2020 WNBA Mock Draft: Analyzing Elite Prospects and Hidden Gems

Theo SalaunContributor IIIApril 12, 2020

South Carolina forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (21) celebrates a three pointer against Vanderbilt during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
Sean Rayford/Associated Press

The 2020 WNBA draft will take place virtually Friday. But unlike the draft's location, the 2020 class is the real deal.

You have a generational No. 1 pick going to one of the world's biggest markets, some high-upside archetypes fit for the modern game and a few steady producers ready to make their marks in traditional roles. Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, who will be drafted by the New York Liberty, is an obvious first pick—but the draft then becomes relatively murky.

We've produced a mock of the first round and taken a look at both ends of 2020's top players.

For elite prospects, we analyze both Ionescu and teammate Satou Sabally. For hidden gems, we examine South Carolina's Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and West Virginia's Tynice Martin—who each have tremendous, first-round upside despite much lower projections from most analysts.

                               

2020 WNBA Mock Draft

1. New York Liberty: Sabrina Ionescu, G, Oregon

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2. Dallas Wings: Satou Sabally, F, Oregon

3. Indiana Fever: Lauren Cox, C, Baylor

4. Atlanta Dream: Chennedy Carter, G, Texas A&M

5. Dallas Wings: Megan Walker, F, Connecticut

6. Minnesota Lynx: Crystal Dangerfield, G, Connecticut

7. Dallas Wings: Tyasha Harris, G, South Carolina

8. Chicago Sky: Beatrice Mompremier, C, Miami

9. Dallas Wings: Bella Alarie, F, Princeton

10. Phoenix Mercury: Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F, South Carolina

11. Seattle Storm: Te'a Cooper, G, Baylor

12. Washington Mystics: Ruthy Hebard, F, Oregon

                           

Top Prospects

Sabrina Ionescu, G, Oregon

One of the best college basketball players ever is going to land on a rapidly rebuilding New York roster playing its first games in Barclays Center. The Liberty are back in the Big Apple, and they bring with them a foundational cornerstone.

Ionescu is college basketball's all-time leader in career triple-doubles; the only college basketball player to ever record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds; a three-time Nancy Lieberman Award winner; a two-time John R. Wooden award winner; a two-time Wade Trophy winner; and 2020's Naismith Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year and USBWA Player of the Year.

She averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 2019-20 on a 51.8 percent clip from the field, 39.2 from three and a blistering 91.1 from the line. She is a tough, physical point guard who is as built for leadership as she is for knocking down saucy stepbacks and dropping dazzling dimes.

Ionescu is in a tier of her own.

                      

Satou Sabally, F, Oregon

There are some archetypal wings in the 2020 class, but Sabally is the most likely to follow the road paved by Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart.

Sabally averaged 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 2019-20 while knocking down 46.4 percent of her shots, 33.8 percent of her threes and 79.2 of her free throws. Her coach describes her play as "poetry in motion." It's easy to see why.

At 6'4", Sabally is regularly one of the longest players on the floor yet still possesses a comfortable handle and dangerous deep ball. Her size and skills create immediate mismatches, and she has the fluidity to quickly take advantage of those opportunities.

"I'm a guard and a post and a 4...everything." Sabally's self-assessment, per Pac-12's Michelle Smith, summarizes why she may have the highest ceiling of this entire draft and is a perfect pick for the Wings at No. 2.

                       

Hidden Gems

Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, F, South Carolina

Mismatched shoes, rolled up shorts and aggression—on both sides of the floor. Herbert Harrigan has got the juice. 

Some mocks have her going toward the end of the first round. Some don't have her getting drafted until the middle of the second. But she is a perfect fit for modern basketball and an excellent upside pick at the end of the first for a newly healthy Mercury team with big playoff hopes.

Herbert Harrigan is 6'2" and slams that length on to the table—and into opponents' faces—when she has guests over in the paint. For much of her college career, that was the calling card: loud, in-your-face defense.

But her offensive game is coming along at a noteworthy pace. She brings a certain mojo that is best embodied by a play against Vanderbilt in which she broke someone's ankles on the fast break and immediately glided into a mid-range leaning jumper.

When asked about it, she kept things simple: "I knew she had fell. So I was open. So I shot it."

And juxtaposed against her floored opponents, it's simple to see Herbert Harrigan's ceiling too. She has nearly doubled her three-point attempts in every season as a Gamecock, and in 2019-20 she made 43.5 percent of her 46 attempts.

A long, aggressive wing who can smite shot attempts and knock down treys with a pure form? That's Sabally upside at the end of the first.

                             

Tynice Martin, G, West Virginia

There's enough conversation about the players in our first-round mock out there. There's not enough about Martin, who is similar to Herbert Harrigan in that she plays so fearlessly you would think she was a consensus No. 1 pick.

Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State's outstanding guard, was a close consideration here—but Martin's intriguing ceiling warrants discussion. The West Virginia guard averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season but shot a horrible 36.6 percent from the field and an unlovable 29.0 percent from deep.

But when her shots did fall, the buckets were marvelous. And taking into account her 86.2 percent rate on free throws, Martin could surely be much more effective with the space and improved shot selection of a professional offense.

At 5'11", Martin is an imposing spark plug with a quick trigger and a hunger to pull up in your face no matter the circumstances. That can be unideal since mid-range jumpers aren't bastions of efficiency, but those tendencies can at least be coached away.

What is harder to coach is the natural ability to hit defenders with a triple-threat jab step, a pullback or the shimmy on the dribble—Martin's three most potent moves. Combining the eye test, an 86.2 percent free-throw rate and how much her coach, Mike Carey, clearly appreciates her effort level, it's understandable why the guard's talents could become more effective at the professional level.