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April 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

Mailbag: My WNBA mock draft

Question.jpgAfter joking on Twitter that I felt like an optometrist while filling out my mock draft — Marissa Coleman at one or two? One or two? — a few “followers” asked if I’d share final version. But I’m limited to 140-characters there and we need caveats this season.
“It’s gonna be fun to see how the pieces fall into place and the dominos of this draft,” said ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo via teleconference call last week. “Who is Atlanta going to take at No. 1? This is the first time in quite a while where we’ve had a few players who are kind of mucking things up and making it not an obvious choice up top.”
What the expansion Dream will do is definitely the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Coach/GM Marynell Meadors did waive Betty Lennox after offering a max deal after all. But with everyone Meadors wisely picked up this offseason in free agents F Chamique Holdsclaw, C Michelle Snow, F Sancho Lyttle (Houston dispersal draft), and PG Nikki Teasley (pregnancy) and the known fact that G Ivory Latta doesn’t appear to be working, the Dream need a guard. And you don’t pass up one like Renee Montgomery of Connecticut (aka Point Guard U). Particularly if you’re trying to establish a winning tradition on an expansion team (think Sue Bird in 2002).
Thinking it’s that simple is the beginning of the problem, which makes the No. 1 overall selection where everyone could go wrong from jump street.
The second problem with really picking a solid mock draft is whether you think teams will go by need or best player available. You’ll notice I have Sacramento taking F Ashley Paris (Oklahoma) with the seventh overall pick — a whopper, I know. But do you really think a traditional center in twin Courtney Paris could keep up in that scheme?
And if you don’t think Kara Lawson is the future PG for the Monarchs, you must have missed the Olympics. Plus, Sacramento is loaded with guards, so I steered clear of the popular Briann January (Lewis & Clark) pick. Only, if GM John Whisenant opts for best player available, we’re headed on a different path.
All of these early selections of course change what Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles do later.
Storm coach Brian Agler still says he wants perimeter depth, we’ll see if he sticks with that or thinks he can take California F/C Ashley Walker (6-1) and move her to a versatile wing/power forward player like plans to do with Camille Little.
And I fell in love with PG Shalee Lehning’s game when Kansas State killed Washington behind her triple-double, yet will LA coach Michael Cooper see how her ability to pass the ball could help his roster? Or would he add another post to his roster in Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton (Purdue).
It’s always a toss-up, but that’s my reasoning behind the mock draft below. Please share yours. I have a feeling the GMs could use all the help they can get (just kidding).
1. Atlanta – G Renee Montgomery, Connecticut
2. Washington – F Marissa Coleman, Maryland
3. Chicago – F Angel McCoughtry, Louisville
4. Minnesota – C Kia Vaughn, Rutgers
5. Phoenix – G Kristi Toliver, Maryland
6. Indiana – G/F DeWanna Bonner, Auburn
7. Sacramento – F Ashley Paris, Oklahoma
8. New York – G Shavonte Zellous, Pittsburgh
9. Minnesota – C Courtney Paris, Oklahoma
10. Connecticut – C Chante Black, Duke
11. Detroit – G Briann January, Arizona State
12. Seattle – F Lyndra Littles, Virginia
13. Los Angeles – G Shalee Lehning, Kansas State

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