The 2022 WNBA draft has concluded. There had been a lot of movement throughout the offseason leading up to the draft, and Monday night was the cherry on top. The top of the draft was mostly uneventful and went as planned, but then there were some surprises later on. It was a fun night filled with fulfilled dreams for 36 talented young women.
WNBA Draft Recap
A new era has begun for the Atlanta Dream. The franchise has completely turned everything over and continued that when they recently traded for the number one pick. They took Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard, who will be exactly what the Dream needed. She can do it all and showed it in the SEC and NCAA tournaments last month.
For the first time ever a team had four first-round picks in the same draft. The Fever needed help everywhere on their roster. They drafted the best available in some places, and for fit in others. But everyone they got is a perfect fit for what new general manager Lin Dunn wants to do. NaLyssa Smith, Emily Engstler, Lexie Hull, and Queen Egbo. The Fever also got the steal of the draft in Destanni Henderson, who fell all the way to the 20th pick. It is a new era filled with a lot of young yet super talented players in Indy.
The Mystics entered the newly created WNBA draft lottery with somewhat long odds but came away with the number one overall pick. But then they shocked a lot of people by trading that pick to the Dream for the 3rd and 14th picks as well as a first-round pick swap next year. As expected, they then used that pick on Ole Miss center Shakira Austin. The consensus third-best player in this draft class will help the Mystics out big-time and will help take the pressure off of star Elena Delle Donne, who is coming off of an injury that limited her to just three games this past season. They got UConn guard Christyn Williams in the second round, a player that will fit really well in the WNBA game.
New York Liberty
The Liberty needed depth and defense and that is exactly what they got in the first round at number six overall in Oregon F/C Nyara Sabally. Sabally was one of the better post defenders in the country this year and will be perfect for what the team needs, even after signing Stefanie Dolson. New head coach Sandy Brondello should be excited.
The Wings were the youngest team in the league last season with an average age of 24 and still made it to the playoffs for the first time in a few years. Now they are adding yet another young woman in Northwestern point guard Veronica Burton. One of the best passers in the country this season in the college game should be no different in the pros in Dallas.
Las Vegas Aces
The Aces picked up a pair of underrated players in the first round. Mya Hollingshed from Colorado and Kiertsan Bell from Florida Gulf Coast. Both of them are big wings which are a premium in the WNBA. The two are perfect for the league and for franchise legend Becky Hammon, the team’s new head coach. They are hoping that these two young women can help the franchise finally get over the hump.
Los Angeles Sparks
The Sparks had their worst season in a decade last year as they missed the playoffs. They made a ton of big additions in free agency and then got Rae Burrell on Monday night. Burrell is good on both ends of the court and will help improve their defense and their league-worst offense.
The Sun were great last year but fell short in the playoffs once again. They took Michigan State shooting guard Nia Clouden as the last pick in the first round. With last season’s team largely intact, it will be hard to earn playing time, but Clouden is very good and gives Connecticut useful backcourt depth which is something they could use if you had to poke holes in their roster.
The Storm didn’t need a lot of help with everyone coming back for a team that will be one of the favorites to win the WNBA title this year. But they picked up a pair of very talented players in the second round in NC State center Elissa Cunane and UConn guard Evina Westbrook. That is some good, young depth for some of the older players on this roster.
Considering Britney Griner’s situation the Mercury could use some help. But they do return a lot of last year’s team that made it to the WNBA Finals. Two power forwards, Notre Dame’s Maya Dodson and IUPUI’s Macee Williams could help with the frontcourt depth that they already needed.
Given the unfortunate reality of how things work, the Lynx’s two picks in the late second and early third rounds are unlikely to make the roster. Kayla Jones and Hannah Sjerven, both power forwards from NC State and South Dakota, are certainly capable. They both have a chance to make the roster with Napheesa Collier missing part of the season with her baby due in May and WNBA legend Sylvia Fowles entering the final year of her storied career.
There really is not anything to say about the defending WNBA champion Sky. They traded away the 7th overall pick earlier in the offseason so they did not have any picks in this year’s WNBA Draft. The Sky seem all-in on defending their title.
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