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Debate at the Top of the 2015 WNBA Draft

by Gentry Worthington on Apr. 9, 2015
The 2015 WNBA Draft is only 6 days away and our 3-round mock draft is ready to go. Over the last few days there was some breaking news that completely changed the landscape of the 2015 WNDA Draft.
 
First was Amanda Zuhui B., the Big Ten Player of the Year out of the Univerisity of Minnesota, declaring early for the draft as a sophomore still with two years of eligibilty left. She became the number 1 pick in the mock. Then Jewell Loyd, a junior from Notre Dame, decided she would leave her school as well and pursue a WNBA career. Then she became the number 1 pick in the mock. It is clear now that Loyd and Zahui B. are the two best players in this draft. Deciding between the two for the mock is no easy task.
 
Jewell Loyd is the most pro ready player in this draft. Zahui B probably has the higher ceiling, but she has a lot to improve upon strengthwise and defensively to adjust to the pro game. With only a week to go until the draft, Seattle likely takes the safer player. They were probably just as shocked as I was about both these players entering the draft. There is the thought that Seattle might take Zahui B #1 for her potential and also since they could use a center with skill. The hope then would be that Tulsa passes on Loyd, since their backcourt of the future seems pretty well established, having drafted Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims highly in the last two years, and they would get her at 3.
 
Jewell Loyd probably fits a lot better into what will likely be the Storm's system under a new coach. Jenny Boucek has said she is looking for players who have the ability to create their own shot on offense. Right now, they do not have that type of player on their roster.  In fact, they really only have three guards on the current roster after trades and free agency. Of those three, Sue Bird turns 35 this year, Meighan Simmons was a 3rd round pick last year and hasn't played any minutes after getting cut from New York in training camp, and Renee Montgomery has been disappointing in Connecticut, aside from a good year or two. I think the Storm traded for her with the hope that she just needed a change of scenery.
 
With the short amount of time to do homework on either player for this pick, the Storm go with the safer pick. The one thing that would provide hesitation on the pick would be that Jewell Loyd has not played well the last month or so. There very well could be something more to her decision to leave school early, but maybe I'm just overthinking things. You don't see players leave early for the WNBA often because the financial incentive is not near the NBA's. Amanda Zahui B makes a little more sense because she is a foreigner (from Sweden), so maybe the university route just didn't appeal to her as much as making basketball her career. You could say something similar for Jewell Loyd, but at Notre Dame she was on one of the premier teams and had the chance for an NCAA title next year.
 
Seattle has a tough choice, yet one that will be very hard to go wrong with, since they would be taking one of two exceptionally talented players. At this point today though, it's looking like Jewell Loyd will be the #1 pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. But who knows, maybe they'll end up with both...