For fans of the WNBA, the draft signifies a change in seasons. NCAA March Madness is over and while many are still in shock that both UConn and Stanford were upset in the Final Four, the Texas A&M faithful are likely still engaged in celebratory cow tipping and the Irish are, well you can insert your favorite Irish drinking joke here. The WNBA Draft puts an end to all the silliness and tells us that it's time to pay attention, once again, to the professional game.
The top of today's draft is a forgone conclusion with Maya Moore going number one to the Minnesota Lynx. The number two pick by the Tulsa Shock is almost as likely to be used on 6-8 center Liz Cambage. From there, things get a bit more interesting as teams start picking among a variety of good players who will not likely have a ton of impact this season.
One thing to watch for today is the possibility of a trade.
The Lynx have both the first and fourth picks thanks to a trade with the Connecticut Sun and they are stacked on the wings with Monica Wright, Seimone Augustus and Charde Houston. They are facing a serious log jam if they don't clear some space for Maya Moore to play and they are in need of a big. It would be more shocking if they don't make a deal at this point than if they do.
The Phoenix Mercury, for the second straight year, don't have a first round pick. In 2010 they traded away their pick to land starting point guard Temeka Johnson. The 2011 pick (no. 7) went to Tulsa in a deal that brought back starting center Kara Braxton.
As GM Ann Meyers-Drysale told us last week, none of the player they could have drafted in the mid-to-late first round would have been better than the vets they got back. Phoenix will draft in the second round with the 19th overall pick and in the third round with the 31st pick. It would be surprising if either of those players made the 11-man roster coming out of training camp.
Here's more info on today's draft:
TV coverage, location, and start time: The 2011 WNBA Draft will begin at 12 pm AZT on April 11 in Bristol, Connecticut, and its first round can be watched live on ESPN and streamed online at ESPN3.com. ESPNU and NBA TV will provide live coverage of rounds two and three.
Draft order: The Minnesota Lynx have the first pick. The complete draft order is here.
Mock drafts: Moore is virtually the consensus top pick, according to complete mock drafts put together by Swish Appeal, ESPNw, WNBA.com, and so on. Each of those three agrees on Australian center Liz Cambage as the No. 2 pick, with everybody but Swish Appeal sending Xavier forward Amber Harris to Chicago at No. 3. Swish Appeal likes Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot in that spot, with Minnesota using their second pick to take Harris.
More reading: For complete 2011 WNBA Draft coverage -- including prospect writeups, position rankings, and much more -- check out SB Nation's women's basketball blog Swish Appeal.