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Gaming Society’s WNBA Mock Draft 2022

From Rhyne Howard to Elissa Cunane, let’s mock!

Gaming Society’s WNBA Mock Draft 2022

With the WNBA Draft set for April 11 at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, it’s time to mock!

This year’s draft class is considered a deep one highlighted by three players, Rhyne Howard, Shakira Austin and NaLyssa Smith, expected to go 1-2-3 in some order. 

It’s already been a chaotic lead-up to draft day after the Mystics moved the No. 1 overall selection to the Dream on Thursday for the Nos. 3 and 14 picks and a first-round pick swap via the Sparks in 2023.

Anywho, with some insight from former WNBA All-Star Marissa Coleman, let’s get to drafting!

1. Atlanta Dream - Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Team needs: A superstar to pair with Tiffany Hayes

Why this player fits: Howard, a 6’2 wing, has the highest ceiling of any player available and could become a franchise cornerstone

Marissa Coleman: Howard’s the potential ROY because she will play right away and have the opportunity to be a big piece of Atlanta’s offense

2. Indiana Fever - Shakira Austin, Ole Miss

Team needs: To draft the most promising talent available

Why this player fits: By losing 6’7 center Teaira McCowan via trade, the center spot is wide open for Austin. It may take time for her offense to develop, but Indy has that time to wait

MC: Austin has the biggest upside in the draft

3. Washington Mystics - NaLyssa Smith, Baylor

Team needs: A rotation player who can fill-in in case of injury

Why this player fits: The Mystics are built to contend, which is rare for a lottery team, but made possible due to a number of injuries last season. Smith may be the most league-ready player in the draft

MC: Smith is a big presence on the glass and could fill an immediate role in D.C.

4. Indiana Fever - Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast

Team needs: To draft the most promising talent available

Why this player fits: Bell is a high-volume scorer, and Indy needs someone who can get buckets. Every pick the Fever make needs to have star potential, and she has it   

MC: Draft sleeper. Pro-ready

5. New York Liberty - Nyara Sabally, Oregon

Team needs: Cohesiveness

Why this player fits: Sabally is loaded with talent, but injury troubles make her a worrisome pick. She’s the type of player the Liberty, still in search of their first playoff run in the post-Tina Charles era, should take a try on, though. Playing alongside another player coming out of Kelly Graves’ system wouldn’t hurt for Sabrina Ionescu, too. 

MC: If she can stay healthy, she’ll be a problem in the post

6. Indiana Fever - Emily Engstler, Louisville

Team needs: To draft the most promising talent available

Why this player fits: Fever basketball is looking for a rebrand, and Engstler is coming into the league lauded for her defensive instincts. Seems like a perfect match 

MC: A hard-working defender, Indy is the perfect place for her

7. Dallas Wings - Destanni Henderson, South Carolina

Team needs: Defensive stoppers

Why this player fits: Did you see the job she did on Paige Bueckers in the national championship blowout? Henderson might be undersized, but she’s a perimeter pest with shooting range, too

MC: Dallas is a great spot for her. It’d be nice to see how she plays with Arike Ogunbowale

8. Minnesota Lynx - Christyn Williams, UConn

Team needs: Wing depth

Why this player fits: A UConn guard who was doubted coming out of college and thrives in Minneapolis… where have we seen this story in Lynx history before? Williams might have been an inconsistent scorer in college, but she could be an excellent pro in a reduced role

9. Los Angeles Sparks - Nia Clouden, Michigan State

Team needs: Elite-shooting guards

Why this player fits: Clouden was one of the best shooters in the country this season, making 39.6% of her 3-point attempts and 88.5% of her free throws. If those career-highs are to be believed (she averaged 34.1% shooting for her career), she could make this Sparks roster

10. Indiana Fever - Sika Kone, Mali

Team needs: To draft the most promising talent available

Why this player fits: Indiana can’t play all of its rookies, and maybe it can convince the 19-year-old from Mali to stay overseas and continue developing until there’s a spot ready for her. The 6’3 center has tremendous potential as a bruiser in the paint

11. Las Vegas Aces - Naz Hillmon, Michigan

Team needs: Not a whole lot 

Why this player fits: The Aces are chasing a championship. If they roster the player they pick here, she needs to be able to compete daily at practice and understand playing time might not come right away. Analysts rave about Hillmon’s work ethic, and competing with A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby should only make her better

12. Connecticut Sun - Elissa Cunane, NC State

Team needs: I mean not much, but an extra post to compete in practice would be nice

Why this player fits: A 6’5 center, Cunane’s height and shooting touch (career 46-112 from deep) is hard to come by. Competing with Jonquel Jones and Brionna Jones will be a nice barometer for her to know what she needs to work on.

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