Phoenix Mercury despite having less favorable odds than the the Washington Mystics got the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft.
Chicago Sky will select second, Tulsa Shock third and the league’s worst Washington Mystics will likely miss out on a big three player, getting to select fourth.
Baylor’s Brittney Griner is expected to be the first overall pick in 2013, with Elena Delle Donne likely the second best player and Skylar Diggins third.
With the way the Mercury have been not using their best players over the season there has been an uproar on social media about them getting rewarded for such tactics. Not going to touch that subject because most of it has already been said.
The thing with Phoenix getting Griner is that they are currently the team that would know the least how to use her. By that I mean they aren’t likely to be using her properly on the defensive end of the floor, which arguably is her most refined part of the game, because Coach Gaines still thinks that you can win in this league at this age with just all out offense. Remembering 2011 when the Mercury key players were healthy and adding to that Griner doesn’t make the Mercury instant favorites in the West. Far from that. Taurasi will be one more step away from being the best player in world, Taylor will be coming off a major knee injury, Prahalis doesn’t do much else of what Temeka Johnson did. There’s certainly far more doubt in my mind than some who aren’t shy of calling that team championship caliber.
Now Elena Delle Donne going to Chicago Sky could be very interesting indeed. Looking back at the season for the Sky it appears that the trade that brought Swin Cash and Le’Coe Willingham to the Sky didn’t work out like it was intended as both players were very underwhelming this season. Bringing in a scorer at the 3 (even though most will compare her to Lauren Jackson, to me she’s more like Alba Torrens – a guard trapped in a 1,90m+ tall body), or 4 if needed, like Delle Donne should be a significant boost to the team, which should lift them in the playoffs. Another unknown is who will be making the selection as Pokey Chatman’s work hasn’t really given much room for hope for the future.
Tulsa once again didn’t see much luck with the lottery balls this year. If Liz Cambage comes over, the pick of Skylar Diggins could be useful, as Temeka Johnson will become an UFA (unless Tulsa cores her) and Ivory Latta would get moved to the bench where her place really is. With no Cambage their failure in the lottery will look more significant.
Washington despite getting more than 44% of all lottery ball combinations failed so much, that their numbers didn’t come up when drawing the first three picks. While a part of me feels bad for the team, one can’t just forget the negligence that led to that record and not rewarding that isn’t a particularly bad thing.
Of course none of this is given. There have been rumblings that Delle Donne given her history at UConn isn’t a certainty to show up, although on NBA TV yesterday she said basically that playing WNBA is in her plans no matter which of the four teams selects her. Heck, some WNBA employees have been rather skeptical about Griner showing up in the WNBA.