WNBA mock draft 2024: Clark still the 1 heading into lottery

We won’t know all the players who will be in the 2024 WNBA draft lottery until next spring when they have declared. But soon we’ll know where the top talent is headed.

Sunday, the WNBA holds its draft lottery (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App), and we find out which teams will get the Nos. 1-4 picks next April 15. This could be a franchise-changing draft, depending on which seniors opt to leave for the WNBA or stay for a fifth season in college due to the COVID-19 waiver.

The Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm are all vying for the top pick.

Will Indiana get a second consecutive No. 1 pick to join last season’s WNBA Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston? The Fever have the league’s longest playoff drought, last making the postseason in 2016.

Brittney Griner was the Mercury’s last top pick, in 2013. New coach Nate Tibbetts is trying to re-ignite a franchise that finished last in the WNBA in 2023.

The Sparks, longtime playoff regulars, have missed the postseason for three years in a row. Their most recent No. 1 pick, in 2012, was Nneka Ogwumike, who remains the stalwart of the franchise.

The Storm benefitted from back-to-back No. 1 picks in 2015 (Jewell Loyd) and 2016 (Breanna Stewart) to win WNBA championships in 2018 and 2020. Stewart departed in free agency to join the New York Liberty last season; Loyd is signed with Seattle through 2025.

The Storm have four titles overall, the Sparks and the Mercury have three. Indiana’s lone title was in 2012. All four lottery teams — their No. 1 odds, in order, are Indiana (44.2%), Phoenix (27.6), Los Angeles (17.8), Seattle (10.4) — could use a boost.

We use those odds to project this mock draft and will update it Sunday with the actual lottery order.

Iowa | point guard | 6-foot-0 | senior

Clark is averaging 29.6 points per game and showing the leadership the Hawkeyes need as they adjust to different post players taking over bigger roles this season. You won’t find a better pure shooting prospect than Clark. Her range and playmaking ability (7.6 assists per game) combined will make her an asset to any team, and her defense has improved each season. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

UConn | point guard | 6-foot-0 | junior

Bueckers is carrying a huge load for UConn, which has been hit hard by injuries again, with Azzi Fudd out for the season. The Huskies have three losses, but they came against three of the country’s best teams. The pressure isn’t going to let up on Bueckers, but we know she learned a lot about herself and got even stronger mentally during her knee rehab after missing last season. She also has next-level scoring and passing skills. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

Stanford | power forward | 6-foot-4 | senior

Like Clark and Bueckers, Brink is the centerpiece player for her team; nothing works as well for Stanford if she’s not on the floor. Brink is averaging 18.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Her skill set is strong, and her physical strength will improve even more as a professional. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

South Carolina | center | 6-foot-7 | senior

Strong, agile and with instinctive rebounding ability, Cardoso doesn’t have a long track record of proven offensive production. But with Aliyah Boston gone, we’re seeing more of it this season from Cardoso, too. She’s averaging 14.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. She shows such promise at her height it increases her chances of being a lottery pick. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

UConn | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

As is the case with Bueckers, Edwards will be critical to UConn. She was the Huskies’ rock last season with Bueckers out. Edwards is averaging 15.8 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 58.1% from the field. She also has UConn’s exceptional track record of successful players in the WNBA going for her. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

Tennessee | power forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Jackson got off to a strong start but played just two games before being sidelined in early November with a lower leg injury. She has missed seven games since, so her health is a concern. Jackson is in her fifth season of college and for now stays where she is in the mock draft with her combination of scoring and rebounding ability. But we’ll have to keep an eye on her injury progress. The Lady Vols miss her presence on court.

Australia | small forward | 6-foot-3

At 19, she has shown a lot of promise and could be the latest Aussie to come to the WNBA at a young age and blossom. A comparison is Seattle’s Ezi Magbegor, who was drafted at age 20 with the 12th overall pick in 2020 and has become a starter with the Storm the last two seasons. Puoch is in her second WNBL season in Australia with the Southside Flyers and played for Australia in the U19 World Cup this summer.

LSU | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

Reese has made more headlines for her four-game absence this season than anything else. But now that that seems to be cleared up, the focus can go back to her ability to get to the rim, battle fearlessly for rebounds and be a strong presence defensively. The question remains whether Reese, who is averaging 17.4 points and 10.0 rebounds, can improve her shooting range and post moves on offense and how that affects the perception of what she can do in the WNBA. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

Virginia Tech | point guard | 5-foot-6 | senior

Amoore really built up her reputation with stellar play in the NCAA tournament last season and has continued that this year. The Australian, who ranked second in Division I with 118 3-pointers last season, is averaging 17.1 points and 8.4 assists. She has shown an ability to be effective against all types of defenses. (Could return to college for 2024-25).

Ohio State | shooting guard | 5-foot-10 | senior

After Sheldon was limited to just 13 games due to a leg injury last season, we’re seeing more of the 2021-22 version of her again. That’s great news for the Buckeyes and her WNBA prospects. In her fifth season, she is averaging 15.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.5 steals. Sheldon is a high-energy player who can change games with her defense.

UCLA | shooting guard | 5-foot-9 | senior

Osborne returned for a fifth season, and while it’s early, it might be the best the Bruins have had in many years. They currently are No. 2 in the nation, with Osborne providing veteran leadership for a star sophomore class. She is averaging 14.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists. She never lets up on offense or defense.

12. Los Angeles Sparks: Isabel Borlase

Australia | shooting guard | 5-foot-11

Another 19-year-old Aussie, Borlase plays for the Adelaide Lightning in the WNBL and has received praise from fellow Australian and Liberty coach Sandy Brondello. Like Puoch, she was on Australia’s U19 World Cup team this summer; both project as future senior national team members for the Opals. Borlase shows promise as a 3-point shooter with the strength to take contact going to the basket.

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