2017 WNBA Mock Draft: Tennessee scorer goes to San Antonio Stars at No. 1
No UConn players to be found in this mock draft
You can set your countdown clocks: CBS Sports has learned the WNBA Draft will be held on April 10.
It's been a busy week in the WNBA offseason -- the Washington Mystics introduced Elena Delle Donne to the media, and signed the best shooter on the free agent market in Kristi Toliver.
But all over the league, holes are being filled through free agency, changing the calculations in the draft ahead. Meanwhile, with just a few weeks until conference tournaments, here's how the WNBA Draft shapes up.
1. San Antonio Stars -- Diamond DeShields, F, Tennessee
The league is just begging for any excuse to take the athletic wunderkind Lady Vol, and DeShields, who has struggled with her consistency since her North Carolina days, is providing evidence of late that she's ready to emerge. She's averaging 24 points per game over her last five contests, and put up a 34-point performance against Georgia. The game before that, against LSU, she finished just two assists shy of a triple-double. The Stars bolstered their center spot in free agency, and DeShields slots in well at either wing for them.
2. Chicago Sky -- Kelsey Plum, G, Washington
This draft's answer to Diana Taurasi isn't slowing down a bit. And while it's difficult to ascertain what the Sky are building -- reportedly set to play Stefanie Dolson at the four next to Imani Boyette, with an abundance of point guards between Courtney Vandersloot and Jamierra Faulkner -- it is easy to envision them building a backcourt of tomorrow around Faulkner and Plum, who can play the point or the two at the WNBA level.
3. Dallas Wings -- Alaina Coates, C, South Carolina
So several WNBA talent evaluators think they'll go with Coates here over Bri Jones. And if we're talking purely about height, Coates has Jones beat by two inches. But Jones is hardly tiny -- a legit 6-3 --and holds the edge in shooting efficiency and rebounding percentage, while turning the ball over significantly less. Either one in this spot will not surprise me.
4. Los Angeles Sparks -- Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, G, Maryland
With the loss of Toliver via free agency, the Sparks can go slot another Maryland product right in, one who is shooting 40.2 percent from three this year after a 54.5 percent mark last season, to go with underrated playmaking skills.
5. San Antonio Stars--Nia Coffey, F, Northwestern
It is easy to imagine Coffey opposite DeShields on the wings for this team, to go along with the Moriah Jefferson-Kayla McBride backcourt, and the re-signed Kayla Alexander at center. That's a young, exciting lineup that will win some games immediately, and truly scare people by next year.
6. Washington Mystics -- Kelsey Mitchell, G, Ohio State
It's all gone Mike Thibault's way this winter, so why not give the Mystics the steal of the draft? The guard with the highest ceiling in this group is Mitchell, already unguardable, working diligently at improving her skills at the point -- after six four-plus turnover games in her first 18 this season, she hasn't had one such game in her past eight.
7. Atlanta Dream -- Brittney Sykes, G, Syracuse
The Dream need scoring, especially from the perimeter, and Sykes' three-ball accuracy stands at 40.4 percent. She's tough defensively, gets to the basket with regularity, and will have a big role early on if she's the pick here.
8. Indiana Fever -- Bri Jones, C, Maryland
New coach Pokey Chatman can bring Jones along slowly, backing up the just re-signed Erlana Larkins, who is a perfect mentor for Jones.
9. Chicago Sky -- Chantel Osahor, F, Washington
This rebound machine should fit in well alongside a number of Sky forwards who deploy a grab bag of skills like Jessica Breland and Tamera Young. Her sneaky perimeter game can mirror the way the Sky utilize Dolson as well.
10. Dallas Wings -- Alexis Jones, G, Baylor
The scoring playmaker remains a no-brainer of a selection for the Wings, to work behind Skylar Diggins and keep the team from dipping offensively as they did last year whenever Diggins was off the floor or off her game.
11. Dallas Wings -- Evelyn Ahkator, C, Kentucky
The Wings need plenty of young takent up front, and Ahkator is impressing more and more, averaging 25.8 points per game during the current Kentucky four-game winning streak.
12. Minnesota Lynx -- Tori Jankoska, G, Michigan State
For much of the season, Jankoska's been asked to do it all for the Spartans, and she has: scoring, distributing, and even posting a top-30 national ranking in defensive points per possession, according to Synergy. She's very much a Cheryl Reeve kind of player.
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