WNBA mock draft 2023: Picks and player projections

ByM.A. Voepel ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

With several -- but not all -- major moves of free agency having taken place, it's time for another look at the projected first round in ESPN's 2023 WNBA mock draft.

Since our previous mock in November after the Indiana Fever won the draft lottery, we've had plenty of time to see how women's college basketball players have developed this season. But we still don't know how many of the four-year seniors might take the option of returning for a fifth season because of the pandemic-affected 2020-21 academic year. So there is no guarantee the players in this mock draft will make themselves eligible for the 2023 draft.

Most players have said publicly they will make that decision after their college seasons end. Indiana Hoosiers senior post player Mackenzie Holmes has not declared for certain she will return to college, but told ESPN she is strongly leaning on coming back, so we didn't include her for draft consideration. Also, at this point no draft-eligible juniors have publicly said they will declare for the draft, so they weren't included, either.

Aliyah Boston, the reigning NCAA national player of the year, is the only first-round pick we have from No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks. But Gamecocks guards Zia Cooke and Brea Beal are both in the mix for the first round, with Beal considered one of the best defensive players in college and Cooke leading South Carolina in scoring.

So with the information we have now, here is how things might look for the first round of the April 10 draft.

First Round

1. Indiana Fever: Aliyah Boston

South Carolina Gamecocks | forward/center | 6-foot-5 | senior

Boston is a pro-ready post player who should be able to immediately elevate the Fever on both ends of the court. Her stats (13.5 PPG, 10. RPG) may be down from last season, but that reflects the Gamecocks' depth and dominance over opponents. Plus, Boston deals regularly with double and triple teams, something that will be harder to do to her in the WNBA. She is not only a good rim protector, but does a great job in covering so much ground in defending the paint.

2. Minnesota Lynx: Haley Jones

Stanford Cardinal | guard | 6-foot-1 | senior

It's tempting to compare Jones to another past Stanford star: Nicole Powell, who averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 11 seasons in the WNBA. But Jones is more of an elite playmaker and less of a 3-point shooter than Powell. Jones is averaging 13.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists for a Stanford squad that has relied heavily on her. Jones' lack of success from behind the arc -- she's 3 of 28 this season and 23 of 101 in her Stanford career -- is a concern and could cause her to drop in the draft. But she does other things well enough that improving on her 3-point shooting might come once she is a pro.

3. Dallas Wings: Diamond Miller

Maryland Terps | guard | 6-foot-3 | senior

If you want consistent transition points, Miller is the kind of player who can get them for you. With good speed at her size and ability to finish at the rim or pull up, she is a versatile offensive threat who has made 102 3-pointers in her Terps career. She would give Dallas a big wing to go along with the team's other offensive talents. And she would be surrounded by some very good defensive players with the Wings who could help her come along in that aspect of her game.

4. Washington Mystics: Rickea Jackson

Tennessee Lady Vols | forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

You get the sense that the Mystics would like one more big-time slashing scorer, and Jackson fits the bill. She is averaging 18.1 PPG and has always been a dangerous scorer in college. At 6.0 rebounds per game, she also has room for growth on the defensive end and would be in a good setting for that in Washington.

5. Chicago Sky: Charisma Osborne

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

No two ways about it: Free agency has been brutal for the Sky, with Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot leaving. Chicago is restructuring itself, and might see Osborne -- a strong two-way guard -- as a good building block on the perimeter. She averages 15.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 2.7 APG and has a chance to be a top-level defender in the pro game.

6. Connecticut Sun: Ashley Joens

Iowa State Cyclones | forward/guard | 6-foot-1 | senior

Joens adjusted her game to account for 6-6 center Stephanie Soares, then readjusted when Soares was lost for the season in early January. One thing never changes: Joens is a workhorse who always finds ways to score and will play whatever role is asked of her. She leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.1 PPG and is tied for second in rebounding at 9.1 RPG.

7. Indiana Fever: Jordan Horston

Tennessee Lady Vols | guard | 6-foot-2 | senior

Horston is one of those players who you feel like could really blossom as a pro player because you see so much potential. Averaging 15.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 3.3 assists, Horston has good size and instincts and hustle. The Fever want strong defensive players, and she has the ability to contribute there, too.

8. Atlanta Dream: Elizabeth Kitley

Virginia Tech Hokies | center | 6-foot-6 | senior

Kitley's production is machine-like: She's averaging 18.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG and 2.1 blocks per game this season, similar to her numbers over the last two years. It's a fact that true centers don't always make the transition to the WNBA, especially when they haven't expanded their range. Kitley will need to get stronger as a defensive player, but she has shown improvement there with the Hokies and would add needed size to the Dream.

9. Seattle Storm: Dorka Juhász

UConn Huskies| forward | 6-foot-5 | senior

The Huskies being shorthanded has been the theme of their season. But they're still projected as a No. 1 seed thanks in no small part to Juhász, who has played well after an early season thumb injury. She is averaging a double-double (14.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG) and as is the case with most UConn post players, she passes well. Like Chicago, Seattle has been hurt by free agency with Breanna Stewart's departure to New York, and Juhász might boost the Storm inside.

10. Los Angeles Sparks: Madi Williams

Oklahoma Sooners | forward | 6-foot-0 | senior

Oklahoma is a little deeper team this season, but Williams is still the Sooners' leading scorer (16.2 PPG) and second-leading rebounder (6.3 RPG) while shooting 52.7% from the field. She has a soft touch on her shot and has become a stronger defensive player. She's a tweener size-wise, which is always a challenge in the WNBA. But Sparks coach Curt Miller tends to make the most of players' strengths.

11. Dallas Wings: Maddy Siegrist

Villanova Wildcats | forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Siegrist is currently leading Division I in scoring (28.3 PPG) and shooting 52.7% from the field. She is also averaging 9.3 rebounds, and has been a consistent force for the Wildcats since her freshman season. Dallas has a new coach in Latricia Trammell who is known for defense but can appreciate how elite an offensive player Siegrist is.

12. Minnesota Lynx: Lou Lopez Sénéchal

UConn Huskies | guard/forward | 6-foot-1 | senior

The Fairfield transfer has been been impressive and had a big impact in her lone season at UConn. She is averaging 16.7 PPG, leads the team in 3-pointers (57) and is shooting 47.5 from 3-point range. UConn's track record for producing WNBA players is unmatched by any other program, and even in one season Lopez Sénéchal seems to have that Huskies' look to her game.

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