Despite the sports world being at a standstill due to COVID-19, the WNBA will carry on with the 2020 draft, but with some alterations. Instead of holding it in New York City like they've done in the past, with top prospects in attendance to hear their names called, the draft will take place virtually with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announcing each pick via a video call. The start of the season is still up in the air, with the league officiallyearlier in April, however, the league's 12 teams will have the chance to build their rosters for whenever basketball does wind up resuming.
On the clock at No. 1 is the league's biggest-market team. The New York Liberty have fallen on hard times in recent years. The WNBA uses cumulative record over the past two seasons for its lottery, and at 17-51, no team had better odds. The lottery balls granted New York the No. 1 pick and the chance to select Oregon phenom Sabrina Ionescu, but there is still plenty of talent to go around in this draft class.
Below is the 2020 WNBA Draft order. The top four selections are determined by lottery, while the next eight and the second- and third-round orders thereafter are based on record.
1. New York Liberty
2. Dallas Wings
3. Indiana Fever
4. Atlanta Dream
5. Dallas Wings*
6. Minnesota Lynx
7. Dallas Wings*
8. Chicago Sky
9. New York Liberty*
10. Phoenix Mercury*
11. Seattle Storm*
12. New York Liberty*
*acquired via trade
Here are a few important things to know with the draft coming up.
1. How to watch the WNBA Draft
The WNBA Draft will go on as scheduled, though it will be done virtually as the spread of coronavirus continues to grow across the country. ESPN announced that it would air the draft on its primary network, and here's how you can tune in:
2. Liberty and Dallas control the first round
The Liberty and Dallas Wings own a combined six of the 12 first-round picks. After aWednesday morning that involved the Liberty moving former league MVP Tina Charles to the Washington Mystics, the Wings and Liberty both have three first-round picks Friday night. Both teams are looking to rebuild their franchises after trading away superstar talent, and while the Liberty seem to be closer to contention with what's currently on their roster, Dallas has a lot of assets to make a big splash on draft night.
3. This is more than a one-player draft
While Sabrina Ionescu has been the main talking point leading up to this draft, she's not the only potential star in the making from this pool of players Her record-breaking career at Oregon is well chronicled, as she became the only player -- male or female -- in college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. She also blew the college basketball triple-double record out of the water (12), when she finished her college career with 26 to her name. The star Oregon point guard is one of the best all-around prospects to ever enter the WNBA, but that doesn't make her the only top prospect in this class, though.
Ionescu's college teammates Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard, Baylor forward Lauren Cox and Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter all have the potential to have long, successful WNBA careers. The treasure trove of picks that Dallas and New York have, could give both teams unparalleled young depth in the coming years.
4. First time Liberty have ever picked No. 1
The Liberty aren't used to being at the bottom of the standings. Forget about picking No. 1 overall, prior to 2019, the Liberty had never even picked in the top three outside of dispersal drafts. That puts them in uncharted territory with this selection. While plenty of stars have called New York home, the Liberty will now have a chance to cultivate a legendary career from the start. Putting a talent as transcendent as Ionescu in New York should be a major boost for the quickly growing league.