12. Seattle Storm: Jessica Shepard, 6’4 F, Notre Dame
Jessica Shepard, a versatile 6’4 with an enormously high basketball IQ, is a potential number one scorer, in case you’ve forgotten her stint at Nebraska. And she reminded everyone of this in Notre Dame’s 97-70 rout of Florida State on February 10, scoring 26, and again versus Duke on February 21, scoring 24. She scored 30 on 17 shots to beat Louisville for the ACC title, too. Consider that she’s north of 60 percent in effective field goal percentage, without Muffet McGraw making her three a part of the offense. But that’s mostly why Shepard will contribute to Seattle right away, whyDan Hughes will deploy her. Let’s think about where Shepard might improve this Storm team, no easy feat with a defending champ. Out of the top eight Storm players in minutes played last season, exactly one had a defensive rebounding rate north of 20. So adding Shepard, a defensive rebounding force capable of still existing in the offensive flow the Storm runs, is a chance to take a team that can only get better on the margins and do so, before even considering how defenses are going to defend a true five-out frontcourt with Howard/Stewart/Shepard at times. Good luck, WNBA.