I’ve been asked by a few people if I was planning to do a mock draft, so I finally decided to say “sure, I’ll do one.” Obviously, there’s not a ton of intrigue surrounding what the New York Liberty will be doing with that first pick and I already wrote a pretty thorough breakdown of why Sabrina Ionescu should be the pick they make, so I won’t dwell too much on that pick. And since this is a New York Liberty-centric website, I’ll be expanding on who I think the Liberty ultimately pick in rounds two and three more than I will on any other teams, but I’m still going to be doing a full 36 pick mock here.
Let’s get started. (By the way, this mock draft is of the “who I think will be taken” variety, not the “who I would personally take” variety. I’m also not predicting trades, though I expect Dallas might be making some.)
WNBA Draft Round 1
1. New York Liberty: Sabrina Ionescu (G), Oregon
As I mentioned in the preview, I’ve already written a lot about why the Liberty will take Ionescu. Go read that here if you want a refresher.
I’d be shocked if she’s not the pick. She’s a knock-down shooter, an elite passer, and a very good rebounder. She’s got size, and the one knock I’ve seen is worries she’s not athletic enough to succeed at this level. Even if that’s a valid criticism, Ionescu’s such an inventive player who finds ways to impact the game, and she’s going to keep doing that in the WNBA.
Sabally’s upside as a three-and-d wing is too much for Dallas to pass up on, though. There are so many things that Sabally can do with the basketball in her hands, and while Cox is a very, very good player, Sabally’s upside is what the Wings need.
3. Indiana Fever: Lauren Cox (F), Baylor
I covered Baylor this year for another site and so I watched a lot of Lauren Cox play. She’s a versatile big who can shoot the ball, passes well, and will provide whoever takes her with some great interior defense. She plays well with other bigs, so sticking her beside Teaira McCowan in Indiana will be a lot of fun. Cox will do all the little things for the Fever
4. Atlanta Dream: Chennedy Carter (G), Texas A&M
I feel really confident that the first four picks happen in this order, though Cox could end up in Dallas via trade. There’s just been too many signs pointing to Dallas wanting Sabally at two, and Cox mentioned in a radio appearance this week that she expects to go to Dallas or Indiana. That leaves Carter at fourth, and her upside is almost certainly going to lead to her heading to Atlanta. Carter really struggled as a shooter last year, but she can score at the bucket and has a lot of promising athletic traits.
5. Dallas Wings: Megan Walker (F), UConn
This is where things get a little less clear. Walker’s arguably the best player available here, and while there’s positional overlap with Sabally, Walker’s shooting and upside make her a good pick for the Wings.
6. Minnesota Lynx: Tyasha Harris (G), South Carolina
The Lynx need help at point guard. There are a couple names they could consider here, but let’s go with Harris, a efficient passer when it comes to the whole assist/turnover thing who can also knock down shots.
7. Dallas Wings: Bella Alarie (F), Princeton
Another 3/4 wing!
I’ll be honest here: In putting this mock together, Dallas was the one team who I didn’t really think about fit with, because I’m pretty confident some of these players will be on the move. It’s why with the Wings picks I took more of a “best available” approach.
And Alarie seems like the best available player at this point. She’s probably more of a full-time stretch four at the next level, and she’s got a great mix of scoring and defensive skills.
8. Chicago Sky: Crystal Dangerfield (G), UConn
The Sky don’t need a starting point guard because they have Courtney Vandersloot, but while Vandersloot is still arguably the league’s best point guard, it couldn’t hurt to grab a solid backup for her. Sydney Colson holds that role now, but Dangerfield has the higher upside, and a backup ball-handler is a need.
9. Dallas Wings: Ruthy Hebard (F), Oregon
There are a few front court players in this draft who I really like, but who aren’t as versatile as some other players who can play the four or five. Hebard is one of them. A more traditional big, Hebard still has a lot of upside and can contribute in the post and in the pick-and-roll game.
A healthy Mompremier is an athletic, defense-focused big who stills needs to develop her offensive game, but there’s reasons that before the 2019-20 season she was being talked about as a potential lottery pick. She has all the tools to be an impactful interior player in the WNBA.
11. Seattle Storm: Te’a Cooper (G), Baylor
Sue Bird won’t be around forever, and the Storm have a need for guard depth even with Bird on the current roster. Cooper blossomed as a shooter this past season and has plenty of ball-handling skills. Has a chance to be a solid combo-guard.
12. Washington Mystics: Joyner Holmes (F), Texas
I’d love to see Holmes in New York, but she’s the kind of potential-heavy player that the Mystics would pick here. A four who can handle the ball and pass well, Holmes still is pretty raw in some important parts of her game — scoring being one of those — but has the athletic profile to be a rotation piece. The defending champs could use another bench big.
WNBA Draft Round 2
13. New York Liberty: Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (F), South Carolina
Alright, let’s go long on this one.
Because we’re all pretty sure Ionescu is the first pick and New York has a pretty loaded guard/wing rotation, someone who can play the four seems like a safe call when projecting these picks, especially if we think Tina Charles might not be long for the Liberty. (Which is an entire other story.)
Herbert Harrigan has been getting an increasing amount of buzz lately and could definitely slide into the first round, but for now I’m betting on some of that buzz simply being, well…buzz.
I know a lot of people who are concerned about Herbert Harrigan at the next level, especially because she’s not a great rebounder — her rebounding rate of 10.6% ranked 1069th our of 3321 DI players this season — but there are also a lot of reasons to be excited if “Mad Kiki” is the pick.
First among those is that Walt Hopkins has said that the Liberty plan to shoot a lot of threes this year, so adding a stretch four who shot 43.5% from deep seems like a likely move. Herbert Harrigan took 46 threes last year so we don’t fully know if she could sustain her shooting if she went from 1.4 attempts per game closer to something like three attempts, but the strides she’s made on the offensive end seem to suggest she could.
Herbert Harrigan’s role in New York might look a lot like Rebecca Allen‘s role. Last year, Allen was moved into a stretch four role, and 35% of her possessions came off spot ups, with another 17.8% coming off screens. Those also happened to be two of Herbert Harrigan’s three most used play types with the Gamecocks. Herbert Harrigan is much better when it comes to posting up, but neither player were counted on to do much in the pick-and-roll game.
How many minutes Herbert Harrigan might earn depends on the resolution to the “will she be traded” issue with Tina Charles. If Charles is back, I can’t see many minutes in MHH’s future, but if there’s some kind of move, she could serve as the primary backup stretch four to Allen.
14. Indiana Fever: Kaila Charles (G), Maryland
Charles isn’t a shooter, but she can get to the basket and does a great job rebounding for her position, especially on the offensive glass. She’s the kind of hard-nose 2/3 who can work on the right team, especially in a reserve role where she can be full energy.
15. Dallas Wings: Kiah Gillespie (F), Florida State
Maybe the most difficult player to place. Gillespie could go anywhere from the late first to 20th, but Dallas — if they keep this pick — can just keep adding talent. She should be able to hit a lot of open threes on some team, even if it’s not Dallas.
16. Minnesota Lynx: Tynice Martin (G), West Virginia
After a bit of a disappointing senior year, Martin has a lot to prove. She has what it takes to be a scorer off the bench, but will she be able to put everything together after some regression during her college career?
17. Atlanta Dream: Leaonna Odom (F), Duke
The good: she’s athletic and can do a bit of everything. The bad: She’s a wing without much of a presence behind the arc, and she’s probably not quite ready to stick around on a WNBA roster, even if the potential to be a contributor in the future is there. I’m excited to see Odom a year or two down the line.
18. Phoenix Mercury: Haley Gorecki (G), Duke
Can play the one or the two and does so many things well — score, shoot, pass, rebound. Gorecki also has a nose for the free throw line and could end up rising up the draft board on Friday. She’s a good player.
19. Seattle Storm: Kitija Laksa (G), South Florida/TTT Riga
South Florida was one of my favorite teams to watch this past season, and they didn’t even have Laksa, who could have gotten a medical redshirt but instead chose to go pro in Europe for TTT Riga. Her numbers there weren’t great, but in college she was an efficient, high-volume three-point shooter.
20. Los Angeles Sparks: Kathleen Doyle (G), Iowa
Doyle could go anywhere in the second or third rounds, but I think her passing ability and the strides she made as a scorer is going to lead a team in the back half of the second round to see her as someone who still has room to keep growing.
21. Dallas Wings: Brittany Brewer (C), Texas Tech
I really, really hope Brewer falls to the third round, because her combination of shooting touch and interior defense is something the Liberty could really use, and she could be the rare third rounder to make a team and earn minutes.
In this scenario, the Lady Raider stays in Texas for now, though making the Wings final roster is going to be an uphill battle.
22. Los Angeles Sparks: Mikayla Pivec (G), Oregon State
Here comes the first of two “I’m probably very wrong on where they go” players in a row. I struggled to predict where Pivec went, as she was a very good college player who could score, rebound, and distribute. She should be able to produce in a smaller role, though she might not have the same upside as other players available.
23. Connecticut Sun: Jocelyn Willoughby (G), Virginia
Here’s the other player who might go much higher than this. Willoughby. She’s a really good shooter who can get to the line and someone who I’d love to see drop to the third for New York. Physical guard with size who can shoot the lights out of the ball.
24. Washington Mystics: Stella Johnson (G), Rider
Johnson was the Division I scoring leader this past season, and I could see Washington going upside here. She scores. She gets to the line. She has some quick hands for swiping steals. Will she be able to produce after the competition jump from the MAAC to the WNBA? That remains to be seen and is one of the things that makes Johnson such a mystery still.
WNBA Draft Round 3
Here’s my third round. In the interest of time, I’m only going to provide commentary on my Liberty pick.
25. Atlanta Dream: Ciara Duffy (G), South Dakota
26. New York Liberty: Kylee Shook (F), Louisville
I highlighted Shook last week as a possible option for the Liberty.
Third rounders aren’t locks to make a team, but New York might have some room depending on the Charles situation and if Han Xu returns this season, plus they have some bigs who could be cut.
Shook’s biggest claim to making a team is that she blocked 2.7 shots per game last year while also shooting 36.8% from three. On a Liberty team that currently has a stretchable five starting at center in Amanda Zahui B. a player like Shook pretty clearly fits into what this team wants to be.
Breaking into that center rotation — even if Shook does manage to make the team as the 12th player — would be tough. Zahui B brings you that inside-outside thing, with her shot blocking on defense and ability to catch-and-shoot on offense. Kiah Stokes is back and provides a steady inside presence. Tina Charles has spent much of her career at the five and can easily slide down there when Zahui B sits. Reshanda Gray can also play the position and is a very good offensive rebounder.
But Shook’s got skills, and if we get a training camp, she’ll have a chance to show those off. She fits the direction of this team, but it’s not going to be easy to make the final roster.
27. Atlanta Dream: Peyton Williams (F), Kansas State
28. Indiana Fever: Minyon Moore (G), Oregon
29. Phoenix Mercury: Juicy Landrum (G), Baylor
30. Chicago Sky: Ae’Rianna Harris (F), Purdue
31: Seattle Storm: Erica Ogwumike (G), Rice
32. Chicago Sky: Becca Hittner (G), Drake
33. Las Vegas Aces: Nicki Ekhomu (G), Florida State
34. Los Angeles Sparks: Luisa Geiselsoder (C), Germany
35. Connecticut Sun: Jazmine Jones (G), Louisville