2013 WNBA Draft: Latest Buzz and First-Round Projections

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2013

Mar 26, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears center Brittney Griner (42) speaks to the media after the game against the Florida State Seminoles during the second round of the 2013 NCAA womens basketball tournament at the Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Brittney Griner Sweepstakes, otherwise known as the 2013 WNBA draft, begins Monday night.

There have been few drafts in any sport that are as predictable as this one in terms of who the first overall pick will be. It's going to be Griner.

As such, the Baylor Lady Bears center has been able to plan accordingly.

Scott Gleeson of USA Today covered exactly what Griner will be wearing for the draft tonight, which is a white suit with a little bit of orange. Orange just so happens to be one of the colors for the Phoenix Mercury, who have the first pick.

After Griner, it's a choice between Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne. These three stars have helped to give more attention to women's basketball than has been seen in recent years.

Paul Pabst of The Dan Patrick Show summed up the situation well:

There has been some movement already on the trade front today. The New York Liberty confirmed a trade sending Quanitra Hollingsworth to the Washington Mystics for a third-round pick:

The trade is relatively small potatoes to the selection of Griner, Diggins and Delle Donne, but it could impact how the draft plays out.

Here is a mock for how the first round may unfold.

First-Round Projections

1. Phoenix Mercury: Brittney Griner, C, Baylor

It's going out on a limb, I know, but Griner could very well go with the top overall pick.

In all seriousness, Griner is a lock for the top spot. There's no chance the Phoenix Mercury go with any other player.

Griner is truly a once-in-a-lifetime player. Her game has grown by leaps and bounds over her college career, and she has gone beyond just being a giant presence to using her height to complement her superior basketball skills.

Putting her together with Diana Taurasi immediately makes the Mercury contenders.

2. Chicago Sky: Elena Delle Donne, F, Delaware

This pick is going to come down to either Diggins or Delle Donne. The Chicago Sky don't have a pressing need at point guard, so Delle Donne is the smarter pick.

She's been a bit overshadowed by Griner, but Delle Donne can become a great player at the next level. The Delaware Blue Hens star has a fantastic set of size and range. Even at 6'5", you could see Delle Donne shift to guard if the situation warrants it.

3. Tulsa Shock: Skylar Diggins, G, Notre Dame

The Tulsa Shock's consolation for losing out on Griner and Della Donne is Diggins. That's not a bad haul. Most other years, Diggins would be a lock for the No. 1 pick.

She's a balanced combination of playmaker and scorer. Defenses can't sag off to try to stop her from finding the open player/driving to the basket, or else Diggins will feast on open shots. That perimeter shooting is vital to Tulsa considering how much it needs a threat from behind the arc.

4. Washington Mystics: Tianna Hawkins, F, Maryland

The Washington Mystics need a player who can work in the post. It's likely going to be either Tianna Hawkins of Kelsey Bone.

Even though she's a bit smaller than Bone, Hawkins will get the edge here. Along with being a solid rebounder, she is also a very good scorer. Hawkins' offensive game has really improved over the past couple of years, and that's going to impress scouts.

5. New York Liberty: Kelsey Bone, C, Texas A&M

Bone is one of the strongest players in this draft. She has the size and physical tools to be able to handle some of the best post players in the league.

The Liberty could use a strong rebounder, and Bone excels in that area. She averaged 9.3 boards a game last season. With two picks in such close proximity, the Liberty have a wealth of options here.

6. Seattle Storm: Tayler Hill, G, Ohio State

A scorer like Tayler Hill is a great fit for the Seattle Storm. She's averaged 20-plus points a game the past two seasons.

Far from being just an offensive specialist, Hill is also a good defender. She won't have any problems dealing with Brian Agler's emphasis on that end of the floor.

7. New York Liberty: Layshia Clarendon, G, California

With a post player already taken care of, New York can target the scorer it is lacking. Hill would be the best option, but with her off the board, Layshia Clarendon is a solid prospect.

There's a bit of risk here because it wasn't until the NCAA tournament until Clarendon really shined. She can become a great scorer in the league if she continues to improve at the pace she has over the last few months.

8. San Antonio Silver Stars: Toni Young, F, Oklahoma State

The paint is a problem area for the San Antonio Silver Stars. Drafting Toni Young would make that problem disappear.

Young averaged a double-double last season (16.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG). She's a very good post player who will only continue to grow as she gets more experience in the league.

9. Indiana Fever: Kelly Faris, G, Connecticut

It's hard to see where the WNBA champions would need drastic improvement. With so few draft needs, the Indiana Fever have the luxury of taking player and letting her develop over the years.

Kelly Faris has plenty of big-game experience, having played in three Final Fours. She's also a fantastic perimeter defender, averaging 2.5 steals a game last year.

10. Los Angeles Sparks: Kayla Alexander, C, Syracuse

The Los Angeles Sparks will simply look to the best player available. Kayla Alexander is not only talented, but she also gives the Sparks some help in the frontcourt.

Alexander is a monster on the defensive end. She blocked 2.9 shots a game last year. Far from just a one-dimensional player, Alexander averaged 17.7 points as well.

11. Connecticut Sun: Carolyn Davis, F, Kansas

While not the best post player on the board, Carolyn Davis should be exactly what the Connecticut Sun are after in the first round. She's not the biggest nor the strongest, but Davis uses her size well in the paint.

12. Minnesota Lynx: A'dia Mathies, G, Kentucky

The Minnesota Lynx need a point guard. Not necessarily a star, rather one the team can be confident in calling upon. There will be plenty of options for this pick. It's A'dia Mathies who will get the edge.


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