While the countdown to the 2021 WNBA draft continues Thursday (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN / ESPN app), the biggest question doesn’t focus on which player could be picked first. Texas Junior Charli Collier remains the planned number 1.
But with the Dallas Wings holding five of the first 13 picks and the deadline for pre-draft trades set at 5:00 p.m. ET Wednesday, could we see some movement ahead of the draft?
The other big question is which of the projected top three point guards will come first in the design. Aari McDonald of Arizona, Dana Evans of Louisville and Kiana Williams of Stanford all had strong seasons and were in the spotlight at the NCAA tournament, with Williams and McDonald playing in the championship game.
With the publication of the league’s schedule on Tuesday, the picture of the 2021 season continues to come into focus. It will be very difficult to make a WNBA roster on Thursday for a large number of drafts. But we’ll soon find out which players have the best chances and where.
1. Dallas Wings: Charli Collier, C, Texas
Collier finished the season averaging 19.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game while shooting 51.1% off the field. With Dallas’s need for more power in the interior, Collier is just the thing for you. As a draft-capable junior, she could have stayed in Texas for another season. But with the chance of first place, it makes sense for them to switch to the pro level. There will be a lot to learn and improve, but as she said ESPN’s Dave Wilson, “I’ve shown all my life that I can compete against the best of the best.”
2. Dallas Wings: Awak Kuier, PF, Finland
Like Collier, Kuier is 6-foot-5 with the ability to score in many ways and grew up as a model of her game after two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker. Kuier is only 19 years old and is scratching the surface of her talent. She currently plays professionally with Ragusa in Italy and knows she needs to get stronger for the WNBA. As Kuier Sean Hurd of The Undefeated said, “I like players who like to play hard against me. I know it will help me in the future.”
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3. Atlanta Dream: Arella Guirantes, SG, Rutgers
Guirantes is known for her scoring talent, but she’s also a good all-round player who should be able to step in and make an impact pretty quickly. She finished her senior season with an average of 21.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists. The Dream already has several offensive threats including Chennedy Carter who was # 4 last year, but another tax defender scorer could be a great addition for Atlanta.
4. Indiana Fever: Rennia Davis, SF, Tennessee
The Fever are still putting together what kind of team they’ll be in coach Marianne Stanley’s season two. But it seems like bringing in the 6-foot-2 Davis who is a multi-dimensional goalscorer and a good defender could be a benefit to the fever. She ended her senior season averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, but only shot 26% behind the bow, which she needs to improve.
5. Dallas Wings: Aari McDonald, PG, Arizona
Will Dallas choose a point guard here and if so, which one? McDonald ended their senior season averaging 20.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists with a national championship game. McDonald’s defense is top notch, but how will it do offensively without the ball? If Dallas thinks her speed, defense, and the stance she plays with are strong enough for her, the Wings could pick her.
6. New York Liberty: Dana Evans, PG, Louisville
The Liberty picked Sabrina Ionescu with their first pick last season, but they could take on another point guard this year. If Evans is still available, she could join three other Louisville players on the New York roster. Evans averaged 20.1 points and 3.9 assists that season. She had a strong result in the NCAA tournament with 29 points in a Sweet 16 win over Oregon and 24 points in an elite eight loss to Stanford.
7. Dallas Wings: Chelsea Dungee, SG, Arkansas
Dungee is a very good player and an elite goalscorer. But do the wings have a place for them? Do you even have a place for someone with this selection? How Dallas will manage its roster is still uncertain. But we know what Dungee can bring: her 22.3 PPG as a senior makes her difficult to miss – despite Dallas already having one of the league’s top scorers in Arike Ogunbowale.
8. Chicago Sky: Kiana Williams, PG, Stanford
If there’s one thing that seems almost certain in this draft, it’s that Chicago is interested in a backup point guard to play Courtney Vandersloot. Williams could be the answer. She won an NCAA title with Stanford and led the Cardinal in points (14.0 PPG), assists (3.1 per game) and minutes played (32.3 per game). She finished her college career with the program’s top 311 3-pointers.
9. Minnesota Lynx: Michaela Onyenwere, SF, UCLA
Onyenwere needs to improve her guard skills in the WNBA, but she is aware of this and has worked on it. That includes her 3 point shot. Onyenwere, a 6-foot tall tweener with an average height of 19.1 points and 7.2 rebounds as a senior, doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly into a WNBA leaving college position. But she has a great engine and could step in to give the Lynx the physicality it needs once she gets used to the professional game.
10. Los Angeles Sparks: Jasmine Walker, PF, Alabama
Walker needs to adapt faster at the pro level. But she’s a very good shot and then adds her height at 6-foot-3. She averaged 19.1 PPG and 9.4 RPG that season, and was 78 out of 196 behind the arch (39.8%). She might not be exactly what the Sparks are looking for, but Walker could be the best player available right now.
11. Seattle Storm: DiJonai Carrington, SG, Baylor
Carrington averaged 14.1 points and 4.9 rebounds for Baylor and played really well in the NCAA tournament. The storm lost the defensive Alysha Clark to the free hand. The 5-foot-11 Carrington, who often played the defensive stopper for Baylor last season, could potentially help fill that void for the defending champions while scoring a goal.
12. Las Vegas Aces: Natasha Mack, PF, Oklahoma State
It’s not fair to compare a newbie to Natasha Howard, an important part of the last two championships in Seattle, which is now with New York. But maybe Mack has some Howard-like characteristics. Mack is slightly taller at 6-foot-4, and with her long wingspan, she’s been the Division I leader in blocked shots this season (112, 4.0 per game). As a senior, she averaged 19.8 points and 12.4 rebounds, and her defensive skills could make her a good fit for Las Vegas.
13. Dallas Wings: Iliana Rupert, C, France
14. Las Vegas Aces: Destiny Slocum, PG, Arkansas
15. Atlanta Dream: Unique Thompson, PF, Auburn
16. Chicago Sky: Lindsey Pulliam, SG, Northwest
17. New York Freedom: Janelle Bailey, C, North Carolina
18. Seattle Storm: Shyla Heal, PG, Australia
19. Indiana Fever: Chelsey Perry, PF, UT Martin
20. Connecticut Sun: Stephanie Watts, SG, North Carolina
21. Connecticut Sun: Ivana Raca, SF, Wake Forest
22. Los Angeles Sparks: DiDi Richards, PG, Baylor
23. Seattle Storm: Raquel Carrera, PF, Spain
24. Indiana Fever: Ciera Johnson, C, Texas A & M.
25. New York Liberty: Aleah Goodman, SG, State of Oregon
26. Indiana Fever: Selena Lott, PG, Marquette
27. Atlanta Dream: Tiana Mangakahia, PG, Syracuse
28. Los Angeles Sparks: Aaliyah Wilson, SG, Texas A & M.
29. New York Liberty: Kysre Gondrezick, PG, West Virginia
30. Connecticut Sun: Jenn Wirth, PF, Gonzaga
31. Indiana Fever: N’dea Jones, PF, Texas A & M.
32. Phoenix Mercury: Natalie Kucowski, PF, Lafayette
33. Indiana Fever: Valerie Higgins, SF, Pacific
34. Los Angeles Sparks: Sierra Campisano, PF, Cal Poly
35.Seattle Storm: Trinity Baptiste, SF, Arizona
36. Las Vegas Aces: Micaela Kelly, PG, Central Michigan