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Atlanta Dream draft needs season preview: Trying to rebuild a bad roster in a hurry

When you tank but still don’t get Sabrina Ionescu, it can lead to a long season on the back end too. So the Dream have attempted to re-tool with talented parts other franchises didn’t want anymore.

Courtney Williams of Connecticut Sun shoots over Aerial Powers of the Washington Mystics in the first half during Game Five of the 2019 WNBA Finals at St Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena on October 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Atlanta Dream were a terrible basketball team in 2019 with an 8-26 record, and that normally gets you rewarded with a top draft pick. But not only did they lose via ping pong balls the opportunity to get Sabrina Ionescu, they fell all the way to the fourth pick in a three-woman class.

So instead of re-tooling via picks, they’ve gone out and acquired a hodge-podge of misfits to try and win more games right now. It’s a lot of players either blocked at their previous stop by someone else, or talented but unhappy pieces coming in via free agency. And given the roster construction from 2019, they really didn’t have a choice.

WNBA title odds: 75/1 (DraftKings Sportsbook projected odds)

Offseason moves

The Dream started by adding 6’7 Kalani Brown from Los Angeles, who won a national championship at Baylor in 2019, but was blocked by the Sparks front court. Then Glory Johnson signed as a free agent from Dallas. But Courtney Williams, the bundle of energy and midrange jumpers from the Connecticut Sun, gives them the best chance to start scoring this season. But there’s still a dearth of talent on this roster.

Additions

Kalani Brown (trade with Los Angeles)
Glory Johnson (free agent from Dallas)
Courtney Williams (trade with Connecticut)
Shekinna Stricklen (free agent from Connecticut)

Departures

Jessica Breland (free agency to Phoenix)
Brittney Sykes (trade with Los Angeles)
Marie Gulich (trade with Los Angeles)
Angel McCoughtry (free agency to Las Vegas)

2020 WNBA Draft

Picks

1st round, #4 overall
2nd round, #17 overall
3rd round, #25 overall
3rd round, #27 overall

Needs

Can everything be a need?

This team was dead last in offensive efficiency last season, scoring just 91.6 points per 100 possessions, which was an astounding 24.6 less than the champion Washington Mystics.

Tiffany Hayes has been with the franchise for eight seasons, but she’s only made one All-Star Game. Yet she was the leading scorer for the Dream last season, and she’s not exactly an elite playmaker. And everyone else left town.

Satou Sabally from Oregon and Lauren Cox from Baylor make a ton of sense for Atlanta, but they might go No. 2 and No. 3, leaving ATL with someone like a Chennedy Carter from Texas A&M. That’s the worst-case scenario, as although Carter is talented, she’s an interchangeable piece. If anyone needs to move up and get a big they can build around for the future, it’s Atlanta. Otherwise they might be right back here next season with not much hope of anything, and not enough young pieces to build around to acquire free agent talent.