The 2K11 WNBA Draft from a Former GM’s Perspective (Part 1 of 3)
Posted by ataylorblog on April 9, 2011
Following one of the most competitive Women’s National Championship games in recent history between Notre Dame and Texas A&M, the next few days are some of the most exciting times for those of us who follow & enjoy women’s basketball and the WNBA. We’re mere hours away from WNBA Draft Day.
This particular blog (a 3 part series) will focus on various aspects of the upcoming 2011 WNBA Draft (aka Maya’s official coronation as the next WNBA star to wear a Lynx uniform). As someone who has been on hand for 13 of the 14 previous WNBA Drafts (I was fulfilling my final responsibilities with the Stanford women’s basketball team prior to the 1997 draft), I can verify that these are some of the of the most exciting days for WNBA coaches, general mangers, and executives as the move ahead with building their teams.
As we approach the WNBA Draft this Monday, I thought I’d share some of the questions I have in the back of my mind and look forward to having the answers as General Managers, Head Coaches, and team Owners make their final preparations with approximately 60 hours on the clock!
Things to watch for on Draft Day:
1. Minnesota has 4 picks in the top 15 and already has one of the deepest rosters in the league, look for them to trade a pick or two for a veteran or to trade a player for future considerations.
2. The #13 and #15 picks in the draft could make the final rosters of a couple of teams in desperate need of added depth and young prospects. Look for a team like Tulsa or San Antonio to look to move up in the 2nd round in the hopes of acquiring one of those picks.
3. There are always one or two surprises that take place in the 1st Round to throw off the rest of the draft. A team will covet a particular player who may be gone when they pick in the 2nd Round or they are unable to make a worthy trade back to get that player and are faced with the dilemma of having to “over” draft that player. I see a few scenarios where that happens this year when a team who needs a point guard or a post has to select a player higher than the player is projected to fill a desperate need on their roster.
4. There will be some players who may be off the radar who (mid to late second rounders) who end up making the roster, if they are lucky enough to be selected by the right team. Porsha Phillips from Georgia is a player that I have in mind here. I think she is a nice player with good upside who is somewhat off the radar. Look for her to go in the first half of the second round. There are a couple of teams who pick late in the 2nd Round who could really use her services and who could keep her on the final roster after a solid training camp.
5. It sounds like Washington’s Lindsey Harding and Minnesota’s Nicky Anosike may be All-Star quality players that their respective teams are willing to part with. As a result, look for either or both of those players to be involved in a draft day trade. Both players are worth 1st Round picks (either this year or a 2012 pick), so if a team covets their services, they will have to ante up to make this deal. It’s tough to find a PG with Harding’s abilities and a F/C with Anosike’s versatility and rebounding & defensive ability, so I am very interested in seeing what happens here. If a sufficient offer is not made by another team, don’t be surprised to see one or both stars staying put for the 2011 season.
6. Cheryl Ford is another All-Star who is unsigned. She may be waiting to see what players teams draft and teams may be waiting to see who they draft before settling on a deal for Cheryl. New York & Washington are two teams with legitimate needs in the post, so watch for who comes off the board at their picks as an indication as to what happens with Ford.
7. How valuable is a great NCAA Tournament run? I have always felt that Vandersloot is the best prototypical point guard in this draft and her tournament performance didn’t disappoint. This is a draft deep with sold guards, so teams have several options to fit their style, but we’ll all see how important it is for one to have a great tournament based on where Vandersloot comes off the board. Previous mock drafts have had Thomas and Robinson ahead of her, but don’t be surprised if her stock has risen higher than anyone else’s. I personally think Vandersloot is a Top 5 pick, but am not sure she will be selected that early. Also, watch for Marquette’s Angel Robinson to catch a point guard needy team’s eye.
8. Does Chicago go guard or post? Chicago’s selection at #3 will have a huge impact on the next 6-8 picks in the draft. If they select a guard such as Vandersloot, there will be a few post-needy teams later in the first round who are extremely happy knowing that one of the posts will fall to them. If they select a post (most likely Harris), where will Phillips and Lavender land? Similar to the 2010 WNBA Draft, the Sky hold the key for many teams’ draft fate.
Good news is that many of these questions will be answered soon. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series – AT’s Mock Draft