2012 WNBA Draft Grades: Report Card for Every Team

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 16, 2012

2012 WNBA Draft Grades: Report Card for Every Team

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    The 2012 WNBA draft has concluded, and it's time to hand out grades to every team involved.

    This year's draft class was considered to be weak, and after Nnemkadi Ogwumike, nobody really stood out as an elite player. 

    This made for tough sledding as far as speculation was concerned, and as such, there were a few surprise picks along the way.

    Here are your WNBA draft grades.

Atlanta Dream

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    The Dream didn't have a first-round pick. 

    They made up for it when they selected guard Tiffany Hayes out of Connecticut in the second round.

    Hayes is an efficient shooter and a natural scorer, and I don't think it's out of the question to think she might crack the starting lineup in her rookie year for the Dream.

    Atlanta finally selected again late in the third round. With the 32nd-overall pick, it took center Isabelle Yacoubou from France. This is an interesting choice to say the least.

    Yacoubou doesn't play many minutes in Europe, and I don't know what the Dream expect from her once she joins them this summer. 

     

    Grade: C+

Chicago Sky

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    The Sky had to wait until the bottom of the second round to make their first selection.

    With the 23rd-overall pick, the Sky selected guard Shey Peddy out of Temple University. 

    Petty is a tough, athletic player who excels at defense and is a playmaker on offense. She is better at setting up her teammates than scoring on her own, making her a perfect choice for Chicago.

    The Sky selected guard Sydney Carter out of Texas A&M with the 27th-overall pick. 

    Carter is a high-energy combo guard who runs a fast break better than anyone in the draft. She is a relentless defender who loves to run a fast-paced offense. 

    Carter is fast. Really fast. She has the potential to become an elite player in a few years time and is another solid pick for the Sky.

     

    Grade: B+

Connecticut Sun

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    The Sun selected the first international player in the draft when they took Astan Dabo, the big center from Mali, Africa. She has been playing in France.

    Dabo is a project, but over the course of the next few years, she could become one of the league's dominant centers and should be someone to help Connecticut compete against Brittney Griner when she comes into the league next year.

    You can't fault the Sun for taking a project player here. They don't have any needs, and in my mind, it's a smart play for the future.

    Connecticut had the 21st-overall pick, and with that pick, it took center Chay Shegog out of North Carolina.

    Shegog is an interior scorer that has excellent size. She will struggle against the better centers in the WNBA, though, as strength is an asset she needs to improve upon.

    It's interesting that the Sun have selected two centers in a row. Yes, they need to get better at that position, but in my mind, they should have gone in a different direction with one of those picks.

     

    Grade: C

Indiana Fever

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    The Fever needed to address the front court, and with the 11th-overall pick, they did just that when they took center Sasha Goodlett out of Georgia Tech.

    Goodlett is a balanced center who can score as well as block shots and hit the boards. She will give the Fever a presence inside that has been lacking for a couple of years.

    She could start as a rookie and is a good choice here at the end of the first round.

    It was a long wait from their first pick to the next, but finally, the Fever selected forward Courtney Hurt out of VCU with the 34th-overall pick.

    Hurt is a dominant rebounder in the paint. She led the nation in rebounds and double-doubles while coming in second in scoring during the 2010-2011 season (H/T VCUAthletics.com). 

    She has tremendous upside and is one of the biggest steals in the draft.

     

    Grade: A-

Los Angeles Sparks

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    The Sparks surprised nobody when they took Nnemkadi Ogwumike with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 WNBA draft.

    Ogwumike is easily the best player in her class. She is an all-around phenom, possessing elite skills as a shooter, a passer and as a rebounder. 

    Ogwumike gives the Sparks another talented player to pair with Candace Parker, and the team looks to be on their way back up next year.

    The Sparks selected the first Swede to ever play in the WNBA, Farhiya Abdi.

    Abdi is a 19-year-old, 6'2" guard prospect who has been playing in Europe, and to be honest, nobody knows much about her. Via eurobasketwomen2011.com; here is her latest profile.

    The Sparks didn't have to wait long for their next pick, and with the 15th-overall pick, they selected Khadijah Rushdan out of Rutgers.

    Rushdan gives the Sparks a strong, tough guard who can defend anyone out on the perimeter. She is adept at running the floor and provides them with depth and skill.

    The very next pick goes right back to Los Angeles, and with it, it selected another guard. Tyra White out of Texas A&M is a defensive specialist who isn't afraid to mix it up down low. 

    The Spark will have some fierce competition for playing time in their back court, and it shouldn't be long before they find themselves among the best teams in the league once again.

    Los Angeles picked again in the middle of the third round and selected guard April Sykes out of Rutgers. 

    Sykes is a big guard that can play in the post as well as step behind the arc to shoot threes. She gives the Sparks more diversity for their increasingly-loaded back court.

    She was the fourth guard in a row selected by the Sparks, and every single one of them have been defense-oriented. 

    Carol Ross is obviously making defense her first priority next year.

     

    Grade: B

Minnesota Lynx

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    The Lynx had the luxury of taking the best player available after winning the 2011 championship.

    With the third-overall pick, they surprised me by taking Devereaux Peters out of Notre Dame. She is a defensive specialist who will help out on the boards.

    Peters will fit in nicely within the lineup of the Lynx, but I didn't have her going until the end of first round, making this selection a big stretch at the top of the draft. 

    The Lynx had two first-round picks, and with the 12th-overall pick, selected the second international player in the draft: Damiris Dantas from Brazil.

    Dantas is extremely raw. At 6'4", she should become a good post player for the Lynx given the time to develop. She won't see any time on the court in 2012 unless the Lynx suffer a rash of injuries.

    With the 18th-overall pick, the Lynx took forward Julie Wojta out of Green Bay. 

    Wojta was an elite scorer playing in the mid-majors. She is also versatile with the ball in her hands. She can make assists, rebound, steal the ball and get her shot off anywhere on the court.

    I speculate that Wojta was actually selected to trade after the draft. If she stays on, it will be tough to see how she'll get much playing time on the talented Lynx roster.

    Minnesota also had the 19th-overall pick. WIth that pick, it selected Kayla Standish out of Gonzaga. 

    Standish is a guard/forward combo player than can play on the perimeter as well as in the post. She is diverse and should compete for some playing time off the bench.

    Minnesota picked three straight times in the second round, and with the 20th-overall selection, it picked Nika Baric, international guard from Russia.

    The Lynx are setting up for some crazy competition in camp at the guard position, and it will be interesting to see how many of these players actually end up on the opening day roster.

    Minnesota picked up yet another guard in the third round when it selected Jacki Gemelos out of USC. 

    Gemelos is a sharp-shooter from the perimeter and was widely considered to be one of the best guards in the nation before knee injuries derailed her career early on. If she can stay healthy, she has an outside chance to make the roster in 2012.

     

    Grade: C-

New York Liberty

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    The Liberty only had two picks in this year's draft. 

    With the seventh-overall pick, they selected Kelley Cain out of Tennessee. This is a huge risk, as Cain didn't even play in college last year due to knee problems.

    She is 6'6" and can play down low, but Cain shouldn't have been selected this high. There is a big chance she'll turn out to be a bust, and at best, she should have been a late second-round choice.

    With the final pick of the 2012 WNBA draft, the Liberty selected guard Katelan Redmon out of Gonzaga.

    Redmon is a scorer who's better off inside the arc than behind it. She plays big and can contribute in other ways; she is adept at getting steals and using her instincts and hops to snag rebounds over taller women.

     

    Grade: D

Phoenix Mercury

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    The Mercury scored big by landing the best point guard in the draft when they took Samantha Prahalis with the sixth-overall pick.

    Prahalis is an elite floor general. She broke the Big Ten assists record this past year (H/T The Columbus Dispatch) and is also an adept scorer from the perimeter.

    This is a perfect match, as the Mercury were in need of a true point guard to run their high-powered, fast-paced offense.

    Phoenix didn't pick again until the end of the second round.

    With the 24th-overall pick, the Mercury took guard C'eira Ricketts out of Arkansas. Ricketts isn't high on most draft boards, but head coach Corey Gaines loves her game.

    Per WNBA.com:

    I think the guard from Arkansas fits our system, Gaines said of Ricketts. She definitely is fast, but of course, our system is different than other people’s systems, so you really can’t go on that. It’s one of those things where someone else’s -- excuse the language -- trash, is a man’s treasure.

    This sets up an interesting battle between Prahalis and Ricketts in training camp that will be interesting to track.

    The Mercury had two picks in the third round. With their first—the 30th-overall pick—they selected forward Christine Flores from Missouri.

    Flores was a good scorer in college who can also rebound. She should compete for a roster spot, though I'd wager to say she'll be looking for work at the end of training camp.

    Phoenix's second third-round pick—the 33rd overall—was used to select forward Amanda Johnson out of Oregon. 

    Johnson is known for being a student-athlete who has excelled in both arenas. She is an excellent scoring forward who also crashes the boards with enthusiasm. 

     

    Grade: B+

San Antonio Silver Stars

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    The Silver Stars may have gotten the steal of the first round when they landed Shenise Johnson, the diverse forward out of Miami. It's a good thing too, because they didn't pick again.

    Johnson should be able to come right in and be a big contributor for the Silver Stars.

    She will be more of a guard/forward combo and play on the perimeter on the WNBA, but her ability to post up smaller players will make Johnson a matchup nightmare for opposing teams.

    One of Johnson's best attributes is her ability to read opposing offenses, get into their passing lanes and steal the ball. 

    Per WNBA.com, she averaged 3.1 steals per game during her college career.

     

    Grade: A

Seattle Storm

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    The Storm acquired the No. 2 overall pick in a trade that sent two players and their 23rd-overall pick to the Chicago Sky.

    With that pick, they selected Shekinna Stricklen, the guard out of Tennessee. 

    This is a good selection for them, as Stricklen can play positions one through four on the court at any given time. At 6'2", she is a great shooter who can also rebound well for a guard. 

    The Storm next picked late in the second round. With the 22nd-overall pick, they selected forward Keisha Hampton out of DePaul University.

    Hampton is coming off of a knee injury, and it's not yet known if she will be available to play this summer.

    Injury notwithstanding, Hampton should be a good player for the Storm once she's fully healthy.

     

    Grade: B-

Tulsa Shock

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    The Shock didn't shock anyone when they selected Glory Johnson out of Tennessee.

    Johnson is a talented forward that won the 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Year award. She can score down low and is an instinctive rebounder who can also block shots with the best of them. 

    Johnson is a relentless competitor, and she'll give the front court of the Shock a tremendous boost this upcoming season.

    The Shock made another great choice in the second round when they took guard Riquana Williams out of Miami. I had WIlliams as a mid to late first-round pick, so taking her in the middle of the second round is a huge steal.

    She is a pure shooter who can also distribute. She isn't tall, at 5'8", but she is an elite athlete who can jump over much taller guards to drain jumpers. Look for her to light up the scoreboards from the get-go as a rookie for the Shock.

    Tulsa made another smart choice at the top of the third round when they selected Vicki Baugh out of Tennessee. Baugh was the fourth player taken out of Tennessee in this year's draft.

    Baugh is a physical player who can shoot from range as well as post up inside. She is a tremendous defender and could have been taken much higher in the draft.

    The Shock selected center Lynetta Kizer from the University of Maryland with the 29th-overall pick. 

    Kizer was the last woman left in the room who'd been invited to the draft. She could have easily been taken in the late first round, and the Shock are committing a felony by stealing her this low in the draft.

    She is a low-post scorer that can also step back and hit jumpers from the elbow. Kizer had over 10 rebounds per game last year at Maryland, and she has a fantastic chance to make the Shock's roster in 2012 and could even crack the starting roster.

     

    Grade: A+

Washington Mystics

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    The Mystics smartly took Natalie Novosel, the shooting guard out of Notre Dame, with the eighth-overall pick.

    Novosel is a tough player on the perimeter who will score in bunches and plays scrappy defense. She should be a contributor off the bench in her first year, but she could find her way into the starting lineup with a strong push.

    Washington had two first-round selections, and with the 10th-overall pick, they took LaSondra Barrett out of LSU.

    I had Barrett as the sixth-best player on the board, so she is a steal here at the bottom of the first round.

    She is an extremely diverse player, and during her time at LSU, she played all five positions on the court. Barrett has good shooting range and can post up just about any player on the court. She rocks the boards and can make plays with the ball in her hands. 

    Washington's next selection came early in the third round. With the 26th-overall pick, they selected point guard Angelina Barrett out of the University of Maryland. 

    She was a leader for the Terrapins, but Barrett will need to get into better shape if she hopes to keep up with the fast pace of the WNBA.

    The Mystics had one final pick at the bottom of the third round, and with the 35th-overall pick, they selected guard Briana Gilbreath out of USC.

    Gilbreath is a good all-around player who can play inside and out. She's a long shot to make the the 2012 opening day roster, but at the very least, she can give Washington a heck of a camp player.

     

    Grade: B+