WNBA MOCK DRAFT: What the experts are predicting for all the first-round picks

Presumptive No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 WNBA Draft is set to be one of the most exciting – and most talent-filled – since the league’s inception in 1997.

The New York Liberty won’t officially be on the clock with the first overall pick until Friday at 7 p.m., but in the meantime, experts from around the WNBA world have put together mock drafts predicting how the first round will play out.

We analysed the mock drafts of six experts – ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, CBS’s Jack Maloney, Bleacher Report’s Theo Salaun, SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck and Eric Nemchock, and Newsday’s Mike Rose – to see if we could find any consensus on how the first round will transpire.

Without further ado, check out what the experts think will happen in the first round of the draft and their thoughts on each pick.

1. New York Liberty — Sabrina Ionescu, PG (Oregon)

Experts: 6 of 6

Other possibilities: N/A

Key expert quote: From Rose: “Ionescu is without question the best player available. She finished her career with 26 triple-doubles – the NCAA record for men and women – and became the first player in NCAA history – men or women – to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Ionescu is already a star and the perfect player to lead the Liberty into a new era as they move back into the New York City market at Barclays Centre.”

2. Dallas Wings — Satou Sabally, F (Oregon)

Experts: 5 of 6

Other possibilities: Lauren Cox, PF (Baylor)

Key expert quote: From Voepel: “As much as they’d love to have local product Lauren Cox of Baylor, Sabally’s offensive skills and athleticism at 6-foot-4 is just too hard to pass up. The consensus of talent evaluators around the WNBA is that Sabally — who averaged 16.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG and made 45 3-pointers this season — could be a staple of the franchise for years if her game develops the way it’s projected to at the pro level.”

3. Indiana Fever — Lauren Cox, PF (Baylor)

Experts: 5 of 6

Other possibilities: Satou Sabally, F (Oregon)

Key expert quote: From Maloney: “There’s a real debate about whether Sabally or Cox is the best big in this draft, and it seems like the Fever will gladly take whichever one the Wings pass on… [Cox is] such a smart player on both sides of the ball and would make a dynamite high-low frontcourt pairing with Teaira McCowan.

4. Atlanta Dream — Chennedy Carter, SG (Texas A&M)

Experts: 5 of 6

Other possibilities: Megan Walker, F (UConn)

Key expert quote: From Voepel: “With signature player Angel McCoughtry (out injured last season) gone to Las Vegas, the Dream are looking to remake themselves. Carter’s scoring ability has been pro-level pretty much since she started playing in college, but she also has had her stinker games, in which she tries to shoot out of slumps. The Aggies lived (and sometimes died) with that; she’ll need to be more disciplined at the pro level. But the talent is there; she averaged 21.3 PPG this season.”

5. Dallas Wings — Megan Walker, F (UConn)

Experts: 4 of 6

Other possibilities: Tyasha Harris, PG (South Carolina); Ruthy Hebard, PF (Oregon)

Key expert quote: From Maloney: “With so many picks, and a number of needs to fill, Walker makes a lot of sense for the Wings. It was a bit of a surprise she declared early, but her combination of athleticism and shooting ability make her one of the most intriguing players in this draft. “

6. Minnesota Lynx — Crystal Dangerfield, G (UConn)

Experts: 3 of 6

Other possibilities: Tyasha Harris, PG (South Carolina); Megan Walker, F (UConn), Chennedy Carter, SG (Texas A&M)

Key expert quote: From Nemchock: “If [Lynx head coach and GM] Cheryl Reeve isn’t scared off by Dangerfield’s small, 5-foot-5 stature, she’ll be getting a battle-tested guard who can score efficiently (56.1 per cent effective field goal percentage) and take care of the basketball (2.27 assist/turnover ratio). Running a WNBA team as a rookie is a tough task, but Dangerfield is well-equipped to handle it.”

7. Dallas Wings — Tyasha Harris, PG (South Carolina)

Experts: 3 of 6

Other possibilities: Bella Alarie, SF (Princeton); Te’a Cooper, G (Baylor)

Key expert quote: From Ellentuck: “Ty Harris made USC’s engine go, even if her stats aren’t superstar-like. She only averaged 12 points per game this season, with six assists and three rebounds, but the 5’10 guard has grown steadily as a shooter each season… But above all, she’s a playmaking guard who gets everyone else involved.

“Dallas has four first-round picks, as well as Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Moriah Jefferson, Allisha Grey and Kaela Davis. There are a lot of mouths to feed, and Harris won’t mind serving them up. Harris would be the ultimate passer.”

8. Chicago Sky — Beatrice Mompremier, C (Miami)

Experts: 4 of 6

Other possibilities: Kiah Gillespie, PF (Florida State); Te’a Cooper, G (Baylor)

Key expert quote: From Nemchock: “The Sky continue to search for defence and rebounding in their frontcourt, and with two of their post players (Jantel Lavender and the newly-acquired Azurá Stevens) coming off major foot injuries, they could use some depth up front. Mompremier is the most athletic centre in this class… If the Sky pick Mompremier, they can afford to be patient as her offensive game develops.”

9. Dallas Wings — Bella Alarie, F (Princeton)

Experts: 2 of 6

Other possibilities: Kiah Gillespie, PF (Florida State); Crystal Dangerfield, G (UConn); Ruthy Hebard, PF (Oregon); Joyner Holmes, PF (Texas)

Key expert quote: From Ellentuck: “Dallas has a lot of young pieces, and whoever’s taken here is unlikely to play much. Alarie would be a long-term piece, if the Wings keep this pick… If given time to develop, maybe she can become a knockdown stretch-four teams want so badly.”

10. Phoenix Mercury — No consensus

Our best guess: Te’a Cooper, G (Baylor)

Other possibilities: Beatrice Mompremier, C (Miami); Ruthy Hebard, F (Oregon); Bella Alarie, F (Princeton); Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F (South Carolina)

Key expert quote: From Ellentuck: “The Mercury havetheir stars in Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Cooper doesn’t need to be a go-to, but she can be a complimentary shooter to keep the paint open, and a distributor off the break. The Mercury need bench pieces who can play now.”

11. Ruthy Hebard, F (Oregon)

Experts: 2 of 6

Other possibilities: Te’a Cooper, G (Baylor); Tyasha Harris, PG (South Carolina); Mikayla Pivec, G (Oregon State)

Key expert quote: From Voepel: “Hebard had a terrific career at Oregon. She averaged 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds as a senior while shooting 68.5% from the field. But pro scouts seem uncertain about how her skill set will transfer to the pro game because of her lack of shooting range, and about how physical she will play at the next level even though she is 6-4. But maybe some of the doubts will just fuel Hebard, who with the Storm would have time to develop. Plus, we’ll bring up her field goal accuracy again: 65.1% for her Ducks career.

12. Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F (South Carolina)

Experts: 2 of 6

Other possibilities: Te’a Cooper, G (Baylor), Joyner Holmes, PF (Texas), Ruthy Hebard, PF (Oregon); Bella Alarie, F (Princeton)

Key expert quote: From Maloney: “Trying to predict what Mike Thibault and the Mystics are going to do in the draft can be an exercise in futility, as they aren’t afraid to take risks and go off the beaten path. With that in mind, Herbert Harrigan is an interesting name here. She excelled in a much bigger role at USC this season, and would definitely improve their defence.”

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