The draft went down, and either you were surprised, or you weren’t. Here’s the board:
1. Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
2. Moriah Jefferson, San Antonio Stars
3. Morgan Tuck, Connecticut Sun
4. Rachel Banham, Connecticut Sun
5. Aerial Powers, Dallas Wings
6. Jonquel Jones, Los Angeles Sparks
7. Kahleah Copper, Washington Mystics
8. Courtney Williams, Phoenix Mercury
9. Tiffany Mitchell, Indiana Fever
10. Imani Boyette, Chicago Sky
11. Bria Holmes, Atlanta Dream
12. Adut Bulgak, New York Liberty
1. Rachel Hollivay, Atlanta Dream
2. Jazmon Gwathmey, Minnesota Lynx
3. Whitney Knight, Los Angeles Sparks
4. Courtney Walker, Atlanta Dream
5. Jamie Weisner, Connecticut Sun
6. Ruth Hamblin, Dallas Wings
7. Lia Galdeira, Washington Mystics
8. Jillian Alleyne, Phoenix Mercury
9. Brene Moseley, Indiana Fever
10. Bashaara Graves, Minnesota Lynx
11. Brianna Butler, Los Angeles Sparks
12. Ameryst Alston, New York Liberty
1. Brittney Martin, San Antonio Stars
2. Lexi Eaton Rydalch, Seattle Storm
3. Aliyyah Handford, Connecticut Sun
4. Niya Johnson, Atlanta Dream
5. Talia Walton, Los Angeles Sparks
6. Shakena Richardson, Dallas Wings
7. Danaejah Grant, Washington Mystics
8. Nirra Fields, Phoenix Mercury
9. Julie Allemand, Indiana Fever
10. Jordan Jones, Chicago Sky
11. Temi Fagbenle, Minnesota Lynx
12. Shacobia Barbee, New York Liberty
Then the Sparks traded Jones to the Sun for Chelsea Gray and the 15th and 23rd picks in the 2016 WNBA Draft and the first round pick in the 2017 draft.
They drafted Breanna Stewart and Lexi Eaton Rydalch, which gives them an A grade. Stewart is Lauren Jackson 2016, and will most likely make a seamless transition to the pros. Rydalch is a good fit with Seattle and should make the final roster.
Moriah Jefferson will fill the point guard role that has been empty since Becky Hammon retired, and Brittney Martin and Jazmon Gwathmey are both high-scoring guards who are used to leading on court. Grade: A.
Morgan Tuck, Rachel Banham, Jonquel Jones and Jamie Weisner with Chiney Ogwumike and the other great players on this Connecticut team? That’s a slam dunk – and an A+ grade.
Aerial Powers brings a complex skill set; Ruth Hamblin brings height and size; Shakena Richardson is an electric guard. Grade: B.
Coach Mike Thibault’s reputation for making maverick picks didn’t disappoint, as he chose Kahleah Copper, Lia Galdeira and Danaejah Grant. Copper was rumored to be going first round, but Galdeira and Grant were a surprise. Grade: don’t know yet.
Chelsea Gray, Whitney Knight and Brianna Butler are the guard presence Los Angeles needs, and Talia Walton adds a bit of size. Guess what? The Sparks done A good (grade).
Bria Holmes, Rachel Hollivay, Courtney Walker and Niya Johnson? Holy moly, they will be loaded. A grade.
Courtney Williams is a great fit with Phoenix. And their decision to take and wait for Jillian Alleyne will pay big dividends for them. Nirra Fields could make the roster too. With Diana Taurasi’s return this season, the Mercury didn’t need much; they get an A-.
Tiffany Mitchell will help with their guard needs, as will Brene Moseley. But Julie Allemand too? Why three point guards? Grade: C.
If she comes along fast, Imani Boyette will help replace the hole left by last year’s trade of center Sylvia Fowles. Jordan Jones has a smooth game, and could be a good fit. Grade: B-.
Adut Bulgak fills their need for a center, and Ameryst Alston and Shacobia Barbee are both prolific scorers who could each contribute right away. Grade: A.
Minnesota got a great veteran leader in Jia Perkins, and Bashaara Graves is a good fit with the Lynx. Temi Fagbenle will forego the season to finish school. The defending champs are already loaded and didn’t need much, so tonight’s acquisitions are just cake icing. Grade: A-.
There are more A’s this year than in previous years because this was such a deep and talented draft class. You pretty much couldn’t make a bad pick with so many fantastic ball players available. As there was only one head-scratcher pick for me, the only amazing – albeit tragic – circumstance for me is that there are still many great athletes that didn’t get picked: Shereesha Richards, Janee Thompson, Nicole Seekamp, Kelsey Minato, Tori Jarosz, Tabatha Richardson-Smith, Jada Payne, Tina Roy and Khadijah Sessions, to name a few.
I sure wish the league were bigger.
Alright, let’s start training camp and get this thing rolling.