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2022 WNBA Mock Draft: Will the Dream take Rhyne Howard or NaLyssa Smith after buying and selling for the primary choose?

With the 2022 WNBA Draft lower than every week away, it’s formally time to begin projecting the place basketball’s brightest younger stars shall be competing this summer season.

The Indiana Fever, with WNBA pioneer and championship-winning head coach Lin Dunn now serving because the crew’s basic supervisor, could have 4 picks within the first spherical, making them the crew with probably the most alternative to construct by means of the draft. The Atlanta Dream may also have an opportunity so as to add constructing blocks to their rebuild, whereas the Washington Mystics have the No. 1 general choose within the draft.

With out additional ado, right here is Swish Appeal’s official 2022 WNBA Mock Draft, full with predictions and evaluation for all three rounds and all 36 picks.

1. Atlanta Dream: Rhyne Howard, G/F (Kentucky)

Howard has been surrounded by an aura of stardom since early in her collegiate profession, and three first-team All-American choices would recommend that she’s greater than able to make an influence within the execs. At 6’2, Howard has nice measurement as a fringe participant, and whereas it’s straightforward to concentrate on her scoring (20-plus factors per recreation in three-straight seasons), she will be able to additionally make performs out of the pick-and-roll and has a excessive ceiling as a assist defender. Merely put, Howard is the kind of elite expertise a crew — the Dream, on this case — can construct round for years to return.

2. Indiana Fever: NaLyssa Smith, F (Baylor)

Listed at 6’4, Smith is a extremely bodily energy ahead who has an athletic benefit over the overwhelming majority of her particular person matchups. A powerful face-up recreation and a relentless motor make Smith fairly a handful on the boards and on the rim; her senior averages of twenty-two.1 factors and 11.5 factors per recreation amounted to probably the greatest particular person seasons in Baylor historical past, and if the Fever take her at No. 2 general, they’ll be getting a high quality play finisher whose recreation has much more room to develop as an expert.

3. Washington Mystics: Shakira Austin, C (Ole Miss)

A two-time All-SEC first-teamer, Austin dragged a rebuilding Ole Miss program into relevance upon her switch from Maryland. With a large wingspan and good lateral motion for her measurement, Austin can shield the paint in addition to comfortably change onto perimeter gamers, and at 6’5, she’s going to seize her justifiable share of rebounds (28.2 p.c defensive rebounding rate as a senior). Maybe probably the most intriguing side of her recreation is how easily she handles the basketball as a middle; Washington doesn’t have a lot by way of two-way bigs, so Austin would make constructing block for future Mystics groups.

4. Indiana Fever: Kierstan Bell, F (FGCU)

Bell scored almost 1,100 factors in simply two seasons at FGCU, shortly proving to be an ideal match within the Eagles’ 3-point-heavy offense. She operated primarily as a small-ball ahead there, feasting on Atlantic Solar competitors en path to a pair of convention participant of the yr awards. Though Bell’s position will doubtless be totally different on whichever WNBA crew she lands on, there’s no query she has each the talent and the physique to be a profitable professional, and the Fever’s current dedication to overhauling their roster recommend that they wouldn’t thoughts taking a flier on a participant with Bell’s athletic ceiling.

5. New York Liberty: Emily Engstler, F (Louisville)

Engstler loved a profession renaissance at Louisville, thriving as a roaming defender within the Cardinals’ ultra-aggressive man-to-man scheme. Based on Her Hoop Stats, she was the one rotation participant in Division I to document a steal price of at the very least 5 p.c and a block price of at the very least seven p.c; no different participant, going all the way in which again to the 2009-10 season, has ever met each of these thresholds. The Liberty ranked tenth within the WNBA in forcing turnovers final season, and whereas Engstler will not be sufficiently big to defend the taller facilities within the league, her defensive instincts and exercise would nonetheless be extremely valued in New York.

6. Indiana Fever: Nyara Sabally, C (Oregon)

Sabally’s profession at Oregon was restricted to only two seasons as a result of a number of ACL accidents, however when wholesome, she confirmed a number of of the identical expertise that made her older sister Satou a can’t-miss WNBA prospect — dealing with the ball and ending performs in transition, particularly. Though Sabally is extra restricted to the low submit, she’s loads expert across the basket, taking pictures 62.2 p.c there (Synergy Sports activities), and he or she’s regarded extremely in worldwide basketball circles, having competed for the German nationwide crew since 2015. The Fever have sufficient first-round picks to take an opportunity right here and hope Sabally pans out.

7. Dallas Wings: Destanni Henderson, G (South Carolina)

The Wings don’t appear to wish a lot on paper, but it surely’s conceivable that they transfer on from considered one of Moriah Jefferson or Ty Harris sooner somewhat than later, wherein case Henderson can be an excellent substitute. A gentle outdoors shooter (40.5 p.c on 3-pointers as an upperclassman) with a penchant for making huge performs, Henderson might slot in subsequent to every other Wings guard and contribute both as a degree guard or an off-ball menace.

8. Minnesota Lynx: Elissa Cunane, C (NC State)

Cunane has been the point of interest of an NC State program that has persistently been one of many nation’s finest in current seasons. The fulcrum of the Wolfpack’s four-out, one-in offense, Cunane has glorious footwork within the submit and might end on the rim with both hand, although the prospect of her creating a dependable 3-point shot (42-of-100 on 3-pointers over the previous three seasons) could also be extra interesting to professional coaches; Sylvia Fowles shall be calling it a profession after the 2022 WNBA season, so the Lynx could also be trying so as to add frontcourt depth right here.

9. Los Angeles Sparks: Christyn Williams, G (UConn)

Williams is a 5’11 guard with a robust base and is among the higher two-way perimeter gamers within the class. The winner of the 2022 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award given to the nation’s finest taking pictures guard, Williams excels at slashing to the ring and shot effectively above 50 p.c on 2-pointers in every of her 4 seasons at UConn. The Sparks have loads of dynamic ball handlers on their roster, and Williams would make complement to that star energy.

10. Indiana Fever: Veronica Burton, G (Northwestern)

A 3-time Huge Ten Defensive Participant of the Yr who amassed 394 steals in 4 collegiate seasons, Burton was usually tasked with carrying the lion’s share of the playmaking for an offensively restricted Northwestern crew; though she performs with the push wanted from WNBA level guards, she wouldn’t be overtaxed in Indiana, and her potential to set the tone of a recreation on protection can be a welcome addition to a backcourt that lacks a point-of-attack defender.

11. Las Vegas Aces: Rae Burrell, G/F (Tennessee)

Burrell’s highly-anticipated senior season obtained off to a rocky begin when she sustained a leg harm, one which saved her out for chunk of the season and restricted her athletically after she returned to the court docket. Though this undoubtedly harm Burrell’s draft inventory, she’s nonetheless worthy of a chance within the late first spherical; as a 6’1 wing who shot 40.2 p.c on 3-pointers as a junior, Burrell would match properly on an Aces roster that’s at present brief on perimeter gamers.

12. Connecticut Solar: Sika Kone, C (Mali)

Extensively thought to be one of many high worldwide prospects within the class, Kone averaged a powerful 19.7 factors and 14.8 rebounds per recreation for Mali within the 2021 U19 Ladies’s Basketball World Cup. Kone is simply 19 years outdated and her recreation continues to be uncooked, however her worldwide standing makes her a primary candidate to be drafted and “stashed,” particularly if the current knee injury she suffered whereas enjoying in Spain retains her out for the start of the 2022 WNBA season. In Connecticut’s case, she’d be a low-risk choose for a crew that isn’t in any other case ready so as to add a lot by means of this yr’s draft.

13. Minnesota Lynx: Jade Melbourne, G (Australia)

An up-and-coming younger guard who shall be a key cog in Australia’s nationwide program for years to return, Melbourne has pick-and-roll chops as each a scorer and a playmaker, as evidenced by her current play within the U19 World Cup (12.6 factors and three.4 assists per recreation because the Aussies received a bronze medal). Nonetheless simply 19 years outdated, she is smart for the Lynx to draft and stash, as Minnesota received’t have a lot room on its 2022 coaching camp roster.

14. Washington Mystics: Nia Clouden, G (Michigan State)

A score-first level guard who’s efficient at each ending on the rim (61.3 p.c taking pictures) and taking pictures the lengthy ball (39.6 p.c on 5 3-point makes an attempt per recreation as a senior), Clouden might very effectively go larger than this, but when she’s nonetheless out there at No. 13, the Mystics ought to have a look. Washington has loads of robust perimeter defenders to pair with Clouden, similar to Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins, and her off-the-bounce scoring potential would add a beneficial dimension to Washington’s offense.

15. Atlanta Dream: Naz Hillmon, C (Michigan)

Probably the most environment friendly scorers in Huge Ten historical past, Hillmon terrorized the convention as an upperclassman, averaging greater than 22 factors and 10 rebounds per recreation in her final two seasons as a Wolverine whereas taking pictures almost 60 p.c from the ground. As a middle who made the overwhelming majority of her discipline objectives out of post-ups and putbacks, Hillmon’s peak (6’2) and lack of defensive stats might trigger her to slip a bit within the draft, however she’s additionally extra athletic than she’s given credit score for, so we’ll see how a lot of her recreation interprets and which WNBA crew is a believer.

16. Los Angeles Sparks: Hannah Sjerven, C (South Dakota)

Sjerven turned heads within the 2022 NCAA Match, main South Dakota to its first-ever event win and Candy 16 look whereas greater than holding her personal in opposition to a number of the larger names within the class, similar to Austin, Smith, and Hillmon. The three-time Summit League Defensive Participant of the Yr has a gradual low-post recreation and a creating 3-point shot, and although she’ll already be turning 24 years outdated this summer season, her attraction as a basically sound huge who can contribute to a crew straight away would make her a secure choose within the mid-second spherical.

17. Seattle Storm: Khayla Pointer, G (LSU)

Pointer put up huge all-around numbers as a fifth-year participant, averaging 19.6 factors, 6.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals per recreation, although her primary power stays her potential to get to the rim off the dribble. Given Sue Hen’s impending retirement and the Storm’s present lack of a long-term substitute, it’s cheap to assume they’ll draft at the very least one level guard in 2022; Pointer can be a sensible choice if she’s nonetheless on the board at No. 17.

18. Seattle Storm: Kianna Smith, G (Louisville)

Smith shortly grew to become an integral a part of Louisville’s success after transferring from California. A gentle play finisher, Smith can assault closeouts with steadiness and poise, and he or she ranked within the 92nd percentile in midrange taking pictures effectivity (Synergy Sports activities) as a redshirt senior. At 6’0, she’d be a stable selection if Seattle needs one other perimeter shooter with some peak.

19. Los Angeles Sparks: Mya Hollingshed, F (Colorado)

Hollingshed is probably the purest “stretch huge” within the 2022 draft class. A lean 6’3 ahead with a easy long-range jumpshot, Hollingshed strikes like a guard and shoots like one, too, pulling down 39.6 p.c of her 3-point pictures as a senior. She’ll have to get stronger to have a lot of an influence contained in the perimeter on the WNBA degree, however the Sparks have already got loads of that with Nneka Ogwumike and Liz Cambage, and Hollingshed’s taking pictures potential would complement these gamers effectively.

20. Indiana Fever: Lorela Cubaj, F (Georgia Tech)

A two-time ACC Defensive Participant of the Yr, Cubaj anchored an elite Yellow Jackets protection whereas additionally main the crew in assists (4.3 per recreation) as its beginning energy ahead. Cubaj frequently pursues rebounds outdoors of her space and has recorded a defensive rebounding price of 30 p.c or higher in every of her final two seasons. She’s not an environment friendly scorer through both spot-up or post-up, which finally limits her draft inventory, however her potential as a “glue” frontcourt participant might put her on the rebuilding Fever’s radar.

21. Seattle Storm: Jasmine Dickey, G/F (Delaware)

A two-time CAA Participant of the Yr and a 2022 AP All-American Honorable Point out, Dickey ranked third in Division I in scoring (25.3) as a senior. To say she performs taller than her 5’10 body wouldn’t be inaccurate; Dickey additionally pulled down 10.2 rebounds per recreation and tried 223 complete free throws. She received’t be contributing on that sort of quantity within the WNBA, however her athleticism alone would make her a worthy addition to the Storm’s coaching camp roster.

22. Minnesota Lynx: Jordan Lewis, G (Baylor)

Lewis has performed a whopping six seasons of school basketball, and he or she’s excelled at attending to the foul line in every of them, rating no decrease than within the 92nd percentile in free throw price (Her Hoop Stats). She’s additionally steady-handed, recording a career-best 2.34 help/turnover ratio in her lone season at Baylor. It’s no secret that Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve was dissatisfied with Crystal Dangerfield’s play at level guard final season, so Minnesota may very well be trying to draft one other ball handler similar to Lewis in 2022.

23. Las Vegas Aces: Olivia Nelson-Ododa, C (UConn)

Nelson-Ododa is among the extra fascinating prospects on this class; she profiles as a shot-blocking low-post scorer (66.7 p.c taking pictures on post-ups, per Synergy Sports activities), however passing is probably her best power as a 6’5 middle, whereas her scoring as UConn was largely opportunistic. Enjoying alongside scorers like A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum in Las Vegas would maximize Nelson-Ododa’s passing potential, and he or she’d match proper into the crew’s defensive identification of paint safety.

24. Connecticut Solar: Aisha Sheppard, G (Virginia Tech)

One of many nation’s high jumpshooting guards, Sheppard can hit from nearly anyplace, and her jumper is extra versatile than most, efficient whereas each recognizing up and coming off screens. Few gamers obtained up extra 3-pointers than Sheppard, and he or she knocked down 96 of them in her fifth season as a Hokie. Connecticut appears dedicated to including extra taking pictures to its backcourt this season, so Sheppard can be a sensible choice if she’s nonetheless round at choose No. 24.

25. Indiana Fever: Lexie Hull, G/F (Stanford)

Hull’s primary attraction as a WNBA prospect will virtually actually be her outdoors taking pictures potential, as she shot 39.3 p.c on 4.3 3-pointers per recreation as a senior. She’s additionally a stout pick-and-roll defender who navigates screens effectively; she averaged 2.2 steals per recreation as a senior and was chosen to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Crew twice in her collegiate profession. There aren’t many WNBA groups that Hull wouldn’t match effectively on.

26. Phoenix Mercury: Queen Egbo, C (Baylor)

Egbo has all of the makings of an enormous who brings vitality on the boards however must be drafted to a crew with a affected person teaching workers whereas her offensive recreation catches as much as her hustle — or a crew that’s in clear want of one other middle. Egbo is listed at 6’3, although her wingspan and motor add a few theoretical inches to that determine; she recorded a complete rebounding price of at the very least 18 p.c in every of her 4 seasons at Baylor and blocked a complete of 183 pictures.

27. Los Angeles Sparks: Kayla Wells, G/F (Texas A&M)

The Aggies crashed again all the way down to Earth in 2021-22, however Wells had a profession season, averaging 16 factors per recreation whereas connecting on 46.1 p.c of her 3-pointers, albeit on low quantity. At 6’0, Wells brings some measurement to the perimeter, and is able to making performs out of the pick-and roll-when requested. She’d be an intriguing late-draft choose for Los Angeles.

28. Minnesota Lynx: Que Morrison, G (Georgia)

Morrison made a reputation for herself as one of the crucial tenacious guards within the SEC because of aggressive on- and off-ball protection and a motor that by no means appeared to falter. She was a big a part of Georgia’s transition recreation — 29.2 p.c of her offensive possessions got here in transition as a graduate scholar — and was named to the SEC All-Defensive Crew thrice. She’d be an excellent candidate to push Minnesota’s different guards in coaching camp.

29. New York Liberty: Jenna Staiti, C (Georgia)

At 6’6, Staiti is among the most bodily imposing gamers within the class, and he or she does a lot of what you’d anticipate of a middle of her peak. Staiti shot 65.7 p.c across the basket in her closing season at Georgia (Synergy Sports activities), whereas opponents scored simply 0.537 factors per possession on post-ups together with her as the first defender. She’ll have to show sufficient mobility outdoors of the paint to stay on a WNBA roster, although her peak alone is perhaps of curiosity to the Liberty, who might use one other huge physique on their coaching camp roster.

30. Dallas Wings: Vivian Gray, F (Texas Tech)

Grey scored greater than 2,000 complete factors in two seasons at Oklahoma State and two at Texas Tech, incomes All-Huge 12 honors in every of them. At 6’1, she’s bigger than most gamers defending her on the wing, and he or she leverages that measurement benefit into quite a few journeys to the free-throw line. Grey will not be the quickest participant on the court docket, although she did document two steals per recreation in her closing season at Texas Tech, and her measurement as a fringe scorer might reduce the standard studying curve in relation to WNBA physicality.

31. Dallas Wings: Kamila Borkowska, C (Poland)

Borkowska is nineteen years outdated and, not like a number of the different worldwide gamers on this class, doesn’t have very a lot expertise in an expert league, solely enjoying sparingly for Arka Gdynia in Poland. For that reason, she’s removed from a assure to be drafted. Borkowska does, although, have huge shot-blocking and rebounding potential at 6’7, and at this stage within the draft, the Wings might afford to make use of a choose on a participant they wouldn’t should convey over to the WNBA instantly.

32. Phoenix Mercury: Kayla Jones, F (NC State)

On an NC State crew stuffed with expertise, Jones’ complementary position was essential, defending a number of positions at 6’1 and ending performs on excessive effectivity. She shot 41.6 p.c on 3-pointers over her closing two seasons with the Wolfpack, and her nostril for the basketball earned NC State additional possessions on quite a few events. Any WNBA crew would like to have her in coaching camp.

33. Seattle Storm: Evina Westbrook, G (UConn)

Westbrook might not have made the influence the Huskies had hoped for when she transferred from Tennessee, however she nonetheless has the instruments to hold round close to the underside of the draft board. 6’0 ballhandlers are uncommon, and Westbrook has plus athleticism for her place, so she ought to be capable of compete on most WNBA coaching camp rosters. Seattle can be vacation spot for her.

34. Indiana Fever: Pauline Astier, G (France)

The Fever could have picked six occasions earlier than this, so until one thing wild occurs, they in all probability received’t even be capable of roster choose No. 34 in coaching camp, which means a world choice would be the option to go. Astier performed some terrific basketball for France in final yr’s U19 World Cup, averaging 15 factors per recreation on 60.7 p.c taking pictures from the sphere, and he or she’s at present a rotation participant for Tango Bourges, which lately superior to the EuroCup Ladies Closing. There’s an opportunity she turns right into a WNBA-level participant down the highway.

35. Las Vegas Aces: Delicia Washington, G (Clemson)

A shifty guard who’s adept at making performs out of the pick-and-roll, Washington earned first-team All-ACC honors in her graduate season at Clemson, showcasing an improved outdoors jumpshot and a stronger dedication to protection (3.2 p.c steal price; Her Hoop Stats). Washington’s talent with the basketball has by no means been in query, and together with her recreation turning into extra well-rounded as of late, she’s positively price a late-round look.

36. Connecticut Solar: Katie Benzan, G (Maryland)

Maryland’s all-time chief in 3-point taking pictures proportion (47.4 p.c), Benzan made 166 3-pointers in simply two seasons as a Terrapin. She additionally took excellent care of the basketball, recording an help/turnover ratio of three.2 in these two seasons. Benzan’s strengths are clearly-defined, making her a secure choose in direction of the tip of the draft.

2022 WNBA Draft: Date, Time, and TV

When: Monday, April 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. ET
The place: Spring Studios, New York, NY

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