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2020 WNBA Draft Preview

While the COVID-19 pandemic has the start of the WNBA regular season in limbo, the league has held firm to the original April 17th date for the WNBA Draft. Just like the NFL Draft that is set to take place the following week, the 2020 WNBA Draft will be conducted virtually.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the picks live and several top prospects will take part in the festivities remotely. The draft will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. E.T. Read on for a full preview of the WNBA Draft, including notable headlines, top prospects, draft order and more.

Sabrina Ionescu Oregon
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Liberty, Wings Poised to Control WNBA Draft

The first round, and really first 15 picks of the WNBA Draft, will be dominated by two teams. The New York Liberty won the draft lottery back in the fall to earn the number one overall selection. Behind that, the draft appeared set to be completely dominated by the Dallas Wings, until the three-team trade that sent longtime Liberty star Tina Charles to the defending champion Washington Mystics. 

The deal sent the 9th, 12th and 15th overall selections to New York, while Dallas was able to move some of their control to the 2021 WNBA Draft, earning the Mystics’ first-round and Liberty’s second-round selections next year. The Wings still have the 2nd, 5th and 7th overall selections this year.

Following the trade, New York and Dallas combine to own half of the 12 first-round selections and eight of the first 15 overall. Owners of two of the WNBA’s three worst records last season, both franchises have their eyes set on a rebuild.

Duck Hunting

Those who tune into the 2020 WNBA Draft can expect several early selections to hail from the University of Oregon. Point guard Sabrina Ionescu is the runaway favorite to be the overall number one pick by the Liberty. Ionescu dominated her final collegiate season, nearly averaging a triple-double (17.1 points, 9.1 assists, 8.6 rebounds) on her way to winning every player of the year award there is to win in women’s college basketball.

While the much-anticipated duo of her and Charles will no longer come to fruition following the massive trade, it does pave the way for Ionescu to be a leader from the start in New York. 

Behind Ionescu, fellow Ducks Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard are widely expected to be amongst the top three and ten overall selections, respectively. Various mocks have Ionescu and Sabally going 1-2 to the Liberty and Wings at the top of the draft.

Small Ball Sweepstakes

The old cliché that size doesn’t matter could very well prove accurate when it comes to the WNBA future of point guard Crystal Dangerfield. The UConn prospect stands just 5’ 5” tall, but her ability to captain an offense is undeniable. Her stat line this year included 14.9 points per game, 3.9 assists, 55 total steals and 41% shooting from three-point range.

But could a player of that size actually be a first-round selection? That question can be answered with a resounding “YES” according to some mock drafts, who have her going 6th overall to the Minnesota Lynx, who are in need of a floor general. With so many different ways the WNBA Draft could play out, it will be interesting to see where Dangerfield ultimately winds up.

WNBA to Honor Kobe

The league announced plans last month to honor the late NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant during the WNBA Draft. Bryant’s daughter Gianna, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester will also be honored during the ceremony. All died in a tragic helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles this past January. Bryant was a huge supporter of and advocate for the growing WNBA, especially in recent years since his retirement as a player. His passing weighed heavily on the entire WNBA community.

Full 2020 WNBA Draft Order

Some teams will have to wait a while to make a selection, but by the draft’s conclusion, all 12 WNBA franchises are scheduled to make at least one pick. Here is the full 2020 WNBA Draft order for all three rounds.

First Round

  1. New York Liberty
  2. Dallas Wings
  3. Indiana Fever
  4. Atlanta Dream
  5. Dallas Wings
  6. Minnesota Lynx
  7. Dallas Wings
  8. Chicago Sky
  9. New York Liberty
  10. Phoenix Mercury
  11. Seattle Storm
  12. New York Liberty

Second Round

  1. New York Liberty
  2. Indiana Fever
  3. New York Liberty
  4. Minnesota Lynx
  5. Atlanta Dream
  6. Phoenix Mercury
  7. Seattle Storm
  8. Los Angeles Sparks
  9. Dallas Wings
  10. Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Connecticut Sun
  12. Washington Mystics

Third Round

  1. Atlanta Dream
  2. New York Liberty
  3. Atlanta Dream
  4. Indiana Fever
  5. Phoenix Mercury
  6. Chicago Sky
  7. Seattle Storm
  8. Chicago Sky
  9. Las Vegas Aces
  10. Los Angeles Sparks
  11. Connecticut Sun
  12. Washington Mystics

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