Recently, the good folks at the WNBA reached out to me to attend and cover its rookie draft. For those not too familiar, the draft is quite similar to any you’ve ever seen; the anticipation, the emotions, and the hustle and bustle of last minute player movement is all right there happening before you.
But the most similar characteristic, however, is all the teams gunning to improve themselves through some of the strong talent available. For more of my overall draft experience at NBA Studios, check back in a bit. But for now, here’s an overall analysis of how the top five picks may help their new teams.
Tina Charles, Connecticut Sun: Number One Overall Pick
There was no doubt that after leading her team to a NCAA championship win, Tina Charles would be the number one pick. The Sun traded up for the #1 pick to keep the UConn star at home base.
An undeniable winner, Charles’ team had not lost in two entire seasons on its way to back to back tournament wins. Not only did Charles average 18 points during her senior year, but nine rebounds and two blocks.
That toughness down in the post is something many WNBA teams lack, so that plus Charles’ winning mentality will be a big boost to the Sun.
Monica Wright, Minnesota Linx: Number Two Overall Pick
No matter what anyone else says, Wright is a fantastic consolation prize if your team wasn’t able to pick up Charles.
Wright was the ACC Player and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. While Charles had a strong supporting cast, Wright carried her team strongly on her shoulders.
In one word, Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan described Wright as a true “competitor”, so you know she will be bringing a positive energy to Minnesota.
Kelsey Griffin, Minnesota Linx: Number Three Overall Pick(Traded to CT)
Moments after Wright and Griffin, who have been roommates throughout the draft experience, were drafted together, media questioned both about how great it would be to play together. Both were very positive.
Soon after that, however, it was announced that Griffin was traded and would be joining Tina Charles on the Sun. The Sun truly loaded up in this draft, grabbing some of the best players available. Griffin, the Big 12 Player of the Year, was no exception.
The Sun may experience some growing pains with the two young stars, but the future is certainly bright.
Epiphanny Prince, Chicago Sky: Number Four Overall Pick
For all you NBA fans out there, be aware that Prince was the Brandon Jennings of the NBA! After playing three years at Rutgers, Prince went off to Turkey to play oversees for a year before obtaining draft eligibility.
Prince set a high school record with 113 points her senior season, and said her experience in Turkey has been no different, as she attempts to fill it up every game.
Her team in Turkey saw a jump from 11th to fourth seed in its league after she arrived, so the Sky must be hoping Prince is elevate its team in the same sense.
Jayne Appel, San Antonio Silver Stars: Number Five Overall Pick
Leading up to the draft, Appel had been in the Tina Charles conversation. As UConn and Stanford, their respective teams, went head to head in the NCAA championship, Charles and Appel were widely considered to be drafted as a one-two punch.
Stanford did lose to UConn, however, which analysts say may have hurt Appel’s draft position.
In any event, Appel, like Charles, is a dominating low post presence, and should do well in a WNBA that desperately needs good low posts players.