The WNBA draft featured some surprises early and some steals late as every team tried to set themselves up for the future.
Kelsey Plum was the obvious choice as the No. 1 overall pick to the San Antonio Stars. However, the rest of the draft was set up to be a mystery with varied opinion throughout the league. While it will be some time before we know which picks were the best, there was plenty of drama Thursday night.
Here are the full results from the draft in New York City:
|2017 WNBA Draft Results|
|1||San Antonio Stars||Kelsey Plum||Washington|
|2||Chicago Sky||Alaina Coates||South Carolina|
|3||Dallas Wings||Evelyn Akhator||Kentucky|
|4||Dallas Wings||Allisha Gray||South Carolina|
|5||San Antonio Stars||Nia Coffey||Northwestern|
|6||Washington Mystics||Shatori Walker-Kimbrough||Maryland|
|7||Atlanta Dream||Brittney Sykes||Syracuse|
|8||Connecticut Sun||Brionna Jones||Maryland|
|9||Chicago Sky||Tori Jankoska||Michigan State|
|10||Dallas Wings||Kaela Davis||South Carolina|
|11||Los Angeles Sparks||Sydney Wiese||Oregon State|
|12||Minnesota Lynx||Alexis Jones||Baylor|
|13||Connecticut Sun||Shayla Cooper||Ohio State|
|14||New York Liberty||Lindsay Allen||Notre Dame|
|15||Seattle Storm||Alexis Peterson||Syracuse|
|16||Connecticut Sun||Leticia Romero||Florida State|
|17||Indiana Fever||Erica McCall||Stanford|
|18||Washington Mystics||Jennie Simms||Old Dominion|
|19||Atlanta Dream||Jordan Reynolds||Tennessee|
|20||Indiana Fever||Feyonda Fitzgerald||Temple|
|21||Chicago Sky||Chantel Osahor||Washington|
|22||Indiana Fever||Ronni Williams||Florida|
|23||Dallas Wings||Breanna Lewis||Kansas State|
|24||Minnesota Lynx||Lisa Berkani||France|
|25||San Antonio Stars||Schaquilla Nunn||Tennessee|
|26||Dallas Wings||Saniya Chong||Connecticut|
|27||Washington Mystics||Mehryn Kraker||Wisconsin Green-Bay|
|28||Connecticut Sun||Jessica January||DePaul|
|29||Phoenix Mercury||Alexis Prince||Baylor|
|30||Seattle Storm||Lanay Montgomery||West Virginia|
|31||Atlanta Dream||Oderah Chidom||Duke|
|32||Indiana Fever||Adrienne Motley||Miami (Fl.)|
|33||Chicago Sky||Makayla Epps||Kentucky|
|34||New York Liberty||Kai James||Florida State|
|35||Los Angeles Sparks||Saicha Grant-Allen||Dayton|
|36||Minnesota Lynx||Tahlia Tupaea||Australia|
Plum was the clear top choice as the all-time leading scorer in women's college basketball history. The WNBA account captured the announcement:
Legend @dawnstaley announces @Kelseyplum10 as the No. 1 pick! #WDraft17 https://t.co/oxPou2Arbo2017-4-13 23:50:02
"When I was 10 years old, I told my mom I want to play in the WNBA," Plum told ESPN, per the Seattle Times.
The Washington guard averaged 31.7 points per game this past season and scored 3,527 points in her career, a scoring rate that could continue at the next level.
While the pick was expected, plenty were ready to react after the move became official:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Kelsey Plum just went No. 1 in the WNBA Draft. Reminder: she gets buckets 🔥 https://t.co/4jBsiJFJgT2017-4-14 00:34:14
Markelle Fultz @MarkelleF
So proud of you, you deserve it and I can't wait to see you kill in the WNBA @Kelseyplum10 #F2G 😈2017-4-13 23:18:31
Kayla McBride @kaymac_2123
@Kelseyplum10 so excited to have you!!! can't wait to see what gets going when we get on the court together!!! enjoy your moment!!! #1 😊❤😊2017-4-13 23:58:21
A pair of South Carolina stars were also taken in the top five in Alaina Coates and Allisha Gray. Kaela Davis was taken with the 10th overall pick to give the national champions three picks in the top 10, even with A'Ja Wilson returning to school.
Although Coates suffered an ankle injury and wasn't active for the team's impressive postseason run, she is a serious professional prospect thanks to her size and ability in the post.
The Chicago Sky acquired the No. 2 pick from the Washington Mystics while dealing away former MVP Elena Delle Donne, and will hope Coates can help fill the huge void.
One of the team's veterans, Tamera Young, sent a message of support:
Tamera Young @tyoung11
Welcome to Chicago Alaina Coates 🤗2017-4-13 23:21:13
Coates also discussed her injury after being selected, via ESPN Women's Hoops:
ESPN Women's Hoops @ESPN_WomenHoop
Alaina Coates on injury: "I have a couple more weeks in a cast, then I'll go to my doctor and we'll see where we'll go from there."2017-4-13 23:20:30
There was a bit more surprise at No. 3 with the selection of Evelyn Akhator out of Kentucky. The forward had been a bit overlooked by players on more successful teams, but still has upside for her WNBA career.
Adam Grosbard of the Dallas Morning News described the value in this pick for the Dallas Wings:
Adam Grosbard @AdamGrosbard
As a senior, Evelyn Akhator averaged a double-double for Kentucky. Dallas Wings needed some rebounding help2017-4-13 23:32:03
Maryland players Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones were taken with the No. 6 and No. 8 picks of the first round, respectively. Walker-Kimbrough will have a shorter relocation to the Washington Mystics, although Jones could be a steal thanks to her efficiency around the hoop after leading the NCAA in shooting percentage the last two seasons.
The round continued with guards Tori Jankowski, Davis, Sydney Wiese and Alexis Jones going in order, all capable of making an early impact, even with plenty of talent already on the rosters that took them.
The second round was all about the point guards with Lindsay Allen, Alexis Peterson and Leticia Romero going in order.
Peterson might be the most notable prospect as the ACC Player of the Year who excelled as both a scorer and passer in her Syracuse career. She also made history with her selection alongside Brittney Sykes, per Brian Higgins of Syracuse IMG Sports:
Brian Higgins @BrianHigginsSU
This marks the 1st time ever @CuseWBB has multiple WNBA draft picks. Brittney @Sykes_20: 7th to Atlanta Alexis Peterson: 15th to Seattle2017-4-14 00:18:36
Erica McCall could also be a steal after leading Stanford to the Final Four this season.
Among the third-round picks, Alexis Prince of Baylor has a chance to provide the Phoenix Mercury with some value in the team's only pick of the night.
The players from all three rounds will now try to make an impact in the WNBA and prove they are worth their draft status when the season begins on May 13.