The 2013 WNBA draft was Monday night on prime-time television, and the stars like Brittney Griner that will make an instant impact at the next level found their long-term homes.
The "Three to See"—Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins—were the cream of the crop this year, and each will make the transition to the WNBA look easy by dominating their respective positions.
These three star players were drafted to save a franchise, and each will have an instant impact on their new team.
1. Phoenix Mercury: Brittney Griner, C, Baylor
The Phoenix Mercury (7-27) were the worst team in the Western Conference and in the WNBA overall, but the addition of a game-changer like former Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner will change the culture of the team.
Griner will walk into the WNBA and be arguably the best low-post player in the league from Day 1; that advantage will make the Mercury perennial contenders.
While there is always a chance that Griner could struggle with the transition from college to the pros, she has too much raw talent, size and skill to not dominate any league she plays in.
Add in the fact that Griner could be the spark that veteran Diana Taurasi needs to return to her elite form, and there is a chance the Mercury complete one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in WNBA history.
2. Chicago Sky: Elena Delle Donne, F, Delaware
The Chicago Sky (14-20) were not too far off the pace of the rest of the WNBA, and the addition of former Delaware Blue Hens forward Elena Delle Donne is the kind of move that can turn the team into serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Delle Donne is one of the most gifted all-around athletes to enter the WNBA in years, as the 6’5” forward is just as skilled passing the ball and shooting it as she is roughing her way through the low post.
That kind of versatility and willingness to move the ball when needed or take the shot makes Delle Donne a unique player, and coupled with the outside shooting of guard Epiphanny Prince, the Sky will be tough to beat in 2013.
3. Tulsa Shock: Skylar Diggins, G, Notre Dame
Another team in desperate need for a game-changer in the draft was the Tulsa Shock (9-25), and they found one in the best guard of the 2013 class, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins.
The Shock are predicated on defensive play, and while Diggins has the speed and talent to shine in her own zone, it will be when the team enters the offensive end that the point guard's talents will truly be felt.
Diggins is an offensive juggernaut.
Tulsa had an anemic offense at times last year, but with her elite perimeter shooting, and her ability to find an open teammate via pass or drive to the rim when the opportunity presents itself, Diggins will help turn the Shock’s offense into one of the league's most feared.