The 2023 WNBA Draft will be remembered as the Aliyah Boston draft. She's not just one of South Carolina's biggest stars, she's one of the college game's all-time greats, and now she'll get her professional career rolling, presumably with the Indiana Fever, who hold the No. 1 pick.
Boston, like most of the rest of this year's projected lottery, chose to forego a final year of college eligibility granted to her and others due to COVID-19. Notably, several other big names opted to stay in school, meaning the 2024 class has the potential to be STACKED.
Regardless, there are other stars to be had after Boston, and a few late-round picks who could make noise in year one. Here's how I see the draft on April 10 at 7 pm ET on ESPN going.
It would be an utter shock if the WNBA's perennially rebuilding Fever whiffed on a pick this obvious. The 6-foot-5 center was last year's National Player of the Year and averaged 14.1 points on 54.6% shooting with 10.8 rebounds across her four years at South Carolina, winning a championship as a junior.
Aliyah Boston's WNBA ceiling: The league's best low-post center
The Lynx have a few options here. They could look off Haley Jones' lackluster senior season and see a versatile forward. They could try Tennessee guard Jordan Horston. But I think they'll select Diamond Miller because no other player remaining in the draft has as many pro tools in their bag. The 6-foot-3 guard can defend multiple positions, and has made strides as a ball-handler and passer.
Diamond Miller's ceiling: Franchise cornerstone, especially if her shooting improves
Tennessee's 6-foot-2 guard is one of the draft's most interesting defensive prospects. She has great instincts and skill (1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game this year), and her size should allow her to defend multiple guard types. She's a tad turnover prone and hasn't developed an outside shot to date, but is a solid play-maker and looks the part of a quality starting guard already.
Jordan Horston's WNBA ceiling: All-Star
There are a lot of areas Jones came up short on this season, namely her inability to develop a three-point shot, which is becoming more and more necessary in women's hoops by the minute. But she's also a high-motor, incredibly talented rebounding guard, grabbing nine per game this year at just 6-foot-1. Don't let what she doesn't do overshadow what she does, and she can contribute for a title-hungry team today.
Haley Jones' ceiling: All-Star
Soares is one of the most interesting players in the draft because she has the size and skill to be a WNBA mainstay, but the injury history and lack of elite-level competition on her resume to make you question if it'll happen.
Soares played just one year in Division 1 after dominating the NAIA for The Master's University, but the 6-foot-6 center tore her ACL and MCL in 2021, and her ACL again this season at Iowa State. In 13 games this year, though, she showed she can play, averaging 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and three blocks in just 22.7 minutes. She even made 11-of-36 3-pointers (30.6%). The Wings should be willing to take a chance on her.
Stephanie Soares' ceiling: All-Star
Beal is known for her defensive prowess, and at 6-foot-1, she has good size to be a wing-stopper. Her offense leaves a lot to be desired, but she did sink 38-of-100 3-point attempts this year, showing something might be clicking. Note: her career 57.3% free throw percentage shows cause for alarm, though. Still, Beal could spell Allisha Gray in spurts, and the Dream are trying to show they're for real this year. Atlanta would draft her to play her immediately.
Brea Beal's ceiling: Starter
The NCAA's leading scorer (men's or women's) at 29.2 points per game knows how to get buckets — it's a question of how her game in the mid-range will translate. The forward stands just 6-foot-1 and will have much bigger bodies in her way at the next level. But she made 51% of her shots from the field and 36.1% from range. She's easily a risk worth taking this low.
Maddy Siegrist's ceiling: All-Star
Lopez Senechal will be drafted as a pure shooter, making 39% of or more of her looks in each of her final four years in school. As a super senior, she made 44% at UConn.
Lou Lopez Senechal's ceiling: Starter
There are legitimate questions as to how her game will translate against quicker and stronger opponents, but Joens is a bucket-getter and Seattle needs that to reinvent itself in the post-Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird years. Joens averaged 21.6 points and 9.7 rebounds as just a 6-foot-1 guard in her super senior season, and also made 36.5% of her 3-point shots for her entire career.
Ashley Joens' ceiling: Rotation player
The 6-foot-5 fifth-year center had her most impressive year at UConn this season, averaging 14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds. She'll need to get stronger and work on her shooting touch, but the tools are there.
Dorka Juhasz's ceiling: Rotation player
Berger doesn't have one skill that stands out above the rest, but does she does everything well. She averaged 12.9 points, 5.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds for a No. 1 tournament seed team. While the Wings figure out their backcourt situation, Berger provides another option.
Grace Berger's ceiling: Rotation player
The Gamecocks' best shooter, Cooke always seemed to step up in big moments, including her 24-point game in the Final Four. She averaged 15.4 points per game as a senior, making 34.6% of her shots from range. Her biggest question mark is her size at just 5-foot-9.
Zia Cooke's ceiling: Rotation player