but traded that pick last year as part of the deal that brought Skylar Diggins-Smith to the roster and traded the No. 6 pick (received in the DeWanna Bonner sign-and-trade to Connecticut) to New York for Kia Nurse and Megan Walker and will likely begin the season with only 11 players on the roster. So Phoenix has only the 32nd pick in the third round and will hope to find a pleasant surprise.
Who could fit the bill: Tough to predict this late.
Picks: 11, 18, 23, 35
Needs: Point guard depth
Through a series of moves, the defending champions actually held the No. 1 pick in the draft for a brief time, before dealing it to Dallas to get Katie Lou Samuelson and a second-round pick next season. The Storm are another team in the market for point guard depth with an early pick at No. 11.
Who could fit the bill: Kiana Williams (G, Stanford); Shyla Heal (G, Australia)
Picks: No picks
The Mystics traded all three picks for the 2021 draft as part of the transaction that brought Tina Charles to Washington and with Charles joining the team this season, coach Mike Thibault is going to work on building chemistry on his roster with the goal of making another title run.
Who could fit the bill: No picks.
Longtime WNBA reporter Michelle Smith writes a weekly column on WNBA.com throughout the season. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.