The Hoopfeed Guide to the 2014 WNBA Draft
Tonight’s the night! At Mohegan Sun Arena, the Class of 2014 will hear their names called, and they will enter the WNBA. Their lives will change forever; no longer will they be “student-athletes,” they will be “professional basketball players.”
Here at Hoopfeed, we prefer not to do “mock drafts.” There are too many variables, too many unknowns, and, invariably reality hardly looks like the mock drafts “experts” put out there. Instead, we prefer to provide you with information to help you speculate yourself on who each team will take.
First, as a reminder, here is the draft order for the first round of the 2014 WNBA draft:
- Connecticut Sun
- Tulsa Shock
- San Antonio Stars
- New York Liberty
- Indiana Fever
- Washington Mystics
- Seattle Storm
- Atlanta Dream
- Indiana Fever (from Phoenix Mercury)
- Chicago Sky
- Connecticut Sun (from Los Angeles Sparks)
- Minnesota Lynx
On last week’s Dishin & Swishin podcast former WNBA assistant coach Jeff House shared his thoughts on draft potential and possible maneuverings.
Over the last few months, we have given you Q & A sessions with some of the top prospects, so you could read the players’ thoughts, and get a sense for what they are like as individuals, something frequently missing in the college game. Included were top of the draft favorites Chiney Ogwumike, Odyssey Sims, Alyssa Thomas, and Kayla McBride, among others. Inside each of these was a section asking “what does the WNBA think of” and an answer was provided by a highly respected person in a WNBA organization that has requested anonymity so as to not give away what the team is thinking. We also requested thoughts on several other players expected to be drafted.
Here is what the Hoopfeed WNBA insider had to say about the potential draft choices. Armed with this information, you are ready to prepare your own mock drafts, speculate who will get drafted in what spot, and which person you hope your favorite team will draft. Good luck to everyone!
Ogwumike is easily one of the most athletic players to come into our league. She has size and great hands; and her ability to play both the 4 and the 5 is key. The development of a face up game needs to continue, but the rebound and defensive potential are fantastic. She is tough and competitive, which you would expect from someone whose sister is Nneka.
Sims is a great defender, but she will face quicker guards in the WNBA. On offense she has all three levels; to the rim, mid-range, and three-point shooting. Her leadership has gotten better. She will step in and contribute right away. Sims and Ogwumike are the only players in the draft you can definitively say that about.
Thomas is a bit of a tweener, is she big enough to play the four? Does she have a good enough handle, shot and can she defensively play the three? Good skill set, ability to rebound and bring it down court is a big plus. She also has shown durability despite a lot of contact. She appears to be a hard worker who will get better as her career progresses.
McBride can create her own shot and has a great mid-range game. She has improved her shooting from the three-point line as well. McBride has a great ‘pro body,’ which she uses to defend well. She’s smart and poised, and coming from Notre Dame knows how to compete and win in big games.
Dolson has great skills, great passing ability. She can knock down shots from the high post and inside she finishes with both hands well. She has a great basketball IQ and great size. Questions are her ability to defend in the two-man game as she hasn’t had to yet, and while she is improved, Dolson needs to prove she can rebound with pro centers, where even Griner struggled last year.
Natasha Howard, forward/center, Florida State University:
Howard has great athleticism; length and quickness a plus. Tremendous upside! She can create her own shot with that athleticism, and she’s good off the dribble from the high post. She has decent range, but will need to work on her handle and consistency from 17 feet and beyond. In addition, Howard is versatile defensively and rebounds well.
Hartley has good upside; she has great length and athleticism. She is versatile, and has the ability to play off the dribble in mid-range and shoot the three as well, which is a big time combination. This year we are seeing more of her ability to defend too, and she has been an asset on both ends. Being from a winning program and being coached at a high level always gives an advantage too. Plus, you know the work ethic is there.
Hooper has great size, and is a strong scorer and rebounder. She has a quick release, excellent range for her size and is really good at catch-and-shoot play. She needs to improve her ball handling to be able to play off the dribble; can’t be one dimensional in the pros. Defense against other fours will be a question too.
I love the scoring mentality that Schimmel brings to every possession. She has very good shooting ability, as well as the ability to put the ball on the floor; all positives. Her shot selection and ability to defend are question marks, as appears to be her fitness level at times (which lends to self-discipline questions).
Natalie Achonwa, forward/center, Notre Dame University:
Achonwa is a natural leader, and a strong rebounder. She has decent range, but needs to improve that and show it consistently. She has good passing ability and is a good defender. Does she have the strength down low to play center in the WNBA? Achonwa is a lot like Dolson skill-wise, but without the true center body.
Chelsea Gray, guard, Duke University:
Gray is a work in process because of all the time she has missed. She has great size and has shown outstanding instincts and passing ability. History is an issue with two knee injuries, major knee injuries, and that is concerning.
Meighan Simmons, guard, University of Tennessee:
Simmons has excellent speed and quickness on both ends. She can score in bunches, but goes through periods where it is tough to keep her on the court. She is the definition of high risk, high reward, and someone will take a chance on that.
Liston is a strong, consistent three-ball shooter, in a draft where there are not a lot of great shooters. She has improved off the dribble tremendously, and isn’t afraid to absorb contact. Her improvement shows self-discipline, and she looks to find ways to improve her game. Speed and defense are a concern; it hurts her a bit playing so much zone at Duke.