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WNBA Draft 2018 Preview: Connecticut Sun

2017 Record: 21-13, No. 4 seed in Playoffs, Eliminated by Mercury in Second Round

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Re-signed Alyssa Thomas and Shekinna Stricklen to multi-year contracts
  • Acquired Cayla George from Phoenix in exchange for 2018 2nd round pick (No. 21 overall)
  • Signed 2017 draft pick Leticia Romero to rookie contract
  • Signed free agents Kelsey Griffin, Betnijah Laney and Jessica January
  • Signed head coach/general manager Curt Miller to contract extension through 2021

Last Year’s Draft Picks:

  • 1st Round/No. 8 Overall – Brionna Jones
  • 2nd Round/No. 13 Overall – Shayla Cooper
  • 2nd Round/No. 16 Overall – Leticia Romero
  • 3rd Round/No. 28 Overall – Jessica January

This Year’s Draft Picks:

  • 1st Round/No. 9 Overall
  • 2nd Round/No. 15 Overall (from Atlanta)
  • 3rd Round/No. 33 Overall

2017 Season Highlights:

Team Needs/Draft Strategy:

The Sun were the surprise breakout team of 2017, winning 21 games and getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Jonquel Jones was named Most Improved Player after a record-breaking season (15.4 points per game, 11.9 rebounds, all-time mark for rebounds in a season), Curt Miller was named Coach and Executive of the Year in his second season in Connecticut and sending three players (Jones, Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas) to represent the Sun at WNBA All-Star 2017.

The Sun won’t be able to surprise anyone in 2018. They have established themselves as a team to be reckoned with and with that new reputation comes expectations of not only making the playoffs, but becoming a title contender. As the team looks to make that next step, it adds a significant piece back into the puzzle with the return of two-time All-Star Chiney Ogwumike, who missed all of 2017 as she rehabbed a torn left Achilles.

In the offseason, the Sun made it a priority to keep its young core together, re-signing Thomas and Shekinna Strickland, giving Miller a contract extension through 2021 and signing 2017 second-round pick Leticia Romero to add depth to the backcourt. Connecticut also acquired center Cayla George from Phoenix in exchange for its second-round pick in this draft. That leaves the Sun with three picks (Nos. 9, 15 and 33 overall) to try to find players that can challenge for a roster spot on an already deep squad.

The Sun have no glaring holes to fill. They were a top four offense and defense, ranked in the top half in effective field goal percentage, ranked third in rebound percentage, had the league’s lowest turnover percentage despite playing at the second-fastest pace and had a great balance of inside and outside scoring. In terms of players to target in the draft, the Sun could look for a 3-and-D wing that can stretch the floor offensively and lock down opposing perimeter players on defense. UConn’s Kia Nurse would be a good fit and wouldn’t have to go far following the draft.