The top four picks of the 2020 WNBA Draft were pretty well-set on most mock drafts and with Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally, Lauren Cox and Chennedy Carter, it went pretty much according to plan.
After that, it was anyone’s guess how different teams would try to fill their needs. So, outside of the bigger names, which players could make an impact on their new team?
Round 1, pick 11 – Seattle Storm
The Latvian Kitija Laksa won’t be joining the Seattle Storm immediately. The 2018 WNBA champions are happy enough to bring back the team that won a title, after they were ravaged by injuries last season.
Laksa fell off the radar after picking up an injury before her final college year, but completed her studies and moved back to Europe to sign with TTT Riga. When she was in South Florida, she played like a woman among girls, but when she eventually joins the Storm after two years of professional basketball under her belt? Forget about it.
She also showed up against Team USA when they played in the FIBA World Cup, by the way.
She is a multifaceted scorer and a tall but versatile body, not dissimilar to Seattle’s Breanna Stewart. It will be interesting to see if the team’s point guard Sue Bird will be around when Laksa joins the team in 2021, but whether she is or not, the Latvian will be a solid player to support Stewie for an extended championship window.
Round 1, pick 10 – New York Liberty
Selected by the Phoenix Mercury, who traded the 10th pick to New York, the Liberty did a good job reloading with talented youth. Jocelyn Willoughby has good height for the wing, a talent for scoring and great hustle, making her a great addition to line-up alongside their new point guard, Sabrina Ionescu.
Willoughby was the tough, emotional leader for Virginia this season, but more than that, she could score with ease. If Willoughby was on a fast break with defenders back-pedalling? Bucket. She’s shifty and strong in the half-court, with the ability to out-muscle smaller players and get the step on bigger opponents. Oh and she shot 41 percent from distance last season. She will also be able to help out on the boards and can dump it off accurately once the defense has broken down.
On the other end of the court, she has decent length, found herself in the passing lanes regularly and has a few highlight reel blocks that are fun to watch.
Round 2, pick 5 – Atlanta Dream
While Kalani Brown showed signs of productivity last year, she struggled to display what she is capable of with the LA Sparks deep rotation of bigs. Brown will get the chance to be the lead on a young exciting squad, but Brittany Brewer will be the back-up battling her for minutes.
Brewer is 6’5 and has clearly had good coaching in the low post. She seals defenders well and has a handful of simple moves that can transfer to the big leagues. In the WNBA she will need to pick up a few more to excel and will need to show that she can keep up with the quicker pace of the game.
Round 3, pick 2 – Minnesota Lynx
Erica Ogwumike is a solid scorer as a guard but lacks playmaking ability. While selected by the New York Liberty, it was done so on behalf of the Minnesota Lynx as part of a trade for Steph Talbot. Ogwumike helps the team subtly re-load on youth and scoring talent, the latter of which will fill a hole for the team.
Owgumike lacks in height compared to her sisters Nneka and Chiney, who play for the LA Sparks, but she has clearly picked up a few of their rebounding techniques and nearly averaged double figures despite being just 5’9 on a good day.
Many expected Ogwumike to not even be drafted, but her family has a strong trait of determination, so don’t be surprised when she figures it out.
Huw grew up in Wales and was too much of a wimp to play rugby. He fell in love with the quiet brilliance of Tim Duncan and ended up a San Antonio Spurs fan. Huw is a Lead Writer for Double Clutch and also contributes to Sky Sports (NBA/WNBA) and Sporting News (FIBA).