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WNBA Draft 2017 Preview: Phoenix Mercury

2016 Record:
16-18, Eliminated in Playoff Semifinals by Minnesota (3-0)

Key Offseason Moves:
Acquired Danielle Robinson from San Antonio for Isabelle Harrison & No. 5 pick in 2017 draft
Acquired Camille Little and Jillian Alleyne in a three-team trade with Connecticut and Indiana. Phoenix sent Candice Dupree and the 17th pick in the 2017 draft to Indiana
Re-signed Brittney Griner to multi-year contract
Signed Leilani Mitchell

Last Year’s Draft Picks:
1st Round/8th Overall: Courtney Williams
2nd Round/20th Overall: Jillian Alleyne
3rd Round/32nd Overall: Nirra Fields

This Year’s Draft Picks:
3rd Round/29th Overall

2016 Highlights

Mercury 2016 Highlights

Team Needs:

Outside of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, the 2017 Phoenix Mercury roster will look much different than the one we saw in 2016. The other three starters from last year’s playoff team are out – Penny Taylor (retired), Candice Dupree (traded) and DeWanna Bonner (pregnant). But it goes beyond the starting lineup; nearly the entire Mercury bench is gone too, whether it be via trade or free agency. The only other player on the current Mercury roster that appeared in a game for the team last season is Alex Harden, who averaged just 7.5 minutes per game.

Phoenix has remade its team through trades and free agent signings, leaving the Mercury with only a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Using draft picks to acquire veteran players that can help immediately is a smart strategy for a team built around 12-year veteran Taurasi.

The Mercury traded their first round pick in the draft (fifth overall) and Isabelle Harrison to San Antonio in exchange for Danielle Robinson. The 5-9 point guard missed all of last season after suffering a torn Achilles, which she had surgically repaired in March 2016 and has already resumed playing overseas.  She is a three-time WNBA All-Star (2013-15), two-time All-Defensive Team selection (2013, 2014) and led the league in assists in 2013 with the second-highest average (6.72) in the last 13 WNBA seasons.

Phoenix traded its second round pick (17th overall) along with five-time All-Star forward Candice Dupree as part of a three team deal with Connecticut and Indiana that landed the Mercury veteran forward Camille Little and the draft rights to Jillian Alleyne, a player the Mercury selected in the second round of last year’s draft, but traded to Connecticut during a midseason transaction.

Alleyne is a promising talent who suffered a torn ACL during her senior season at Oregon that forced her to miss all of the 2016 WNBA season. That injury is what caused a player with first-round talent to drop to the second round (20th overall). Can the Mercury employ a similar strategy in this year’s draft with the 29th pick?