2012 WNBA Draft: L.A. Sparks and Teams That Helped Themselves Most

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterApril 17, 2012

PALO ALTO, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Nnemkadi Ogwumike #30 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after making a basket against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers at Maples Pavilion on December 20, 2011 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2012 WNBA Draft may have been one of the weakest in recent memory, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any talent to be had.

Those hoping to land the likes of Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins will have to wait until 2013, though these three teams did plenty to improve themselves in the meantime.


Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks parlayed the league's fourth-worst record into the one surefire star in this year's draft class, Nnemkadi Ogwumike. The 6'2" forward guided Stanford to the Final Four during each of her four seasons in Palo Alto, the last of which saw her average 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds.

She'll join forces with former All-Stars Candace Parker, Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones to form the core of a team that, under first-year head coach Carol Ross, has the talent to contend for the WNBA title this season.


Atlanta Dream

DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Tiffany Hayes #3 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts in the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Dream didn't need to do much in the draft this year, not after reaching back-to-back WNBA Finals behind the frontcourt stylings of Angel McCoughtry and Courtney Paris.

Of course, that didn't stop Atlanta from upgrading anyway. GM/head coach Marynell Meadors went out and nabbed Tiffany Hayes, a high-scoring guard out of UConn, with the 14th overall pick. Hayes should give the Dream a solid boost in their back court and a legitimate chance to make sure that their third run at the title is, indeed, a charm.


Washington Mystics

DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Natalie Novosel #21 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drives in the first half against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Mystics had plenty of work to do to upgrade their roster after an abysmal 6-28 season, and didn't wait around to do just that in the 2012 draft. Head coach Trudy Lacy picked up Notre Game guard Natalie Novosel with the eighth overall pick and added LSU guard-forward LaSondra Barrett at No. 10.

Novosel figures to add depth to DC's thin group of guards while Barrett will bolster just about every spot on the roster with her versatile skill set and ability to play all five positions on both ends of the floor.