2018 WNBA Rookie Report: Maria Vadeeva

via FIBA website
via FIBA website /

Welcome to the 2018 Rookie Report. This initial set of posts will give a brief outlook on members of the 2018 WNBA draft class.

We will discuss the answers these players provide to their new teams along with questions that will need to be answered for them to maximize their potential as a player. We’ll close with thoughts on what will need to happen for each player to get some playing time and offer thoughts on what you should be looking forward right away as you tune in on League Pass. (Advanced stats obtained via HerHoopStats. Read their glossary here.)

Maria Vadeeva

Round 1, Pick 11 – Los Angeles Sparks

Age: 19 – Height: 6’4 – Position: Forward/Center

2017 FIBA U19 World Cup stats: 18.4 PPG, 14 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.6 BPG, 55.3% FG, 81.5% FT

The Sparks got an absolute bargain in Vadeeva, an obvious first round-caliber player that only made teams nervous because of her anticipated overseas commitments that may limit her availability during the WNBA season each year.

Answers she provides

  • Capable midrange shooter
  • Can distribute from different spots on the floor
  • Unafraid to put a shoulder into someone and go to a hook with either hand

Questions looking forward

  • Defending in space
  • Assimilating to the pace of the WNBA
    First step to drive by her initial defender from the three-point line

Path to playing time

The Sparks absolutely needed a fourth big on their roster. Jantel Lavender, Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike have played together for years and most recently have been sharing the 80 available minutes at PF/C each night. Head coach Brian Agler may have more to go around in this condensed 2018 season.

One thing to watch right now

How much does she share the court with overseas teammate Nneka Ogwumike? The obvious pairing could ease her transition after missing all of training camp. Plus, Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender certainly have plenty of experience playing in tandem up front.