1. Las Vegas Aces: Katie Lou Samuelson, 6’3 G/F, Connecticut
The Aces have two ways to go, presumably, when planning for 2019: they could add a center, with a pair of elite options in this draft, or they can look to add shooting. A lot comes down to whether the Aces think they are a legitimate title contender in 2019, or they shoot for a longer-term window start. I think Bill Laimbeer sees a way to the top right away, and thus the continued work from Carolyn Swords at the five helps mitigate the immediate need. But these Aces absolutely have to shoot the ball better and more often from beyond the arc. Consider that every single WNBA team posted at least 23 percent of field goal attempts from three in 2018. Every team, that is, but Las Vegas, which came in last in the metric, at 15.5 percent.
Samuelson, to put it mildly, is a solution to this problem. She made 47.5 percent of her threes last season, after marks of 39.4 percent and 42 percent freshman and sophomore seasons. Samuelson, however, is far more than a perimeter specialist, leading the country in two-point field goal percentage at 69 percent, and posting her third straight season with a double-digit assist and defensive rebounding percentage. She’s become a defensive option on twos, threes or fours, and it is easy to see her fitting into lineups alongside, say, A’ja Wilson, Kayla McBride and either Kelsey Plum or Moriah Jefferson. She has a high basketball IQ, she’s learned in a WNBA player factory, and she’s going to help Las Vegas be scary good right away.