Y'all, the WNBA draft is tomorrow and I am so beyond excited. The draft means it's one step closer to season and it's going to be one for the books.
But before I can even think about the season, the mock draft has to be revealed.
Fair warning: This mock draft is going to have tons of twists and turns concerning who is picked where. Anything can happen in the WNBA draft. Let's get to it.
Writers note: It was reported by Rachel Galligan, via twitter, that the Dallas Wings traded the 7th pick to the Los Angeles Sparks for future draft assets. This mock draft has been adjusted accordingly.
Dallas Wings: Awak Kuier, Finland
LOOK OUT BELOW! Awak Kuier is one of the most exciting players in this draft. At just 19 years old she has tons of potential on the interior, which Dallas needs. Despite her height, she has the ability to shoot the three, create her own shot with the stop-and-pop and is quite efficient in the pick-and-roll. She has the ability to run the floor with her versatility and length. If you're a basketball fan who just likes dunks, she can throw it down with authority. On the defensive end, she uses her height and length to take control in the paint with the ability to grab rebounds and block shots. Dallas needs some bigs and better interior defense so choosing Awak seems like the correct choice.
2. Dallas Wings: Aari McDonald, Arizona
Since before the 2020-2021 season even started, I had Aari McDonald as one of my sleepers. My feeling that she was going to be a star in the Pac-12 and in the NCAA was proven throughout her play this season. As the primary ball handler for the Wildcats, she averaged 5.6 assists as well as an impressive 20.6 points per game.
Dallas loves to shoot the ball and McDonald is one of the best pure sharpshooters in this years draft. This past season, she shot 40.7 from the field and 34.5 from beyond-the-arc. With her passing game and ability to create shots for herself and teammates, she can help Dallas a ton. Having a true and skilled point guard like McDonald on the team will help alleviate passing duties from Arike Ogunbowale.
Photo courtesy of Mike Christy/Arizona Athletics
Although Dallas could use another big to partner with Kuier and Alarie and are guard heavy already, McDonald can fill in the point guard spot and will be a good option in the rotation with Marina Mabrey. I expect McDonald to make an immediate impact with the Wings no matter if she's in the starting rotation or first off the bench.
3. Atlanta Dream: Charli Collier, Texas
I know what y'all are thinking. Why did Charli Collier drop to the third pick. Well just like Dallas, Atlanta does need help in the front-court and not as much in the back-court. With Kuier obviously off the board, the next best post player is Collier.
She still needs to develop her game and must show up in big games. In two of the three games against Baylor, one away in Waco and the other in the NCAA tournament, she struggled to asserts offensive presence in the paint. Same with the games against UCLA and South Carolina in the tournament.
But the bright side with Collier is that she has major defensive prowess, crashing the boards on both ends, the ability to score in the paint and shoot the three. This past season, she averaged 19 points and 11.3 rebounds per game including a total of 37 blocks.
She has great veterans like Cheyenne Parker and Monique Billings to learn from. She will be a great compliment to Kalani Brown down low wherever she ends up in the rotation. I believe Nicki Collen's system will allow Charli to grow and show the potential we all know she has.
4. Indiana Fever: Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Rennia Davis is one of the most underrated players in this draft. In the deep waters of the SEC, she was able to excel and show dominance throughout season. It didn't matter which team she was going up against, she was going to show up whether it be her scoring or rebounding. This past season, she averaged 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Indiana needs a true wing player who can play the 2-4. Davis is that player. She doesn't rely on three point shooting but when you have both Kelsey and Tiffany Mitchell on the squad, that's okay. Davis has the ability to create her own shot and is a very proficient scorer from the mid-range and down low. She'll bring a whole other skill set that the Fever are lacking.
5. Dallas Wings (from Washington via New York): Arella Guirantes, Rutgers
Arella Guirantes is one of the many two-way players who can efficiently play the 2-3 spots. I know Dallas chose a guard already but hear me out with Guirantes.
Dallas could use a scorer off the bench. They tried last season with Allisha Gray but ended up starting her after a few games as sixth player. In comes Guirantes. Everyone knows that Ogunbowale, although extremely capable hence being the WNBA's leading scorer last season, she can't be in the game for all 40 minutes or even 37-39.
Guirantes will help alleviate any scoring doubt and will be able to carry some of the weight when Ogunbowale is taking a breather. She can also rebound which is something that Dallas will need more of off the bench.
This past season, she averaged 21.3 points and 6 rebounds per game. She can shoot and drive to the paint, allowing more flexibility with new head coach Vickie Johnson's offense.
6. New York Liberty (from Connecticut via Phoenix): Kiana Williams, Stanford
I'm so thankful I was able to go to the Women's championship game in San Antonio. I got to see Kiana Williams play in person, from the nosebleeds. Although she didn't play up to expectations, she was a menace on the perimeter no matter the matchup. I knew what she could do and bring to whatever team takes her. When I was able to catch Stanford games that weren't on Pac-12 network, I was impressed.
There were a few games that she struggled in throughout the regular season and the tournament but her perimeter defense made up for it. New York brought in tons of defensive reinforcements but it was Natasha Howard.
The biggest need the Liberty need to address is perimeter defense. Williams is perfect for that. Sure her scoring ability is good, averaging 14.0 points per game this past season, but her 44 steals is the person defensive piece in the Liberty's defensive puzzle.
7. Los Angeles Sparks (form Dallas via Chicago): Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Chelsea Dungee was one of the most impactful players this past season for the Razorbacks. She could take control of games with ease. When she was locked in, there was practically no way her team would lose. That kind of ability and spark (no pun intended) is what the Sparks needs at the 2-3 positions.
Dungee is not that much of a passer but she is a shooter and a perimeter defensive menace, recording a total of 41 steals this past season. Her all around game is based on the perimeter and not down low so she's not one to get rebounds but can drive to the paint. To top of her stealing ability, she is a pure shooter. Dungee was who the Razorbacks relied on and gosh did she ever deliver. This past season, she averaged 22.3 points per game on a 42.4% clip from the field and 38.7% from three. She was always consistent and never score in single digits this past season.
The Sparks already have a great three down low in Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike and Amanda Zahui B. Dungee is the piece LA needs on the perimeter or the wing to compliment Kristi Toliver and Te'a Cooper.
8. Chicago Sky (from Phoenix via Dallas): Dana Evans, Louisville
Aside from Courtney Vandersloot, the Chicago Sky are really depleted at the point. They brought in Brittany Boyd from the Liberty but she isn't enough to be the floor general with Sloot is on the bench. Allie Quigley, Vandersloot's wife, is a pure shooting guard and James Wade won't touch that.
In comes Dana Evans. She is a shooter at heart but has the ability to grow as a passer, especially learning from Vandersloot.
Evans potential for being a passer in this league was shown this season. Despite only averaging 3.9 assists per game, she had a 1.83 assist to turnover ratio. Even though she is a great shooter from anywhere on the floor, averaged 20.1 points per game, learning behind Quigley is a huge advantage. Let's face it. Being able to learn from the VanderQuigs is the way to become an instant two way player and I believe Evans will turn into just that.
9. Minnesota Lynx: Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State
The Minnesota Lynx brought in an impressive class of free agents, Natalie Achonwa, Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers. There team is basically complete and in high contention to win it all this season.
What the Lynx do need though is more reinforcement down low. Natasha Mack is the perfect match.
This past season with the Cowgirls she dominated inside the paint on both ends. She averaged 19.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. What really stands out was her four blocks per game.
Last season, the Lynx only averaged 3 blocks per game and adding Mack will bolster that defensive presence down low that was lacking.
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Jasmine Walker, Alabama
With the loss of Candace Parker going to the Sky, the Sparks need a third player to compliment the Ogwumike sisters and Zahui B. Walker could be the piece to try and make up for the loss of Parker.
At 6'3, Walker has great athleticism that extends her range from just being a paint beast. I'm going to mention this a lot but Walker resembles Parker so much that if she Sparks don't take her, I'll be shocked.
This past season, she averaged 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game shooting at an impressive 56.3% from the field and 39.8% from three. She's truly a stretch four that can produce anywhere on the floor offensively.
She still has tons of room to develop down low but with her talent and potential, I see her blooming and expanding her defensive abilities.
11. Seattle Storm: Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA
Michaela Onyenwere is a more traditional forward despite her height at 6'0. Her ability to score in the paint and convert at the line is what makes her a good inside fit for the Seattle Storm.
After losing Natasha Howard to the Liberty, adding another forward is crucial for Seattle. The Storm did sign Candice Dupree but she's going on her 16th season. Onyenwere is a great piece for the Storm to help mold.
Having Breanna Stewart, who can do basically everything, is the perfect player to help Onyenwere grow and expand her game.
Onyenwere averaged 19.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game but she barely shot it from beyond-the-arc. If the Storm intend to have her in a development role, Stewart has all the ability in the world to transform Onyenwere into a versatile offensive player. Having the ability to extend from range in addition to her already great inside scoring, she can be a huge piece in the future of Seattle.
12. Las Vegas Aces: DiJonai Carrington, Baylor
When Carrington chose to transfer to Baylor from Stanford, she took a slight risk.
With Baylor's squad already being super stacked and their starting five solidified, Carrington accepted her role of coming off the bench. It paid dividends.
Carrington gave the bench scoring capabilities that were desperately needed. She added to their depth in a Mulkey lineup that uses as few players in the rotation as possible. She was the second leading scorer for the Lady Bears, averaging 14.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
Bill Laimbeer's Aces squad loves big guards with Dearica Hamby as the main prime example.
The Aces don't need her to shoot threes because they're more of a paint based team. But, they definitely will benefit with someone who can shoot the midrange and distract from the twin towers known as Liz Cambage and A'ja Wilson.
13. Dallas Wings (from New York): Iliana Rupert, France
14. Las Vegas Aces (from Indiana): Trinity Baptise, Arizona
15. Atlanta Dream: Destiny Slocum, Arkansas
16. Chicago Sky (from Dallas via Los Angeles and Dallas): Shyla Heal, Australia
17. New York Liberty (from Washington): Unique Thompson, Auburn
18. Seattle Storm (from Connecticut): Didi Richards, Baylor
19. Indiana Fever (from Chicago): Janelle Bailey, North Carolina
20. Connecticut Sun (from Phoenix): Ivana Raca, Wake Forest
21. Connecticut Sun (from Minnesota): Lindsey Pulliam, Northwestern
22. Los Angeles Sparks: Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse
23. Seattle Storm: Micaela Kelly, Central Michigan
24. Indiana Fever (from Las Vegas): Chelsea Perry, UT-Martin
25. New York Liberty: Stephanie Watts, North Carolina
26. Indiana Fever: Aaliyah Wilson, Texas A&M
27. Atlanta Dream: Jill Townsend, Gonzaga
28. Los Angeles Sparks (from Dallas): Kyrse Gondrezick, West Virginia
29. New York Liberty (from Washington): Deja Church, DePaul
30. Connecticut Sun: Jenn Wirth, Gonzaga
31. Indiana Fever (from Chicago): Valerie Higgins, Pacific
32. Phoenix Mercury: N'dea Jones, Texas A&M
33. Indiana Fever (from Minnesota): Ciera Johnson, Texas A&M
34. Los Angeles Sparks: Gabby Connally, Georgia
35. Seattle Storm: Natalie Kucowski, Lafayette
36. Las Vegas Aces: Aleah Goodman, Oregon State