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Was it a good decision for Loyd and Zahui B to come out early for 2015 WNBA Draft?

by Gentry Worthington on Apr. 2, 2016

We asked our very own Gentry Worthington:

Looking back at last year's draft, do you think it was a good decision that Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B came out early for the 2015 WNBA Draft?

Here's his response:

Jewell Loyd:

She showed a lot of potential in flashes, and really improved at the end of the year. Yet she got off to a really slow start shooting the ball though, missing the first 12 3-point shots she took and missed all 10 field goals in her second game against Tulsa. I predicted she would be the runaway winner of the rookie of the year award, yet she barely beat out the Liberty's Kiah Stokes, who averaged 5.8 points per game. Which still says a lot about the lack of depth and talent in last year's draft. At times Loyd was the best player for the Storm. At other times she struggled on defense and shooting the ball consistently. But she made money with a Nike endorsement and playing for Galatasaray in Istanbul, Turkey. Galatasaray is generally one of the most competitive teams in EuroCup play and they pay American imports very well. So financially I think it would be hard to fault her for the decision. She showed enough flash of potential where if the Storm get more talent around her (Breanna Stewart will help), people will look back at her decision as a smart one. Although Notre Dame fans will probably disagree with that as they could have really used her athleticism and scoring in their Sweet Sixteen upset loss to Stanford. If she were in this draft there is no way she would go #1 over Breanna Stewart, and those were my feelings last year as well. Moriah Jefferson is looking like a more valuable prospect than I thought at this point last year and Aerial Powers is a very similar player to Jewell Loyd, although she has a few inches on Jewell. I'm not sure Jewell Loyd would really be a Dan Hughes type of player in San Antonio, so I could see her slipping if she were to have stayed in college. With Connecticut's two picks and need for depth at guard I still think she would have been a lottery pick though.

Amanda Zahui B:

The jury is still out on her decision and how her career will play out. She struggled to get off the bench for Tulsa, but she had a career high 15 points and 8 rebounds and played 20 minutes in a loss to Phoenix in their last game. Yet that game was the exception rather than the norm. Only one other time did she play 20 minutes (10 pts, 7 reb against Liberty), and she finished the season averaging 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, playing only 9.7 minutes a game. This was on a team already missing their most valuable post player in Glory Johnson, who was out due to pregnancy. I foresaw that was not a great pick for Tulsa (now Dallas) anyway and that she had a much bigger jump than Jewell Loyd, from playing at Minnesota in a run-and-gun offense with very few set plays to the WNBA. If Elizabeth Cambage ever comes back to join Dallas she could fall even further in that rotation with Glory Johnson returning this season. If she were to come out this year (which still would have been a year early, as I had her as a lottery pick in the 2017 draft) she would probably still ended up going #2, this time to San Antonio instead of Dallas via Tulsa. If she were in my 2017 mock draft (release coming this week) I would probably still have her going in the top three. So as far as draft position, coming out early didn't seem to affect her. Yet I still think it could have a negative effect on her career growth as a whole.