Thursday, April 06, 2006

WNBA Draft Breakdown

Megan Duffy is the latest Notre Dame alumnae (or, as of right now, to-be-alumnae) to take her shot at WNBA stardom. Here's a look at Wednesday's WNBA draft, looking particularly at how it affects ND's four current players.

Detroit Shock

2nd round, 17th pick overall: Selected F Ambrosia Anderson from BYU. Anderson was traded to Minnesota for F Jackie Batteast. 3rd round, 35th pick overall: Selected C Zane Teilane, Western Illinois.
Bill Laimbeer, who oversees Shock player moves, wanted to draft Batteast last year. He couldn't, so instead he traded for her this year. Batteast will play small forward and power forward, primarily serving as Swin Cash's backup. But Cash is just one of three very talented "swingwomen" on this team, along with Cheryl Ford and Deanna Nolan. It will be interesting to see how Batteast fits into the rotation.
It truly looks like Laimbeer is building the Shock around size. Besides the four talented forwards, Detroit has 6'5 star center Ruth Riley. Riley's backup, now entering her second year, is the 6'7 Kara Braxton. And, just in case one 6'7 backup center isn't enough, the Shock drafted another in Teilane. The Shock are thin at guard, but that position seems to be at a premium throughout the league.

Minnesota Lynx

1stround, 1st pick overall: Selected G Seimone Augustus from LSU. 1st round, 7th pick overall: Selected G Shona Thorburn from Utah. 3rd round, 31st pick overall: Selected G Meghan Duffy from Notre Dame. Also acquired F Ambrosia Anderson from Detroit for Jackie Batteast.
Minnesota has no shortage of guards; Thorburn and Duffy are just two of seven Lynx under 6 feet tall. But Minnesota did need players who could create for their teammates. None of the returning Lynx guards averaged as many as 3 assists per game. I'm going to assume Thorburn will be the new starting point guard, with Duffy as her backup. Thorburn finished her college career with 679 assists, including 454 over her final two seasons. Duffy had exactly 500 "helpers" in her Irish career.

Phoenix Mercury

1st round, 2nd pick overall: Selected G Cappie Pondexter from Rutgers. 2nd round, 18th pick overall: Selected F Liz Shimek from Michigan State. 2nd round, 21st pick overall: Selected F Mistie Williams from Duke. 3rd round, 32nd pick overall: Selected G Crystal Smith from Iowa. Shimek and Williams were traded to Houston in a deal that included the Comets 2nd round pick, G/F Ann Strother from UConn.
Houston was desperate for a point guard, figuring Diana Taurasi would play better off the ball. They got their point guard in Pondexter. What that means for reserve PG Niele Ivey remains to be seen. But, the Mercury are still very thin at the 1 position, so maybe Ivey will be able to stick around.