The Aces lead off, the rest of the league follows, the WNBA draft is going to be fascinating.
With Tuesday’s news that Bill Laimbeer, and only Bill Laimbeer, gets to make the first pick in WNBA drafts now and forever, speculation immediately turned to who both the Aces and the rest of the league will take in a deep 2019 WNBA Draft.
The Aces get to choose anyone to complement a talent base that includes a number of elite players on rookie contracts, such as A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Moriah Jefferson (assuming the Aces pick up her option), along with young vet Kayla McBride. Only Dearica Hamby, among the key contributors in 2018, is a potential free agent this winter.
Still, while the rich get richer, there’s a pool of talent that can help every WNBA team. We’ve spoken to a dozen WNBA talent evaluators to get a read on where the league’s front offices see the draft here, around eight months out.
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If it were held right now, here’s the official High Post Hoops projection of how it will go, with one important caveat: Sabrina Ionescu.
The Oregon junior is the likely number one pick if she comes out early, four WNBA talent evaluators agreed. Even Laimbeer seemed to be selling the benefits of Las Vegas to those who were deciding whether to come out early on Tuesday night’s lottery broadcast on ESPN.
It’s far from decided, according to a source familiar with the Oregon program, who pointed out “She can stay here and rewrite the PAC-12 and NCAA record book.”
If Ionescu stays in school, this is how the draft looks right now.