WNBA mock draft: After Boston, which players might hear their names called?
With a few, but not all, major free agent moves, it’s time to take another look at the projected first round in Sportzshala’s 2023 WNBA tryout draft.
Since our previous re-enactment in November after the Indiana Fever won the draft lottery, we’ve had plenty of time to see how women’s college basketball players have evolved this season. But we still don’t know how many fourth graders may be returning for season five due to the 2020-21 pandemic. As such, there is no guarantee that players in this trial draft will qualify for the 2023 draft.
Most of the players have publicly stated that they will make this decision after the end of the college season. Indiana Hoosiers senior Mackenzie Holmes hasn’t said for sure she’ll be going back to college, but she told Sportzshala she’s keen to come back, which is why we didn’t include her in the draft. Also, as of now, no eligible juniors have publicly stated that they will be in the draft, so they weren’t included either.
Aaliyah Boston, the current NCAA National Player of the Year, is the only first round pick we have from the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks. But Gamecox defensemen Zia Cooke and Brea Beale are in the first round standings, with Beale considered one of the best defensemen in college and Cooke leading South Carolina in scoring.
So, with the information we have now, here’s what things could look like in the first round of the draft on April 10th.
1 Indiana Fever: Alia Boston
South Carolina Gamecocks | forward/center | 6 feet 5 | older
Boston is a pro-ready player who should be able to immediately pick up Fever on both ends of the court. Her stats (13.5 ppg, 10 ppg) may be lower than last season, but that reflects the Gamecocks’ depth and superiority over their opponents. In addition, Boston regularly deals with double and triple teams, which will be harder for her to do in the WNBA. Not only does it protect the rim well, but it also does a great job of protecting the paint.
2 Minnesota Lynx: Haley Jones
Stanford Cardinal | security | 6 feet 1 | older
It’s tempting to compare Jones to another former Stanford star: Nicole Powell, who averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds over 11 seasons in the WNBA. But Jones is more of an elite playmaker and less of a 3-pointer than Powell. Jones is averaging 13.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists for a Stanford team that relied heavily on her. Jones’ lack of success from beyond the arc — she’s 3-of-28 this season and 23-of-101 in her Stanford career — is worrying and could see her drop out in the draft. But she does other things well enough to improve her three-point shooting when she turns pro.
3. Dallas Wings: Diamond Miller
Maryland Turps | security | 6 feet 3 | older
If you need consistent transition points, Miller is the player to get you. With good speed for her size and the ability to finish near the rim or pull up, she is a versatile attacking threat who has hit 102 three-pointers in her career at Terpe. She would give Dallas a big advantage to match the team’s other offensive talents. And she would be surrounded by some very good defenders from the Wings who could help her excel in that aspect of her game.
4 Washington Mystics: Ricky Jackson
Lady Tennessee Vols | forward | 6 feet 2 | older
It looks like the Mystics would like another heavy hitter, and Jackson fits the bill. She averages 18.1 points per game and has always been a dangerous college scorer. At 6.0 rebounds per game, she also has room to grow defensively and would have had good conditions in Washington to do so.
5. Chicago Sky: Charisma Osbourne
UCLA | security guard | 5 feet 9 | older
There are no two options: Free will was brutal for Sky when Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot left. Chicago is restructuring itself and can see Osborne – a strong two-way defender – as a good building block on the perimeter. She is averaging 15.8 points per game, 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and has a shot at becoming a top-level defenseman in the pro game.
6. Connecticut Sun: Ashley Jones
Iowa Cyclones | attacker/guard | 6 feet 1 | older
Joens adjusted her game to accommodate 6-6 center Stephanie Soares and then adjusted it when Soares lost the season in early January. One thing remains the same: Joens is a workhorse who always finds ways to earn points and will play any role that is asked of her. She leads the Big 12 in scoring with 20.1 ppg and is second in rebounding with 9.1 ppg.
7 Indiana Fever: Jordan Horston
Lady Tennessee Vols | security guard | 6 feet 2 | older
Horston is one of those players that you think could blossom as a professional player because you see so much potential. Averaged 15.4 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists, Horston has good size, instincts and drive. Fever needs strong defenders, and it can do its part too.
8. Atlanta Dream: Elizabeth Keatley
Virginia Tech University | center | 6 feet 6 | older
Keatley’s performance is like a machine, averaging 18.3 points per game, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season, matching her performance over the past two years. It’s a fact that true centers don’t always make it to the WNBA, especially if they haven’t extended their range. Keatley will need to get stronger as a defender, but she has shown improvement in that with the Hokies and will give Dream the size it needs.
9 Seattle Storm: Dorka Juhas
UConn Huskies| forward | 6 feet 5 | older
Husky shortage was the theme of their season. But they are still considered the No. 1 seed, thanks in no small part to Juhas, who has played well since his thumb injury earlier in the season. She is averaging a double-double (14.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and, like most UConn post players, passes well. Like Chicago, Seattle has suffered free agency since Breanna Stewart’s departure to New York, and Juhas may turn up the storm inside.
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Madi Williams
Oklahoma Sooners | forward | 6 feet 0 | older
Oklahoma has become a more developed team this season, but Williams is still the Sooners’ leading scorer (16.2 ppg) and second-highest rebounder (6.3 rpg) with 52.7% shooting from the field. She has a soft shot and has become a stronger defender. She is a teenager in size, which is always a problem in the WNBA. But Sparks coach Kurt Miller is committed to making the most of the players’ strengths.
11. Dallas Wings: Maddie Sigrist
Villanova Wildcats | forward | 6 feet 2 | older
Siegrist currently leads Division I in scoring (28.3 ppg) and 52.7% field goals. She also averages 9.3 rebounds and has been a regular with the Wildcats since her first season. Dallas has a new coach in Latricia Trammell, who is known for her defensive end but can appreciate how elite Siegrist is.
12. Minnesota Lynx: Lou Lopez Seneschal
UConn Husky | guard/forward | 6 feet 1 | older
Fairfield’s transfer was impressive and made a big impact in her only season at UCLA. She averages 16.7 points per game, leads the team in three-pointers (57) and shoots 47.5 from three-point range. UConn’s track record of producing WNBA players is unmatched by any other program, and even in one season, Lopez Seneschal seems to look like the Huskies in his game.