2022 Mock Draft:
no stats, just vibes edition
Last year, I brought in the experts to give you the Down Low on the 2021 draft. This year, at least for my early draft predictions, I am following only the vibes.
1. Las Vegas Aces (from Washington):
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
I would like for the Aces to take a "Gotta Catch Em All" approach to #1 draft picks. The team already has the most #1 picks in the league by far, with Jackie Young (2019), A'ja Wilson (2018), Kelsey Plum (2017), and Angel McCoughtry (2009) on their 2021 roster. This year has already been declared the Rhyne Howard draft, and I'd like to see the Aces do what it takes to win it.
2. Indiana Fever:
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor
As much fun as it would be to see Indiana once again go rogue and reach for [redacted for politeness to all parties], I am wishing the Fever a very “be competitive to win some games” next season. NaLyssa Smith is the obvious choice. Good luck and don’t fuck it up.
3. Atlanta Dream:
Destanni Henderson, South Carolina
The CDC has announced that the Dream can draft another athletic point guard, as a treat. Destanni Henderson is the obvious choice for the Dream's all-guard mandate. The Down Low will be offering to pay PTO to any veteran point guard they try to bring in to play ahead of their young stars.
4. Dallas Wings:
Sika Kone, Mali
I would like to see Dallas ensure they remain the youngest team in the league once again by drafting Sika Kone, who as an international player is coming in at 19 (she's also pretty good). Alternatively, they could take the completely opposite approach and draft Ali Patberg who is somehow 25 and still playing college ball.
I would also be delighted if Kone ended up on the Sky in a season or two.
5. New York:
Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast University
Listen, I don't know what is going on with New York and I am not confident New York does either. So I'm selecting Kierstan Bell, whose dynamic scoring will bring positive vibes to any team.
6. Los Angeles Sparks (from Dallas):
Shakira Austin, Ole Miss
I need LA to trade for a first round pick, because it would be tragic to see Shakira Austin drafted elsewhere. The vibes with her, Amanda Zahui B., and Gabby Williams all on the same team? Impeccable. Plus, I have learned that Shakira has a cat, who I would like to see become friends with Gabby's cat Halle Berry.
7. Chicago Sky:
Rae Burrell, Tennessee
This was difficult for me, because I wanted to have the Sky draft one of my faves, Morgan Jones, from Florida State, to be mentored on how to use her athleticism by Kahleah Copper. But I truly shudder to consider what would be said about James Wade on #WNBAtwitter if he takes a risk in the draft again. Let's have him play it safe and go with the delightful Rae Burrell and continue the Sky-Tennessee connection.
8. Minnesota Lynx:
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
As is tradition, I think the Lynx will somehow get a player that had no business falling that low. Ashley Joens is a top-5 pick and one whose all-around fundamentals will be a no-brainer for Cheryl. Lorela Cubaj is another player I considered for Minny.
9. Seattle Storm:
Evina Westbrook, UConn
I see Breanna Stewart continuing to try to amass a UConn superteam out in Seattle and pushing for Evina Westbrook as she is very good and very from UConn. Personally, I am excited to see what Momma E can do after the success of fellow UConn mama, big Stef.
10. Indiana Fever:
Naz Hillmon, Michigan
I'm just a girl, standing in front of WNBA Champion and MVP Tamika Catchings, asking her to take the next best available. I'm no expert, but Aneela Khan would tell you that it's Naz Hillmon. Ideally, Marianne Stanley will actually play her. Please, Indiana, I am rooting for us.
11. Washington Mystics (from Aces):
Veronica Burton, Northwestern
Here, I was looking for a player that I could see Natasha Cloud building a rookie of the year campaign around. Cloud, the Mystics' campaign manager, would have a ton of fun hyping up Veronica Burton's playmaking and absurd stat lines.
12. Connecticut Sun:
Khayla Pointer, LSU
While I briefly considered finding a player that would fit in with the Sun by dating someone on the roster (but NOT Dijonai), I determined that would be deeply weird. Instead, I looked for a guard that would provide the scoring they need, and also keep up with the team's overall drip. Khayla Pointer fits the bill.
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