The WNBA Season is now underway as of this past Friday. With that being said, here are the top rookies that I am looking forward to seeing this season. This list started at 20 and had to be shortened because of some players who were unfortunately waived.
(Can we get some more WNBA teams please!!!)
1. Jackie Young – Las Vegas Aces
The guard who can do it all. Young can score, she can rebound, and she can assist. Young can get any stat she wants and if she played even harder, Young could average a triple double, that’s just how she is on the court. She’s that type of player any team would want. Young is more physically prominent than some perimeter players.
Her size as a guard helps make her more versatile defensively as well as offensively than some guards who are shorter than her. Young can play multiple positions as well as defend multiple positions because of the height and her strength.
2. Asia Durr – New York Liberty
Asia Durr has a pro-ready game. She can take defenders off the dribble and is hard to guard being a lefty. Durr can score when needed and when she does in fact score, it’s in every way imaginable. She’s got a mid-range game that will test opponents and can even stretch out beyond the three point line.
Durr is clearly one of the top candidates to win Rookie of the Year this season.
3. Tearia McCowan – Indiana Fever
The biggest player in women’s college basketball had a great influence on her team when she was on the court… No surprise there.
McCowan has unique talents, from scoring to rebounding. She one of the top choices in the Draft for strictly a defensive presence and rebounding which is crucial in basketball, but that’s not all she does. Her presence is felt on both ends of the court.
4. Katie Lou Samuelson – Chicago Sky
The walking 3 and Larry Bird’s protegé, Katie Lou Samuelson, is known for her 3 point shot, it’s her signature. The quick release and almost unlimited range compliments her frame which sets her apart from almost anyone in sports. There is a great game coming from Samuelson and she is indeed a threat on the offensive side of basketball, especially when she’s hot.
5. Arike Ogumbowale – Dallas Wings
Ogumbowale is an exciting player to watch, her passion for the game and “mamba mentality” gives her the confidence as an offensive player. The best player to ever wear an Irish jersey came up in crunch time as their No. 1 option continuously. She is probably the most offensively versatile guard in the country and I expect that to translate well into the WNBA.
6. Napheesa Collier – Minnesota Lynx
Steady improving her game, Collier is a catch in the WNBA draft. She is constantly improving her game no matter what the area is, from passing to hitting the 3 ball. An efficient player in women’s college basketball, Collier hustles on both ends of the court which is why she had over 15 doubles doubles this past college season alone.
7. Kalani Brown – Los Angeles Sparks
Brown knows her presence on the basketball court. She dominates in the paint, specifically on the low block. That is her comfort zone and she produces well there. Once she sets up there she’ll catch, turn, and hit a left hand hook over defenders with consistency.
8. Alanna Smith – Phoenix Mercury
An interior presence and a perimeter asset, Smith was one of the most versatile bigs in college basketball. Standing at 6’4, Smith shoots better than 40 percent from 3-point range. She joins some great players such as Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, and Elena Delle Donne as the only players with 1,600 points, 200 blocks, and 150 made 3-pointers in college ball.
9. Kristine Anigwe – Connecticut Sun
Anigwe is the type of player you can give the ball to and she can get her own shot on offense. Fundamentally a big, she’s an incredible finisher on the low block and is hard to stop when she’s feeling it. There’s not much to tell about her defense, but she is known for rebounding and gets steals at a great rate being the 4.
10. Brianna Turner – Pheonix Mercury
Turner is known for her blocking ability and defending is what makes her, her. Turner has good post-moves and offensive rebounding instincts.
11. Sophie Cunningham – Phoenix Mercury
An elite scorer, Cunningham is a strong leader and her teammates look towards her for leadership. She can score from anywhere on the court, but rebounding is a must if she wants to turn into a true jack of all trades. Playing physical and aggressive has made her rumored to be a dirty player, but she loves to get contact from opponents and that’s desired in the physical WNBA.
12. Chloe Jackson – Chicago Sky
A poised scoring guard who excels in the mid-range, Jackson improved as a playmaker her senior year at Baylor. With her penetrate and kick game she’s that much of a threat to opponents when she’s in the paint because of her ability to be a true playmaker as well as a solid finisher.
Full report on Jackson: Chloe Jackson WNBA Draft Evaluation
13. Paris Kea – Indiana Fever
Kea was an amazing leader for UNC the past 3 years. Though her stats won’t show it, Kea has proven herself to be a big time player who has showed up countless times at the biggest moments. Her ability to score anywhere on the court gets her going and she always steps up when her team needs her the most.
14. Jessica Shepard – Minnesota Lynx
Shepard is a dangerous offensive player who can score through double-teams as well as triple-teams. Also, a great defender on post players taller than her, she can stop defenders quite effectively. She loves to get rebounds and instantly starts to look for the outlet to begin the break.
15. Anriel Howard – Seattle Storm
Howard is a 5’11 forward with explosiveness and leaping ability which allows her to play bigger than her height. She’s a great rebounder and it shows when her rebounding is in double digits constantly. Anriel’s isn’t afraid to take contact which makes her a dual threat at the rim and from the mid-range where she has a solid J.
16. Bridget Carleton – Connecticut Sun
Bridget Carleton is a nice all around player as she was during her senior season. A shooter at heart, Carleton can in fact do a variety of things to help her team win as well as get her teammates involved. A sharp 3 point shooter, Carleton can come off the screens and knock it down with a superior catch and shoot ability. She’s a good passer and her decision making skills are amazing. She’s not afraid of contact and this shows when she attacks the rim against bigger defenders.
HM: Kiara Leslie – Washington Mystics
Leslie has a great size and athleticism for a guard. Defensively she can match up with many guards and is able to produce steals. Offensively, she can get to the rim and can also knock down open threes. There is a good balance on her offensive side. Leslie can run, jump, rebound, and finish with contact which makes her hard to stop in the paint.
Unfortunately she’s underwent meniscus surgery so she’ll be missing most of this year.
HM: Megan Gustafson – Free Agent
As a post player, it’s rare to see a big whose game is primarily about quickness and efficiency, which fit perfectly for Iowa’s up-tempo game and spread offense. Gustafson can outrun most bigs and is a great finisher if she’s on a fast-break. If she continues working on her jump shot, Gustafson will be hard to stop in the WNBA and will make her a threat on offense.
The Dallas Wings surprisingly waived her before this season began which is why she is not ranked. Hopefully, she’ll get her chance soon though!