A generational player only comes every so often, and Aliyah Boston from South Carolina entering the upcoming draft signals that we are entering that so often.
The 6'5 center collected just about every award there is last year en route to a Gamecocks national championship, and while she looks to repeat, all WNBA eyes are on her professional future.
In 2021-22, Boston averaged 16.8 points per game on 54.2% shooting from the field with 12.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals as the best player on the best team in the country. She was college basketball, and in seven months, she's going to change the dynamic of the W.
We've seen just how much a No. 1 pick can make a difference. Rhyne Howard nearly took the Dream to the playoffs in her first season. But Boston, who will almost definitely be the top choice next spring, has a chance to turn a team into a champion.
Here's what the league looks like depending on who wins the draft lottery.
No team in the league needs a draft win as bad as the Fever, who've been the W's most disappointing franchise since Tamika Catchings' 2016 retirement. Despite having top odds to land the likes of A'ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu and Rhyne Howard ... they didn't, though NaLyssa Smith was no consolation No. 2 pick last year.
Adding Boston as the team's center would give new head coach Christie Sides a major piece to turn Indiana around — maybe a big enough boost to compete for a final playoff spot.
Head coach Tanisha Wright made it to some voters' Coach of the Year ballot despite her team not making the postseason. That's how bad most expected Atlanta to be. But Howard, along with Tiffany Hayes and Cheyenne Parker, make the Dream competitive.
Adding Boston would give Howard and Hayes the pick-and-roll big of their dreams and could boost them into a playoff spot, too.
If the Mystics land the top pick and take Aliyah Boston everyone is in DANGER. The Mystics are a really good team and only in position to add ANOTHER franchise cornerstone because of a pick-swap trade made with the L.A. Sparks in another universe when Liz Cambage wasn't expected to leave the team midseason.
Adding Boston would give Elena Delle Donne a co-scoring threat, Natasha Cloud a pick-and-roll big, and D.C. with the hilarious choice of which 6'5 star young center (last year's No. 3 pick Shakira Austin) to play when. Boston brings the Mystics from a contender to one of the favorites to win it all.
Though they have the slimmest chance of making it happen, Minnesota fans are dreaming of a scenario where they can replace their retiring legend Sylvia Fowles with Aliyah Boston. Minnesota is a team with championship aspirations — their best player, Napheesa Collier, missed nearly all of last season after the birth of her first child — and Boston could take them there.
Adding Boston would give the Lynx one of the most intimidating inside defensive presences and an elite rebounder who'll desperately be needed with Fowles no longer anchoring the middle.
(Featured Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)