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2020 WNBA Mock Draft: Sabrina Ionescu Is The Clear No. 1, But Who Should Go Next?

There are four days until the 2020 WNBA Draft and excitement levels are high for this year’s very talented class of prospects.

The WNBA is one of the hardest leagues for players to enter and stay in — sometimes especially for rookies. Each of the WNBA’s 12 teams have a roster minimum of 11 players, and most opt to sign a 12th player for flexibility and in case of injuries. That makes for just 144 roster spots in the entire league. And if that wasn’t enough, unlike the NBA, the WNBA does not guarantee contracts for first-round picks, meaning that teams are able to cut their first-round picks even before the season tips off.

Oregon superstar Sabrina Ionescu leads the pack in this year’s draft class, but questions remain about the remaining 11 spots. Also, what will the Dallas Wings do with all four of their first round draft picks?

The 2020 WNBA Draft will be happening virtually on April 17, starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Aside from who gets picked, a lot of uncertainties surround the league due to the spread of the coronavirus. The 2020 WNBA season is currently on hold after training camp, scheduled to start on April 26, and the first games of the season on May 15 were postponed indefinitely. If the season ends up being canceled completely, these draftees may not see the floor until 2021.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the first round of the 2020 WNBA Draft.

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

Sabrina Ionescu. You know the name and you know how great she is. The back-to-back winner of the Wooden Award, the greatest player to wear the Ducks jersey, and the first NCAA player to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in her career.

The New York Liberty hold the No. 1 pick for the first time in the team’s history, and they have likely never been more excited. With the hiring of Walt Hopkins as head coach and a long-awaited proper home in the Barclays Center, the team is hoping to usher in a new age of progress after a couple years of mediocrity.

When and if the Liberty select Ionescu in the draft, there will be a lot of pressure on the young guard to help turn this team of solid young players into something great. But if anyone can do it, it’s the 22-year-old sensation who never backed down from a challenge at Oregon and embraced the spotlight.

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

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Another Oregon superstar, Satou Sabally is a magnificent talent in this year’s draft and a player many teams in the league would like to have. The Oregon junior announced her intent to go pro in February, and she averaged 15 points while shooting 39% from beyond the arc, six rebounds and two assists per game this year. She also boasts some high-level defensive ability, and was in the top three for Oregon in blocks and rebounds this season.

The Wings drafted guard Arike Ogunbowale last year and started to build around her, but it is hard to see them turn down Sabally. In fact, the 6’4 forward, with her guard-like ball handling and scoring ability, could even be the perfect complement to Ogunbowale and help take off some of the offensive load. Following Skylar Diggins-Smith’s exit in free agency and the team’s last-place finish in the West last year, the Wings are looking to rebuild by scooping up all the young talent they can in this year’s draft.

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

ESPN has Lauren Cox going second in the draft over Sabally, but most other experts think she’ll go to Indiana with the No. 3 pick. Also 6’4, Cox is an elite defender, averaging three blocks and one steal per game this season.

Questions have been asked about her health — Cox missed eight games this season with a stress fracture in her foot — but she can help any team in the league. This season, Cox averaged 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds, winning Big 12 Player of the Year and leading the Lady Bears to the conference’s regular-season title for the second year in a row.

The Fever have a strong frontcourt presence in Teira McCowan at center — Cox has experience playing with 6’6 big Kalani Brown at Baylor last year — and by adding Cox, they would only get stronger. With a potential starting lineup of Erica Wheeler, Victoria Vivians, Candice Dupree, McCowan and Cox, Indiana looks like a playoff team.

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

A very high-usage player for the Aggies, Chennedy Carter is a solid shooter who isn’t afraid to let fly but she’s also shown an ability to create her own shot off the dribble. The three-time All-American led her team in points per game with 21.3 this season, although she did so on 45% shooting and just 29% from three-point range. Known mostly for her ability to get a bucket, her passing skills are still flying under the radar.

Not yet a very efficient shooter, Carter does have the kind of heart and intensity that a player needs to succeed in this league. The Atlanta Dream have assembled an almost brand new cast this offseason, with the additions of Courtney Williams, Shekinna Stricklen and more. With all the talent they brought in, they still need some depth at the point guard position, which Carter can provide. Atlanta would do well to have Carter as an offensive-minded sixth woman who can certainly score, but also thrives in creating shots for others.

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

Along with the No. 2 pick, the Wings also hold the No. 5 pick (and the seventh and ninth slots, too). Coming off her best season with UConn, Megan Walker is a strong shooter — especially from beyond the arc. This season, the junior averaged 20 points per game, shooting 48% from the field and 45.1% from three-point range.

Last season, the Wings attempted only 23 corner threes and shot just 32.7% from mid-range. Walker would provide an immediate improvement for Dallas’ shooting and, at 6’ tall, she can slot into the Wings’ lineup in different positions.

6. Minnesota Lynx — Tyasha Harris (G, South Carolina)

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Playing for the electric South Carolina Gamecocks, Ty Harris averaged 12 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game this season. These aren’t astronomical numbers, but Harris was playing alongside scoring talents like Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston. Harris is very adept at finding her teammates and she has steadily improved her shooting year after year. Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeves can surely see her strong defensive instincts and shooting potential and develop Harris further.

The Lynx saw mainstay Seimone Augustus leave in free agency and saw main target Diggins-Smith go to Phoenix. Maya Moore is still not returning, Sylvia Fowles is reaching the end of her career and Odyssey Sims is reportedly pregnant. Minnesota needs a strong point guard to lead the floor alongside Lexie Brown and 2019 Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier, and Harris can be that player for them.

7. Dallas Wings — Te’a Cooper (G, Baylor)

Te’A Cooper is a solid combo guard who can shoot the ball. This season, she averaged 13.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. She played for three different schools throughout her college career, but really found her footing at Baylor, helping them win the Big 12 while shooting 41.5% from beyond the arc.

At 5’8, Cooper is slightly undersized but she’s lightning quick and can help the Wings get buckets alongside Ogunbowale. Dallas’ Moriah Jefferson is also coming off an injury and hasn’t played since 2018, and Cooper can help make her return smooth by taking some minutes and carrying some of the scoring load.

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

At 6’4, Beatrice Mompremier is a strong post player who looks ready for the WNBA. She averaged 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds this season and improved her free throw shooting percentage to 73.1%, up from just 57.1% the year before. However, she only played 16 games this year due to a foot injury so taking her at No. 8 could be a bit of a gamble.

Nonetheless, the Sky could use more size in the frontcourt and Mompremier might be the perfect fit, with her solid defensive skills and strong presence in the post. She can easily come in for Jantel Lavender or the recently-acquired Azurá Stevens, both of whom are coming off foot injuries.

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

The talk around Bella Alarie has increased in recent weeks, and for good reason. Alarie is a skilled frontcourt player who averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season for the Tigers. She shot 47.4% from the field and expanded her range a bit, shooting 35.6% from three on 2.6 attempts per game. At 6’4, she’s a big who can space the floor, clean up defensively and without the intense Ivy League defensive pressure, she should thrive in the WNBA for years to come.

With four first round picks, the Wings could either trade her or keep her as a future piece with the rest of their young stars.

10. Phoenix Mercury — Ruthy Hebard (F, Oregon)

For the Ducks this season, Ruthy Hebard averaged a whopping 17.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. She’s a very efficient scorer, shooting 68% from the field — good for second in the country — and was crucial down low for Oregon. She might not be able to shoot from three, but she’s a traditional big who can help the Mercury off the bench.

11. Seattle Storm — Crystal Dangerfield (G, Connecticut)

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If Crystal Dangerfield is still available at the 11 spot, then Seattle should take her. A small but light footed point guard with a high scoring ability, Dangerfield is an efficient and capable player.

This season, the 5’5 guard averaged 14.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the Huskies. She’s also one her way to becoming a pretty good three-point shooter, shooting 41.6% this season. Defensively, however, she could be a target with her small frame.

Dangerfield could be the perfect eventual replacement for Sue Bird. Seattle does not need a player that can start right now, and Dangerfield can learn from Bird and Jordin Canada while providing a spark off the bench.

12. Washington Mystics — Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (F, South Carolina)

Coach Mike Thibault has a history of drafting overseas players who fly under the radar — Emma Meesseman, anyone? The Mystics also don’t really need someone who is ready to start immediately — they already have a championship caliber team minus Kristi Toliver.

That being said, I think that the Mystics might take Mikiah Herbert Harrigan. The 6’2 forward averaged 12.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists this season for the best team in the country while shooting 50.6% from the field. She’s becoming a stronger three-point shooter and the Mystics can develop her for the future.