The 2021 WNBA season is just around the corner, and earlier this week, the league announced the full schedule, which tips off on May 14. But first up on the docket is the 2021 WNBA Draft, which is set for Thursday, April 15.
Like last year, the event will be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That means no players will be in attendance, and all announcements and interviews will be conducted via video conferencing. Obviously, that's not anyone's first choice, but it's the safe thing to do, and the format works well enough.
The Dallas Wings own the No. 1 overall pick, as well as the Nos. 2 and 5 selections, so they will control the night. But what they decide to do with those picks really remains anyone's guess. Charli Collier seems to be the likely top pick, but it's not a guarantee as it was last season with Sabrina Ionescu.
Ahead of the draft, here's everything you need to know, including how to watch and major storylines.
2021 WNBA Draft
- When: Thursday, April 15, 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN | Live Stream: ESPN app
- 2021 WNBA Mock Draft
- Charli Collier scouting report
- Rennia Davis scouting report
- Dana Evans scouting report
- Aari McDonald scouting report
- Biggest needs and possible fits for every team
- Dallas Wings
- Dallas Wings
- Atlanta Dream
- Indiana Fever
- Dallas Wings
- New York Liberty
- Los Angeles Sparks (via Dallas Wings)
- Chicago Sky
- Minnesota Lynx
- Los Angeles Sparks
- Seattle Storm
- Las Vegas Aces
Dallas controls the night
Through a series of trades, the Wings now have the top two picks in the draft, and three of the top five, which means they'll be in control to start the night. Without a clear-cut top prospect, it's going to be fascinating to see what they do. Given their roster and the players available, everyone has penciled in Charli Collier and Awak Kuier for their first two picks, but that's certainly no guarantee. And after that, there are even more questions considering they don't have room on the roster to bring in four first-round picks.
Who goes No. 1?
There's no consensus No. 1 pick this year, which usually would add a lot of suspense to draft night. But since the Wings also have the No. 2 pick and will get to choose again, it will be a bit anticlimactic. Some of that distinction in being the first player selected is lost when the next player is going to the same team. Still, there's a lot of intrigue about who the Wings will take. Pretty much everyone has assumed it will be Collier since she decided to leave school early, and the Wings need frontcourt help, but that's not a lock. Kuier has the most potential, Natasha Mack is the best big defender and there are some intriguing scoring options on the wing and in the backcourt.
How high did McDonald climb?
Aari McDonald would have been a first-round pick last season but decided to go back to school. That turned out to be a great decision, as she led her Arizona Wildcats to their first-ever national championship game, and put on an absolute show in the NCAA Women's Tournament. Her performance in the last few rounds of the tourney absolutely raised her profile, and she's the best defensive guard in the draft. But she's only 5-foot-6 and has some real flaws on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see where she ends up going, and how much stock WNBA executives put into her hot streak to end the season.