Less than a week before the 2022 WNBA Draft, the No. 1 overall pick traded hands. The Atlanta Dream now owns it after reaching a deal Wednesday with the Washington Mystics, who won the toss in December. Atlanta will call the first name on Monday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) during the draft in New York.
The Dreams are under new management – the owners, general manager and coach all arrived last year – after missing the playoffs four of the past five seasons. Atlanta, which had the No. 3 pick, traded with Washington. The Mystics also get the No. 14 second-round pick, as well as the right to trade the 2023 first-round picks with Los Angeles, as the Dreams have the rights to that pick.
The top two picks seem set for several months, but there’s still some debate over whether NaLyssa Smith of the Baylor Bears or Rhyne Howard of the Kentucky Wildcats will become No. 1 overall.
The Indiana Fever has four first-round picks, and how new general manager Lin Dunn and the Fever choose to use their picks will have a big impact on the rest of the first round.
Most of the seniors who were slated to be first-round picks declared themselves for the draft, although Ashley Joens of the Iowa State Cyclones and Victaria Saxton of the South Carolina Gamecocks – who were slated to go in the second round – opted to stay on for a fifth season. university. We have two draft-eligible juniors who are expected to compete in the first round.
With only 12 WNBA teams and 144 roster spots, even being a first-round pick doesn’t guarantee a player will make a roster. It’s harder for second-round picks, and even harder for third-round picks. But at least Monday night they can all feel the excitement of being drafted.
Kentucky | guard | 6 feet 2 inches | Senior
Howard finished the season averaging 20.5 PPG and 7.4 RPG. At 6-foot-2 with 284 career 3-pointers, she has a chance to be a really tough game with her size on the perimeter. Howard has been back and forth between No. 1 and No. 2 in screening projects. The Dream clearly went through with the deal they made because they wanted someone in particular. And if it’s Howard, then she has the chance to be a pillar for the Dream to be built.
Baylor | forward | 6 feet 4 inches | Senior
The Fever are looking to improve on defense, and they could load positions with their top picks. Smith, who has averaged 22.1 PPG and 11.5 RPG this season, is a forward who has scored most of her points in the paint, but working with coach Marianne Stanley should help her stretch her game to be more positionless. Smith’s engine is still revving high, another defensive advantage.
Ole Miss | center | 6 feet 5 inches | Senior
Austin is averaging 15.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG this season. It appears the Mystics traded up from No. 1 because they were comfortable with one of the top three projected players. Austin has the ability to be a star of the future, but also to expand his game. Playing alongside Elena Delle Donne and coach Mike Thibault will help with that.
Oregon | centre/front | 6 feet 5 inches | junior red shirt
Due to injuries, Sabally has only played 47 career games with the Ducks, averaging 14.2 PPG and 7.5 RPG. But the potential she has at 6-5 to be a big influence on Fever’s offense and defense – both of which could use a boost – could be enough for Indiana to try their luck as a pick. lottery despite injury issues. .
NC State | center | 6 feet 5 inches | Senior
Cunane finished his Wolfpack career with an average of 14.8 PPG and 7.9 RPG. She also made 112 3-point shots, shooting 41.1 percent from behind the arc. The Liberty went for a center in free agency, getting 30-year-old Stefanie Dolson, who just finished a league season with Chicago. But adding more size with Cunane, who has shown attacking versatility, also makes sense.
Louisville | forward | 6 feet 1 | Senior
Engstler had a big impact in his lone season at Louisville, helping lead the Cardinals to the program’s fourth Final Four. She averages 11.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG and plays more than 6-1. Her consistent energy, ability to disrupt passing lanes and defensive fortitude should make her attractive to Fever general manager Dunn, who wants a better defense.
Tennessee | guard/forward | 6 feet 1 | Senior
An early-season injury impacted Burrell’s season, but she still averaged 12.3 PPG and 3.9 RPG. Last season, Burrell’s numbers were 16.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG, and she shot just over 40 percent from 3-point range. The Wings have a good size inside at center and forward, with Arike Ogunbowale leading their guard. Burrell could give them more size and depth on the wing.
mali | center | 6 feet 3 inches
Kone is only 19 and that could help him spend a season with the great Sylvia Fowles, who is retiring after the 2022 season. Kone would be a pick based on his promising potential, which could be enough for the Lynx takes her on one of the remaining college players.
Florida Gulf Coast | guard | 6 feet 1 | junior
Bell, a transfer from Ohio State, averaged 23.6 PPG and 9.4 RPG in two seasons on the Florida Gulf Coast, while making 143 3-pointers. The strong guard could help the Sparks perimeter offense.
South Carolina | guard | 5 feet 7 inches | Senior
If Henderson is still available, the Fever will be happy to add him as both a defensive spark plug and someone who can be a game changer on offense. We saw evidence of both in the Final Four, as Henderson helped keep UConn’s Paige Bueckers in check while leading the Gamecocks to the score.
michigan| forward | 6 feet 2 inches | Senior
Concern over Hillmon’s lack of shooting range could prevent him from going higher, but his relentless rebound and work ethic could be a boost for the Aces, who can benefit from greater depth at the front.
UConn | guard | 5 feet 11 inches | Senior
Williams struggled against the South Carolina defense in the national championship game – going 1 of 7 from the field for two points – but she has averaged 14.2 PPG this season and could find her best days ahead of her. as a professional.
13. Minnesota Lynx: Evina Westbrook, G, UConn
14. Washington Mystics: Veronica Burton, G, Northwest
15. Atlanta Dream: Olivia Nelson-Ododa, F, UConn
16. Los Angeles Sparks: Lorela Cubaj, F, Georgia Tech
17. Seattle Storm: Nia Clouden, G, Michigan State
18. Seattle Storm: Jade Melbourne, G, Australia
19. Los Angeles Sparks: Queen Egbo, C, Baylor
20. Indiana Fever: Jenna Staiti, C, Georgia
21. Seattle Storm: Lexie Hull, G, Stanford
22. Minnesota Lynx: Maya Dodson, F, Notre Dame
23. Las Vegas Ace: Khayla Pointer, G, LSU
24. Connecticut Sun: Mya Hollingshed, F, Colorado
25. Indiana Fever: Jordan Lewis, G, Baylor
26. Phoenix Mercury: Ameshya Williams-Holliday, C, Jackson State
27. Los Angeles Sparks: Kianna Smith, G, Louisville
28. Minnesota Lynx: Reka Dombai, G, Hungary
29. New York Liberty: Chloe Bibby, F, Maryland
30. Dallas Wings: Vivian Gray, F, Texas Tech
31. Dallas Wings: Joanne Allen-Taylor, G, Texas
32. Phoenix Mercury: Jasmine Dickey, F, Delaware
33. Seattle Storm: Hannah Sjerven, F, South Dakota
34. Indiana Fever: Aisha Sheppard, G, Virginia Tech
35. Las Vegas Ace: Macee Williams, F, IUPUI
36. Connecticut Sun: Kayla Wells, G, Texas A&M