2024 WNBA mock draft: Where will Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso land?

Dự thảo mô phỏng WNBA 2024: Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese và Kamilla Cardoso sẽ hạ cánh ở đâu?

The 2023-24 college season featured more star power than any in recent memory, and the good news for WNBA fans is that many of those players will be back on the court quickly.

The 2024 WNBA Draft is on Monday, and several stars who dominated the national conversation during the college season will be taking their talents to the professional stage.

Every year, it boggles the mind how quick this transition is for collegians. Caitlin Clark will go from game-planning for South Carolina to being on the same roster as former Gamecocks great Aliyah Boston within nine days.

There isn’t even enough time for a WNBA Draft Combine, so some team executives are working with incomplete information about height and wingspan.

As a result, the WNBA Draft, compared to its NBA counterpart, has always favored players who were able to produce in college rather than those who have the theoretical tools to succeed at the next level.

We can project how a different team context will affect a player’s impact, but at a certain point, if they don’t have a high-level resume after four years, it’s hard to take a risk on them.

That’s why the draft is a great entry point to the WNBA for followers of the college game. The best players will show up, starting with one of the GOATs.

1. Indiana Fever

Caitlin Clark | 6-0 guard | Iowa

Like last season, there is no drama with the top pick. Boston entered her senior year as the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall and further cemented her case during her final season with South Carolina.

Clark has done the same at Iowa, and now the two will be teammates for the Fever. She took on every challenge and met the moment in every high-stakes contest.

At the collegiate level, Clark’s production is unmatched. She’s the leading scorer in college basketball history, a dead-eye shooter from deep range and an outstanding passer who finds teammates on the break or at surprising angles in the half court.

She will be an immediate value add as a distributor and spacer with enormous upside as an individual scorer and shot creator.

Clark is also an immediate boon to any franchise’s bottom line. Her impact on television ratings, even for ESPN’s pregame and postgame shows during the NCAA Tournament, has been astounding.

She’s already set to play in front of packed crowds throughout her rookie season, which has decidedly not been the case for recent iterations of the Fever.

2. Los Angeles Sparks

Cameron Brink | 6-4 forward/center | Stanford

Brink’s star has dimmed in the last month, but not enough to take her out of the second selection. She is still an outstanding defensive player who covers ground well, can stay with guards or bigs, and prevents shots from being taken in addition to contesting them.

Her shooting form suggests she’ll be able to play out on the perimeter because her frame is best suited to playing power forward.

Brink should also benefit greatly from sharing the court with better guards, as Stanford’s perimeter play let her down on many occasions.

Guards who can apply rim pressure and defend at the point of attack will make her life significantly easier, enabling her to finish as a roller and defend closer to the basket.

The major question for Brink is: Can she rein in her foul rate? But perhaps being allowed to play through foul trouble will help her create better habits.

3. Chicago Sky (from Phoenix)

Rickea Jackson | 6-2 forward | Tennessee

Jackson averaged about 20 points and eight rebounds per game in arguably the toughest conference in the country.

She is an unstoppable shot creator against the best athletes and dropped 33 and 10 in her final collegiate game against NC State.

She is physically ready to play in the WNBA and will be able to score right away, even if she still has some work to do providing value off the ball.

There are some questions about Jackson’s consistency and an unexplained suspension in 2022-23. Tennessee also underachieved relative to its talent (though perhaps now-departed coach Kellie Harper is to blame).

Nevertheless, those off-court concerns pale compared to her talent on the court. The Sky need all the talent they can get in their rebuild.

4. Los Angeles Sparks (from Seattle)

Kamilla Cardoso | 6-7 center | South Carolina

There’s an argument to be made that Cardoso will end up as the best big in this class. She’s three inches taller than Brink and a fluid athlete who hasn’t had the same foul issues as her Stanford counterpart.

She was the focal point of everything South Carolina did this season. She’s a safety valve on offense because she can catch anything and clean up misses with her offensive rebounding. She’s a backstop on defense, allowing guards to pressure up because they have a shot blocker behind them.

Cardoso barely scratched the surface of her individual offense as a post scorer and is still effective on that end because of her quick passing out of doubles and her work on the glass.

The defensive three-second rule will affect how Cardoso positions herself on defense, and she’ll have to improve her conditioning. But seeing how much Cardoso improved even throughout her senior season bodes well for how much she can develop in the WNBA.

5. Dallas Wings (from Chicago)

Jacy Sheldon | 5-10 guard | Ohio State

Now that Georgia Amoore isn’t an option at point guard, the best guard after Clark is Sheldon, who should bring some defense to Dallas without compromising the Wings’ spacing.

Sheldon will be allowed to play aggressively on the perimeter, knowing that the trees (Teaira McCowan, Kalani Brown and Natasha Howard) are waiting behind her inside.

She isn’t a natural lead guard, but Dallas still needs a two-way guard who can play next to Arike Ogunbowale, and Sheldon is big enough to make that backcourt defensively viable.

6. Washington Mystics

Aaliyah Edwards | 6-3 forward/center | UConn

Edwards might have hoped to land on a team ready to win right away after playing in three Final Fours in four seasons at UConn, but perhaps getting the opportunity to explore the studio space, so to speak, will be helpful.

One of Edwards’ best traits is that she plays within herself, but that’s mostly within 15 feet of the basket.

As a pro, she’ll have to be a power forward at her size, and she’ll need to expand her shooting range and defend more on the perimeter. General managers around the league rave about Edwards’ IQ, competitiveness and work ethic.

She has a high floor and ideally can use this runway with the Mystics to raise her ceiling.

7. Minnesota Lynx

Angel Reese | 6-3 forward/center | LSU

The Lynx were one of the worst rebounding teams in the league in 2023, and if there is one thing Reese brings to the table, it’s the ability to rebound.

Minnesota would be an interesting fit for Reese because the Lynx have a lot of perimeter creation and bigs who can operate away from the basket, leaving some room in the middle for Reese to work.

She plays hard on both ends of the floor, which should earn her minutes under head coach Cheryl Reeve.

8. Chicago Sky (from Atlanta via L.A.)

Nyadiew Puoch | 6-3 forward | Southside Flyers (Australia)

The Sky should take some big swings in this draft, considering they have one player under contract beyond this season and need to plug lots of holes.

A 19-year-old athletic wing seems like a good place to start. Puoch is an elite defender at multiple positions and is already playing against WNBA athletes in the WNBL.

She needs help refining her jumper and offensive decision-making, but that’s why Chicago hired a GM with a player development track record in Jeff Pagliocca.

9. Dallas Wings

Carla Leite | 5-9 guard | Tarbes (France)

The roster crunch in Dallas means the Wings likely can keep only one first-round pick on their 2024 team, so a draft-and-stash makes sense at No. 9.

Despite Dallas’ inclination for bigs (and the fact that Elizabeth Kitley could also be a stash after tearing her ACL in March), the bet here is that the Wings go small because their frontcourt cupboard is already stocked, especially with Stephanie Soares poised to make her WNBA debut this season. As such, Dallas can add to its backcourt with one of the great young guards in Europe.

At 19 years old, Leite is already a high-level scorer who is tough to stop on her way to the rim. She is crafty at drawing fouls and shoots well on free throws. Even if she can’t come over this season, Leite is worth waiting for.

10. Connecticut Sun

Alissa Pili | 6-2 forward | Utah

No change from the last mock draft here. Connecticut doesn’t have obvious needs and none that can be addressed at this point in the draft.

The Sun can afford to be more forward-thinking and take the most talented player left, someone who figures out how to score from every area on the court.

This is a great landing spot for Pili, who will have to learn how to defend, or simply give more effort on that end, to get on the court in Connecticut.

11. New York Liberty

Nika Mühl | 5-10 guard | UConn

A mea culpa on my part, as I did not appreciate how impressive Mühl was defensively until seeing her in person. She is strong and tough and causes real difficulty for opposing ballhandlers, including getting Caitlin Clark and JuJu Watkins out of rhythm.

The Liberty need to shore up their backcourt defensively, and Mühl is already comfortable taking on the toughest assignments. She’s also an excellent passer and can hit spot-ups; she shot 42.6 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers her senior season.

UConn was 15.2 points per 100 possessions better offensively with Mühl on the court in 2023-24, and that’s the lesser part of her game. Celeste Taylor was in consideration here because of her defensive gifts, but Mühl’s overall package gave her the nod.

12. Atlanta Dream (from Las Vegas via L.A.)

Charisma Osborne | 5-9 guard | UCLA

I was tempted to put Texas’ Shaylee Gonzales in this spot as a solid secondary playmaker who can hit 3s and defend secondary options. She’s also the same size as Charisma Osborne.

Ultimately, I stuck with the UCLA guard because of her athletic advantages, which seem to be a priority in Atlanta. Osborne is a good playmaker who still needs to learn to be a primary point guard unless she revamps her jumper and becomes a knock-down spot-up shooter.

As it stands, she’s still a plus defender who takes on the toughest perimeter assignments and is physically built for the WNBA.

How to watch

The WNBA Draft will air Monday on ESPN at 7 p.m. (ET). You can also follow along with The Athletic’s live blog, starting Sunday through the draft, where the reporters will have full on-site coverage. Check back for the link!


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