Heading into the final day of the WNBA season, there were three teams fighting for the final playoff spot: the New York Liberty, Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks. In the end it was all a bit anticlimactic -- the Mystics and Sparks both lost, which allowed the Liberty, who were idle, to back into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
With the regular season in the books, the playoffs are now set and will begin on Thursday, Sept. 23, with the single-elimination first-round games. In addition, the odds for the 2022 WNBA Draft Lottery are now locked in. Here's a look at which teams are headed for the lottery and their chances of winning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
As a reminder, odds for the WNBA Draft Lottery are calculated based on the combined records from the past two seasons. Another important note is that the Los Angeles Sparks missed the playoffs, but they previously traded their 2022 first-round pick to the Dallas Wings.
|Team||Combined 2020 and 2021 record||Odds of getting 1st pick|
Dallas Wings (via Sparks)
The Fever have by far the best odds at 44.2 percent, and if they end up winning the lottery, they'll get the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history. That would be just the boost this franchise needs after what has been a truly miserable run. The last time the Fever made the playoffs was in 2016, and in the five seasons since then they've finished either last or second-last four times. Over that span they are a combined 40-116 with a whopping 67 of those losses coming by double-digits.
Next up are the Dream, who struggled through an extremely dysfunctional season that saw head coach Nicki Collen quit during training camp and interim head coach Mike Petersen step down for health reasons. Meanwhile, budding young star Chennedy Carter was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team and sat out of the team's final 15 games. Another high-level prospect would add some much needed talent and excitement to this team.
After four straight playoff appearances, the Mystics are making a rare appearance in the lottery. That says much more about their horrid injury luck than the talent on the roster, however. Elena Delle Donne was limited to three games becuase of continued back problems, Alysha Clark missed the entire season with a foot injury, Emma Meesseman stayed overseas and they didn't have a single player appear in all 32 games. If they can somehow jump up and win the lottery, though, it could all pay off in the long run.
Finally, there's the Wings, who actually finished seventh and will be facing the Chicago Sky in the first round of the playoffs. They are in this spot thanks to a trade they made last year with the Sparks to acquire their 2022 first-round pick. That proved to be a savvy piece of business, as the Wings will now be in line to add another talented player to their young core that already features Arike Ogbunowale, Satou Sabally, and last year's No. 1 overall pick, Charli Collier.
No date has been set for the 2022 Draft Lottery, but last year's event was held in early December, so it should be sometime around then. The presumptive No. 1 overall pick is Rhyne Howard, an elite scoring guard out of Kentucky who put up 20.7 points per game last season and has won the last two SEC Player of the Year Awards. Other potential lottery picks include Baylor's NaLyssa Smith, Iowa State's Ashley Joens and Michigan's Naz Hillmon.