Last season the Phoenix Mercury resorted to some, um, questionable personnel decisions which landed them the top pick in this year’s draft. What a draft class it was. The top three picks were locked in before this NCAA season even started. Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins were picked to go at the top of the draft and the only question was in what order they would go.
Griner (Baylor) will be catching passes lobbed her way by one of the game’s best guards, Diana Taurasi, when they both suit up for the Phoenix Mercury. No one was surprised by the pick, although Griner was rendered speechless at the draft. Griner is a 6’8” game changer on the court. Phoenix, which was a good team before it’s, um, questionable decisions has to be a contender this year if everyone stays healthy.
Delle Donne (Delaware) and Diggins (Notre Dame) are headed to teams, Chicago Sky and Tulsa Shock respectively, that have never been to the playoffs. But Delle Donne and Diggins are players you can build a team around. Each was instrumental in making her college team successful. Each will likely become the face of her new franchise. Diggins, who is smart, media savvy, outgoing, and extensively easy on the eyes may be the center of the marketing for the entire league.
In another draft any of these three players could have been the top pick. But the league is counting on their combined star power to take the league to the next level. Of course these players are expected to be stars for their teams and the catalyst to get their teams to the playoffs and to win championships. But they will have the added pressure of trying to raise the profile of the league. That’s a tall order for anyone, but these three players already made huge marks in college basketball and are used to loads of national attention. It should help them to make the transition from college star to face of a franchise and of the league.
What did you think of the draft? Where did your favorite players end up? Are you happy with the players your team drafted?