The New York Liberty will have the No. 1 pick in next year’s WNBA draft for the first time in franchise history.
One of the original WNBA teams, the Liberty won the draft lottery Tuesday night. New York had the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick with a 44.2% chance.
“It’s awesome to be able to have that pick,” Liberty coach Katie Smith said. “We’re going to be able to add a really elite piece to what we already have. It’s a silver lining to a year where we battled and came up short. It’s something we can look towards the future and add a piece that will help us compete for a championship.”
New York had the No. 2 pick last year and took Asia Durr. It’s been rare for the Liberty to pick high in the draft with last year being the first time they had a top-three pick.
Dallas will pick second, Indiana third and Atlanta fourth.
The Fever had the second best odds of getting the No.1 pick with a 27.6% chance.
“We’re excited about the outcome of tonight’s draft lottery and are confident that we will continue to build a championship franchise,” said Tamika Catchings, vice president of basketball operations for the Fever.. “We look forward to adding a top talent to an already promising core group of players.”
Dallas had a 17.8% chance of picking first and Atlanta 10.4%.
“We’re open to helping our team in a variety of ways,” Dallas coach Brian Agler said. “There’s some depth we’re looking at and it will be also be interesting to see who will come into the draft as an underclassmen. We’re open to helping our team in a variety of ways by selecting a player in the lottery or trading the pick.”
The Wings have had the No. 2, 3 and 4 picks a few times when the franchise was in Detroit, Tulsa as well as Dallas, but still have never won the draft lottery.
Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu and Baylor forward Lauren Cox are among the leading prospects to be selected No. 1.
Smith said at the end of the Liberty’s season that they could use a point guard or another post player so both of those college stars would definitely help.
Of the four lottery teams, only Atlanta has ever had the No. 1 pick; the Dream drafted high-scoring forward Angel McCoughtry first overall in 2009.
The rest of the draft will be in reverse order of the standings for this season with Phoenix picking fifth. Minnesota, Seattle and Chicago following the Mercury. Las Vegas traded the No. 9 pick to Dallas as part of the Liz Cambage deal in the preseason. Los Angeles sent its first-round pick to Connecticut as part of the Chiney Ogwumike trade. The Sun will also pick 11th with Washington gets the final selection of the first round.