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What to know about the WNBA draft lottery

Four teams are hoping for the opportunity to draft Rhyne Howard or NaLyssa Smith.

What to know about the WNBA draft lottery

The WNBA will hold its draft lottery on December 19, just ahead of the UConn-Louisville tip-off on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET. Here comes a life-changing moment for some of the world’s top amateur athletes.

What’s the WNBA’s draft lottery?

The draft lottery randomizes the order in which the four teams with last season’s  worst records will pick. The four teams are sorted by worst record over the last two seasons combined and awarded odds.

The worst team (the Indiana Fever) have a 44.2 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick, the Atlanta Dream have 27.6 percent odds, Washington Mystics 17.8 percent odds, and the Dallas Wings (due to a trade with the Los Angeles Sparks) have 10.4 percent odds.

Why is winning the No. 1 pick so important?

This year’s draft won’t come as clear-cut as some in the past like A’ja Wilson’s top selection in 2018, but teams have their eyes on two game-changing stars: Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard and Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith. (Franchises were waiting a year ago to see if Howard was going to enter the draft early where she had a strong chance of landing in the lottery then, too.)

Howard is commanding much-earned attention because of her size and ability to score. At 6-foot-2, she’s on the taller side for her position and owns an endless toolbag to create separation as a go-to, self-creating scorer. She’s off to a cooler start to this season, but has made 38 percent of a career-average 6.5 three-point attempts per game. She’s also serving a career-best 4.1 assists this year.

Smith could go No. 1 because of her incredible athleticism and ability to score around the rim. The 6-foot-4 big is scoring 20.4 points per game on 57.1 percent shooting from the field. She isn’t a deep-ball threat yet (just wait), but has made 3-of-10 from range to start the season and is a career 75.8 percent free-throw shooter. Her rebounding will get her minutes early in her W career as she’s averaging a ridiculous 13.2 per game this year including 3.8 offensive.

Sunday afternoon will set the stage for April’s draft. Get your popcorn ready!

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