WNBA Mock Draft: Where will Angel Reese land? Who will be picked after Caitlin Clark? – The Athletic

Sabreena MerchantMar 20, 2024

The last time we checked in on the WNBA Draft, the Indiana Fever had just won the No. 1 pick and were deliriously excited, even before knowing if Caitlin Clark would declare. That hope has been realized: Clark’s decision to go pro fulfills the Fever’s dream and sets up this draft to be one of the most impactful in league history.

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Clark isn’t the only fourth-year to explicitly state her intentions for next season. Stanford’s Cameron Brink will be joining Clark in the pros in 2024, while Paige Bueckers will be playing for UConn for at least one more season. Three other players (Te-Hina Paopao, Aubrey Griffin, and Emily Ryan) on The Athletic’s 2024 Big Board will also be staying in college for a fifth year, removing them from draft consideration. We’re still awaiting the decisions of Angel Reese, Aaliyah Edwards and Kamilla Cardoso, among others, but we’ll assume they’re headed to the WNBA until further notice.

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The league also has gone through its free-agency period since the last mock draft, which clarified team needs and shook up the draft order. Four picks have changed hands — some multiple times — via trade. Overall, a third of the 36 total draft picks have been traded at least once, marking the ninth time in league history that has happened, according to Across the Timeline.

For all the change that has taken place during the WNBA offseason, one thing remains the same: The Las Vegas Aces are still the team to beat, but the Indiana Fever got one giant step closer. The draft takes place on April 15 in New York.

1. Indiana Fever

Caitlin Clark | 6-0 guard | Iowa

The Fever drafted a frontcourt star with the No. 1 pick a year ago, and now they get to pair her with arguably the greatest guard prospect to come out of college since Diana Taurasi. Clark is the leading scorer in college basketball history, and she’s fourth (and rising) on the all-time assists list, so she’ll be able to impact Indiana’s offense in a variety of ways. She’ll improve the Fever’s spacing with her limitless range, she’ll increase the tempo with her hit-ahead passes, and she’ll add to the entertainment factor.

Last season, Indiana had the second lowest home attendance in the league, ahead of only Atlanta, where the Dream averaged 85 percent capacity but were limited by the size of their arena. Now, the Fever are experiencing a spike in ticket sales since Clark declared for the draft, and other teams are seeing dramatic upswings — even in season ticket sales — so that fans can be present when Indiana comes to town. Clark is an offense and an economic force melded together. The 2024 draft will be a franchise-changing day for Indiana.

2. Los Angeles Sparks

Cameron Brink | 6-4 forward/center | Stanford

After Bueckers announced she would be staying in school for a fifth year, Brink became the second best player on the board. The only long-term player the Sparks really have is Zia Cooke, so they need help everywhere, and Brink is a great place to start as a new Stanford frontcourt player to fill the shoes of Nneka Ogwumike.

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Brink is a defensive dynamo who not only contests shots in the paint but deters opponents from taking them altogether. She attacks the basket and has a smooth jumper; though her 3-pointers haven’t gone in regularly, her free-throw percentage has improved from below 65 percent during her first two seasons to 85 percent as a junior and senior, suggesting that her shooting form will translate. Brink also has improved as a passer. She reads the floor well and is a multi-threat operating out of the high post. She can function as a screener and handoff hub or an entry passer into the low block or even create her own offense.

The major question with Brink is her ability to defend without fouling, and folded into that is her ability to handle the physicality of the WNBA game since her frame doesn’t exactly scream center. But assuming she gets stronger under a professional workout plan, she’ll be a frontcourt star for years to come.

3. Chicago Sky (from Phoenix)

Rickea Jackson | 6-2 forward | Tennessee

Chicago, which had previously surrendered its first-round pick in a sign-and-trade for Marina Mabrey in 2024, entered the first round by trading Kahleah Copper to the Phoenix Mercury. The Sky are now rebuilding from the studs with only Mabrey as a guaranteed contract beyond this season, and they need the most talented prospect possible.

That player should be Rickea Jackson, who is widely regarded as the second-best scorer in the draft after Clark. Jackson has a pro body already. She can create her own offense in a variety of ways, be it off the dribble, in the post, out of pick-and-roll or through putbacks. She gets up for big games. Ideally, that inconsistency is no longer a factor when she has to bring it every night in a league as talented as the WNBA.

4. Los Angeles Sparks (from Seattle)

Kamilla Cardoso | 6-7 center | South Carolina

The Sparks sacrificed a 2026 first-round pick in what is considered a weaker draft to double down on the 2024 lottery (and eat the contract of Kia Nurse). That gives them an opportunity to fortify their future frontcourt with Kamilla Cardoso. Cardoso and Brink are a natural pairing, as each has spent the bulk of her college career successfully playing next to another big. Cardoso has great feet, especially at her size, and she runs the floor well. She’ll have to refine her post moves, but she’ll have time to develop in Los Angeles.

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5. Dallas Wings (from Chicago)

Georgia Amoore | 5-6 guard | Virginia Tech

This might be the third consecutive draft where the Wings have had a clear need at point guard, and that position still hasn’t been filled. Perhaps Georgia Amoore is the answer. Although slightly undersized, she knows how to run an offense; she has been perfecting her two-player game with Elizabeth Kitley for four years, which will serve her well as she learns to make reads off Teaira McCowan, Kalani Brown and Natasha Howard. Amoore is also shooting 44.9 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers this season, making her the ideal guard for kickout passes in a frontcourt-heavy roster.

Dallas was below-average defensively in 2024, and Amoore doesn’t immediately address that. However, she’s a smart player who will be able to give more effort on defense when she isn’t required to save her fouls and play 35 minutes as the only lead ballhandler.

6. Washington Mystics

Leïla Lacan | 5-11 guard | Angers (France)

Washington’s outlook for 2024 has taken a turn. Natasha Cloud left to join Phoenix and Elena Delle Donne did not sign the team’s core qualifying offer, electing to instead take a break from basketball. The Mystics’ star power has dissipated significantly, and they’re in asset-collecting mode instead of attempting to contend. That means that they can afford to swing for the fences, and that’s what’s happening here with 19-year-old Leïla Lacan. She’s already an advanced playmaker who adds value defensively, a rarity at that position, especially at that age. Lacan was a member of the All-Star five at the FIBA U19 World Cup in 2024, demonstrating her ability to excel on big stages.

The tricky part with drafting international players, as Washington knows all too well considering its history with Emma Meesseman, is their availability. There are multiple international competitions that take players away from the WNBA, and Lacan could have a particular issue due to the conflicting schedule of the French domestic league. However, this is why the Mystics need to get out ahead of the prioritization issue and show Lacan that she is their priority by drafting her in the first round. Get her into Washington’s system before she even makes the senior national team. The rewards for a high-level international player outweigh the risks – just ask Messeeman, the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP.

7. Minnesota Lynx

Aaliyah Edwards | 6-3 forward/center | UConn

Huskies do well in Minnesota, whether it’s Maya Moore, Napheesa Collier or even Dorka Juhász putting together a surprisingly effective rookie campaign in 2024. Aaliyah Edwards seems like the perfect player to continue the Connecticut assembly line. She’s fundamentally sound and will earn minutes from coach Cheryl Reeve because she doesn’t make mistakes. Edwards rebounds well, defends her position, scores from 15 feet and within, and can even facilitate a little. She likely will expand her shooting range in the WNBA if given some more offensive freedom. With Jessica Shepard and Nikolina Milić out for the 2024 season, Edwards can contribute right away for a team that is hoping to win games.

8. Chicago Sky (from Atlanta via Los Angeles)

Angel Reese | 6-3 forward/center | LSU

This pick went from Atlanta to Los Angeles in the Jordin Canada sign-and-trade that got the Dream their new point guard. The Sparks then sent it to Chicago in exchange for the rights to Julie Allemand and Li Yueru. Once again, the Sky have the opportunity to select as much upside as possible, and this time, it’s another SEC frontcourt player in Angel Reese. Reese might have the highest motor of any player in this class, and she creates extra possessions with her rebounding and steals. She always plays hard and has great leaping ability, especially her second jump, which should help her make the athletic transition to the WNBA. Reese will have to become a more efficient scorer but her year-to-year improvement in college suggests anything is possible.

9. Dallas Wings

Jacy Sheldon | 5-10 guard | Ohio State

We’ve gotten to the point of Dallas’ draft where I have a hard time figuring out how the Wings can keep any more players given their roster constraints. They have five protected veterans, the No. 5 pick, plus recent first-round selections Veronica Burton, Maddy Siegrist, Lou Lopez Sénéchal and Stephanie Soares. They can really only afford to carry 11, so the ninth pick will have to beat out Crystal Dangerfield, Emma Cannon and likely Odyssey Sims to make the final roster, let alone earn playing time.

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Even so, I’m mocking one of my favorite players in the country at this spot, because Dallas could still use some backcourt defense, and Jacy Sheldon is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. Like Reese, she always plays hard, even though she is at the top of Ohio State’s full-court press, a demanding defensive system. Sheldon has great anticipation in help defense and is shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers this season, including 41 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers. She might need to fill out a bit before becoming a true impact defender, but she’s well on her way to fulfilling the 3-and-D archetype.

10. Connecticut Sun

Alissa Pili | 6-2 forward | Utah

Alissa Pili might be the most unique high-level prospect in the last decade of the WNBA Draft, so why not put her next to the league’s most unique superstar in Alyssa Thomas? Thomas always needs more shooting around her, which Pili provides in spades. Meanwhile, Pili needs someone to cover for her defensive deficiencies, and Thomas can guard literally any position. A coach who is willing to experiment with lineup configurations as much as Stephanie White deserves to have another player who defies convention.

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11. New York Liberty

Nyadiew Puoch | 6-3 forward | Southside Flyers (Australia)

It’s hard to imagine this year’s first-round pick factoring into the Liberty’s rotation as New York contends for a title in 2024. As such, it makes sense for the Liberty to swing for the future and take Nyadiew Puoch, a 19-year-old forward out of Australia. Puoch has incredible physical gifts, including her length and athleticism. She’s raw overall and struggled to shoot in the WNBL this season, but her defense is at least further along than her offense. Even so, her potential makes her a worthy pick at this slot.

12. Atlanta Dream (from Las Vegas via Los Angeles)

Charisma Osborne | 5-9 guard | UCLA

If Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker hadn’t suffered an ACL injury, I would have tried to keep her in the first round. It’s possible that some team will still be enamored with her overall body of work and stash the point guard for one season while she recovers.

As it stands, Charisma Osborne enters the first round. The Dream lost some guard depth this offseason by trading away Aari McDonald (in the deal that netted them Canada and the No. 12 pick) and not re-signing Danielle Robinson or AD Durr. Those moves are entirely justifiable, but they leave Atlanta with some minutes to fill in the backcourt. Osborne would fit into the Dream’s defensive ethos on the perimeter. She could play off the ball since Atlanta’s wings are comfortable running the offense, and also be in a perfect position to learn the point guard ropes from her fellow UCLA Bruin, Canada.

Knocking on the door: Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, Adelaide Lightning’s Isabel Borlase (Australia WNBL), Colorado’s Jaylyn Sherrod

(Illustration: Sean Reilly / The Athletic, Photos of Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark and Cameron Brink: Andy Lyons / Getty Images, Candice Ward / Getty Images, John Byrum / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Sabreena Merchant is a women’s basketball Staff Writer for The Athletic. She previously covered the WNBA and NBA for SB Nation. Sabreena is an alum of Duke University, where she wrote for the independent student newspaper, The Chronicle. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow Sabreena on Twitter @sabreenajm

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