9. Connecticut Sun: Napheesa Collier, 6’1 F, Connecticut
If there is a hallmark of the roster Curt Miller has built in Connecticut, it is this: there’s always a Plan B. It’s the deepest team in the WNBA, almost to a fault. But Miller is ready. Behind Chiney Ogwumike is Jonquel Jones (or at times, vice versa), and Bri Jones. He’s got Morgan Tuck, too, for good measure, to go along with Shekinna Stricklen. Jasmine Thomas is at the point, but there’s Layshia Clarendon, added midyear, even with Lexie Brown already in tow. Courtney Williams is an emerging star, and there, right behind her, is Rachel Banham, who just had her best season yet.
But there’s one thing Curt doesn’t have: any kind of fallback plan for Alyssa Thomas, one of the most valuable and necessary players in the WNBA. Collier represents a possible Thomas-in-training, though. Her defense has improved dramatically at Connecticut. Her court awareness is rare at 6’1, and would allow Miller to run similar sets as he does with Alyssa Thomas as effectively co-facilitator. Collier is extremely efficient around the rim, and hits shots from beyond the arc as well—34.4 percent in 2017-2018, 43.1 percent in 2016-2017. Eventually, these young players will grow out of their rookie contracts, and Miller will need to make some tough decisions. Collier could grow into a player who makes those decisions a little easier to swallow.