Saturday, April 21, 2001
Not everyone can win come draft time
By Michelle Smith Special to ESPN.com
At the risk of sounding like the proverbial wet blanket, the 2001 WNBA draft
was fun and all ... but if Juana Brown is on an opening-day roster, I will eat
my mouse pad for dinner.
From top to bottom, there has never been a greater assemblage of women's
basketball talent than the product the WNBA will provide this summer.
UConn's Svetlana Abrosimova, left, next to WNBA commissioner Val Ackerman, was a great "get" at No. 7 for Minnesota, despite her recent injury.
was a draft in which nearly every team in the league got a quality player
for its roster. It was also a draft in which plenty of quality players will find themselves
without WNBA employment by opening day.
But Lauren Jackson is on board, and that's all that counts. Jackson signed a
one-year contract with the league after what her Australian agent called a
five-month negotiation. WNBA officials were hoping Jackson would be able to
get to New York by draft day and it took a 20-hour flight to do it. Five
months and twenty hours ...
You done good Seattle: How could the Storm not? Jackson is a Player of the Year candidate
before she plays a single minute, and the Storm didn't do too badly with
Sameka Randall to start the second round, too. While it will be tough to make
great strides in the powerhouse Western Conference, Seattle has probably
improved itself at least two spots.
Minnesota: What a gift for Brian Agler to have Svetlana Abrosimova drop
to No. 7. The Lynx end up with a player that not only fits his team's style,
but who would have been a top-three pick were it not for the foot injury that
prematurely ended her college career.
Utah: It took just one pick, No. 8 selection Marie Ferdinand, to make the
Starzz a very dangerous team in the West. It's going to take a near-miracle
for Shea Ralph to stick on this roster.
Miami: The Sol got some very capable post help when Ruth Riley dropped to
No. 5. While the Sol failed to find a star point guard, Miami would
appear to be poised to be the first expansion team from 2000 to make the
University of Georgia: Andy Landers must have been beaming with pride
with three players chosen in the top nine Kelly Miller at No. 2, Deanna Nolan
at No. 6 and Coco Miller at No. 9.
You done what?
Yeah, we were all thinking Ruth Riley to Indiana early in the week,
especially with Riley's Indiana ties and after Nell Fortner dealt Kara
Wolters to Sacramento. But Fortner wants to run, and that's why Catchings
turned out to be a fine choice ...
No doubt it was tough to pass on Jackie Stiles, but Portland now has a
plethora of off-guards and it should be dealing time for the Fire. Maybe
they can get an experienced point guard, or maybe either Rasheeda Clark or
Tasha Pointer will survive camp and stick. LaQuanda Barksdale as their
second pick was also something of a mystery as well, considering that need at
the point ...
It's not a surprise that Carolyn Peck made Katie Douglas Orlando's
first-round pick. Lets just hope that she can make more of an impact than
former Boilermaker teammate Stephanie White-McCarty is making in Indiana ...
Sacramento will be hard-pressed to end up with a draft pick on the roster,
choosing at Nos. 30, 46 and 62. Ditto for New York, which did not pick until No. 57 in
the fourth-round and followed up with No. 60. Frankly, it would be stunning
if any of these players stick.
Kelly Miller at No. 2 overall. Charlotte makes Georgia product Miller
the second pick in the draft, which is clearly an effort to prepare for the
post-Dawn Staley days that seem to be on the horizon.
But while Miller has proven to be a consistently outstanding college
player, a hard-to-find point guard who can more than hold up her end when it
comes to scoring, she has not proven able to play on a different team,
not to mention in a different state as twin sister Coco (drafted by
Washington). This is going to be a big adjustment for both, how much remains
to be seen ...
Washington picks Coco Miller at No. 10. Not only for the same reason as above,
but because it wasn't a stretch to figure that Tom Maher might have gone for
another Australian, especially with WNBL (the Australian pro league) MVP
Penny Taylor still on the board ...
Deanna Nolan at No. 6. For a player who announced she was joining the party
just a couple of days ago, she went awfully quick. Now the Shock has a
backlog of players at the guard/forward spots. Maybe some trading to be done
there as well? ...
Australian point guard Kristen Veal falls to No. 13. There are at least three teams
that could have used a good floor general (Miami, Cleveland, Portland)
before Veal got to the Mercury. Not that Phoenix couldn't use one to succeed
Michele Timms ...
Camille Cooper to Los Angeles. Just how many post players does Michael
Cooper need anyway? Maybe they are looking to deal as well.
Tamara Stocks, Florida, Mystics, second-round.
Reshea Bristol, Arizona, Charlotte, fourth-round.
Kristen Clement, Tennessee, Houston, fourth-round.
Michelle Smith of the San Francisco Examiner is a regular contributor to ESPN.com.