WNBA mock draft 2024: Clark a lock at No. 1, but who's next?

ByMichael Voepel ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

With the news that Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark will enter the 2024 WNBA draft, another one of the big mysteries of our ESPN mock draft has been solved. The No. 1 pick is no longer theoretically Clark; it's definitely her.

Clark announced via social media that she won't be returning to Iowa for a fifth season (via the COVID-19 waiver from 2020-21). Clark is a perfect fit for an Indiana Fever team that should be able to capitalize on her game and her personality and popularity.

We also have had other big questions answered: In mid-February,UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckerssaid will return to UConn for the 2024-25 season.

And on Tuesday, seniorCameron Brinksaid she will leave Stanford after this season for the WNBA. Both Clark and Brink had one more year of eligibility.

One of our top four picks is a fifth-year senior with no more eligibility: Tennessee Lady Volunteers forward Rickea Jackson missed eight games in November and December with a leg injury but has played every game since Dec. 19 and projects at No. 3. She exercised the COVID-19 waiver to play this season, her second in Knoxville.

Here is the latest look at the first round, with players who still have another season of eligibility because of the waiver noted.

1. Indiana Fever: Caitlin Clark

Iowa | point guard | 6-foot-0 | senior

Clark has passed Kelsey Plum (NCAA women's scoring record) and Lynette Woodard (AIAW major college record) and is closing in on Pete Maravich (NCAA men's record). With 18 points on what is sure to be an emotional senior day Sunday in Iowa City, Clark is poised to pass Pistol Pete.

Will she score as much in the WNBA as she is now? No one has averaged 30 points for a WNBA season -- the highest-ever average is Diana Taurasi's 25.29 points per game in 2006 with the Phoenix Mercury -- so Clark's current 32.2 PPG is likely not sustainable in the WNBA. However, her 8.7 assists average conceivably could carry over. That would put Clark in very rare company: Only Courtney Vandersloot (six times) and Ticha Penicheiro (once) have averaged at least 8 assists for a WNBA season.

2. Los Angeles Sparks: Cameron Brink

Stanford | power forward | 6-foot-4 | senior

Brink is coming off a 25-point, 23-rebound game Thursday that clinched the last Pac-12 regular-season title outright for the Cardinal, their 27th and last before moving to the ACC next season. With franchise stalwart Nneka Ogwumike having left for Seattle in free agency, the Sparks are in reconstruction mode. Drafting another Stanford star can help. Brink -- who averages 17.9 points, 11.7 rebounds and a Division I-leading 3.6 blocks -- has a pro-ready game and the ability to help reenergize the Sparks.

3. Chicago Sky: Rickea Jackson

Tennessee | power forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Some might have been surprised Jackson returned for a fifth season in college, as she was a projected early first-round pick last season, too. But the Lady Vols are glad she did, as she leads them at 19.2 points and 7.9 rebounds. Jackson's offensive game is likely to expand at the pro level, especially as she shoots the 3-point shot more.

4. Los Angeles Sparks: Kamilla Cardoso

South Carolina | center | 6-foot-7 | senior

Cardoso is a powerful player who could form a strong young inside combo with Brink. That would give the Sparks two of the best rim protectors currently in the college game. Cardoso is averaging career highs in points (14.0 PPG) and rebounds (9.8 RPG) for the No. 1 Gamecocks. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

5. Dallas Wings: Aaliyah Edwards

UConn | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

The Wings, coming off a WNBA semifinals appearance, have a good roster construction to continue their success. Another 3-point shooter might be a bigger need, but a post of Edwards' caliber -- she's averaging 18.1 points and 9.5 rebounds -- is not something Dallas likely would want to pass up. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

6. Washington Mystics: Nyadiew Puoch

Australia | small forward | 6-foot-3

The Mystics franchise is in transition mode. Guard Natasha Cloud left in free agency for Phoenix, and forward/guard Elena Delle Donne is taking an indefinite break after Washington cored her. Washington could be looking to invest in a young player with a potentially high ceiling, such as the 19-year-old Puoch, who is currently averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG for the Southside Flyers in her native Australia.

7. Minnesota Lynx: Angel Reese

LSU | power forward | 6-foot-3 | senior

The Lynx don't have an obvious hole on their roster, so it's likely they will look for the best player available. There have been many questions about how Reese's game will translate at the pro level, but the Lynx could find value in her rebounding and defensive talents. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

8. Chicago Sky: Alissa Pili

Utah Utes | power forward | 6-foot-2 | senior

Chicago made a trade to get a second pick in the first round, which the Sky hope contributes to their franchise rebuild. It's possible they could go with a guard with this pick. But they also might opt to bet on Pili's offensive skills as a forward who is averaging 21.6 points and can score in many different ways.

9. Dallas Wings: Georgia Amoore

Virginia Tech | point guard | 5-foot-6 | senior

Amoore could help provide a 3-point shooting boost and additional playmaking ability for the Wings. She's on the small side but has a lot of skill. She has made 65 3s this season for the Hokies and is averaging 18.0 points and 7.4 assists per game. (Could return to college for 2024-25.)

10. Connecticut Sun: Jacy Sheldon

Ohio State | shooting guard | 5-foot-10 | senior

After an injury-plagued 2022-23 season, Sheldon has been strong. In her fifth season, she leads the Big Ten regular-season champion Buckeyes with averages of 18.0 points, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals. She projects as one of the top defensive guards in the draft.

11. New York Liberty: Charisma Osborne

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

Like Sheldon, Osborne is a fifth-year player who should be able to contribute on the defensive end, which is what the Liberty need. She is also averaging 14.5 points and 4.0 assists.

12. Atlanta Dream: Elizabeth Kitley

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

It's been hard for many pure centers to find their way in the WNBA right out of college, which is why Kitley's first-round prospects have been questioned. But her consistency as a scorer (22.9 PPG) and rebounder (11.5 RPG) in her fifth season -- plus the fact that the Dream might be looking for depth at center -- could work to her advantage.

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