Note: This mock draft was completed before a three-team trade that sent seven-time all-star Tina Charles from New York to Washington, Dallas received Washington’s first round pick in 2021 and New York’s second round pick in 2021 while sending the 9th and 15th picks to New York, and the Liberty receive guards Tayler Hill and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, the two picks from Dallas, and Washington’s first-round pick this year, the 12th overall.
The WNBA Draft is this Friday at 7:00 p.m., but of course there will be some changes due to the Covid-19 outbreak. No players will be appearing in person, and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert will announce all picks live on ESPN.
The Draft normally doesn’t take too long between picks, but there could be some decisions for this upcoming season as a deep class, combined with one team holding four of the 12 picks in the first round, makes for the possibility of some trades happening.
Let’s take a look at one look at how things might play out in the first round of the 2020 WNBA Draft.
1: Sabrina Ionescu, G, Oregon — New York Liberty
Start printing the jerseys now. The last sure-fire No. 1 overall pick in New York was Patrick Ewing.
Ionescu is as complete a player as women’s basketball has ever seen, and projects as someone that could theoretically challenge Diana Taurasi for GOAT status someday. That’s a long, long way off, but she’s the only player in college basketball history with 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, and 1000 assists. Losing the NCAA Tournament this year took away her chance to win it all, which is a shame as she was single-handedly amazing for Oregon on their trip to the Final Four last season.
2. Satou Sabally, F, Oregon — Dallas Wings
This one is really close, especially with hometown girl Lauren Cox in the mix as well. But Sabally is just too tantalizing and can’t be passed on here. The 6’4 German and Ionescu’s teammate averaged 16.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, but her ceiling is huge and the athleticism she shows is just too much to resist.
3. Lauren Cox, F, Baylor — Indiana Fever
If the Fever don’t end up in a trade scenario, their decision-making is pretty easy here: take whomever is left between Sabally and Cox. The Baylor grad sprained her MCL in the 2019 Women’s Final Four title game, and her numbers were down slightly in 2020, but she’s still got size and lots of playmaking ability for a post. Not as athletic as Sabally, but with flashes of a perimeter game that fits where basketball is heading, though Baylor didn’t ask her to show that as much this season.
4. Chennedy Carter, F, Texas A&M — Atlanta Dream
Any draft preview of the Dream could say “Needs: Everything.” Atlanta is bad, so taking the best player on the board is likely the way to go here. Carter is a pure scorer, but it’s via volume. She’ll need to work with Kalani Brown and Glory Johnson in the front court, and Courtney Williams can score as well, but there will be plenty of shots for her during the rebuild in the 404.
5. Megan Walker, F, UConn — Dallas Wings
I still think there’s a trade here, as Dallas either moves up to grab Cox at No. 3, or moves down to grab a point guard and keep some value on the board going forward. But if it goes stasis, Walker isn’t an ideal fit with the Dallas roster, but she can really shoot: 45% from three-point range, and 19.7 points and 8.4 rebounds pre game for Geno Auriemma. She’s not the best player in UConn history, but she can score and defend.
6. Tyasha Harris, PG, South Carolina — Minnesota Lynx
Paired with Arike Ogunbowale, this could be a backcourt to be reckoned with for many years. Harris is a pure point, which will take some of the ball-handling pressure of Ogunbowale that she had to shoulder last season. She can do a bit of everything, but her playmaking with 5.7 assists per game for the SEC champs is the appeal here.
7. Crystal Dangerfield, PG, UConn — Dallas Wings
The only knock on Dangerfield is her size, generously listed at 5’5. But her heart is as big as a lion and her motor is from a Harley. She could score at the college level, and that will be tougher in the W, but she’ll defend and give a huge effort every night. Dallas might not be getting an All-Star here, but that’s what the first two selections can be for, and they can pick for need if they don’t make a trade.
8. Bella Alarie, F, Princeton — Chicago Sky
With Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot already there, Alarie can give Chicago a team that can score with anyone. She’ll get a lot less attention than at Princeton where she faced double-teams on most touches, but she can score inside and outside. Teams are having trouble grading her because of the soft competition in the Ivy League, and at 6’4 she’ll need to add some strength, but all the tools are there. Bonus: You’re getting extra TV time as Alarie is Jay Bilas’ Goddaughter.
9. Ruthy Hebard, F, Oregon – Dallas Wings
Three months ago you’d of been stunned Hebard was still available at No. 9. The Pac-12 all-time leader in field goal percentage has been falling down draft boards, but still has all the skills to be an elite player in the right system. Dallas going young gives Hebard a chance to play with other incoming players to build around, and she still has the talent to be a double-double player in the WNBA. She’ll need to work on her defense, and she’s not a three-point shooter at all, but there’s still too much talent here to fall further.
10. Beatrice Mompremier, F, Miami – Phoenix Mercury
She’s a glass-eater than can score, and she’s averaged 16.7 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in two seasons for the Hurricanes. If she can develop a consistent perimeter J, this could be the steal of the draft because of her size at 6’4 and what she brings defensively. And she’ll have time to develop that as she can be a role player for a loaded PHX roster in 2020.
11. Kiah Gillespie, PF, Florida State — Seattle Storm
If you’re Seattle, you can take a bit of a flyer on a high-ceiling/low-floor player with all the talent you have on the roster. Let Gillespie sit the bench and learn from some of the best alive in Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, and if she can give you anything this season it’s a bonus. She’s a pure scorer that will need to develop other parts of her game. Mompremier is probably a better fit if she falls here, but take a project and swing big.
12. Te’a Cooper, G, Baylor — Washington Mystics
Kristi Toliver left the champs to play in Los Angeles, so why not take a point guard here that might help in the long run? Cooper can learn from veteran Leilani Cooper, and come off the bench during the title defense. She played at three different colleges, but they were Tennessee, South Carolina, and Baylor so there’s clearly talent here. Averaged 4.6 assists per game for the Bears last season, and shot 41.5% from three-point range. Considering she’ll learn the pro game from a veteran team, there’s little downside here.