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2023 WNBA Draft Open Thread

The Minnesota Lynx hold five picks entering the 2023 WNBA Draft, including the No. 2 selection which is their highest draft position since picking first in 2011.

Minnesota Lynx v Connecticut Sun Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Lynx enter the 2023 WNBA Draft in unfamiliar territory, holding their highest selection since selecting first overall in 2011. Minnesota will look to make a key addition to a team that finished outside of the playoffs in 2022 when it selects second overall in Monday’s draft.

In totality, the Lynx enter the night with five picks in the draft, which returns to the Spring Studios in New York City with 15 draftees attending. Outside of the No. 2 pick, Minnesota holds the 12th overall selection along with two picks in the second round (No. 16 and No. 24) and one in the third round (No. 28).

Draft Info

What: 2023 WNBA Draft

When: Monday, April 10, 2023 @ 6 PM CST

Where: New York City, New York


Lynx Notes

Atlanta Dream v Minnesota Lynx Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Biggest Draft Needs

The biggest needs on the Lynx roster since the conclusion of the 2022 season come at point guard and in the post. That is still the case following free agency and entering the draft, with Minnesota adding just Tiffany Mitchell to the guard group in an attempt to address those two positions.

Last summer, the Lynx still had Sylvia Fowles in the paint and found a nice temporary addition of Moriah Jefferson at point guard to fill those positions, but those two players in particular are now gone with Fowles retiring and Jefferson leading for the Phoenix Mercury in free agency.

With that said, Minnesota might not specifically address those two areas of need with the second overall pick, but that doesn’t mean the Lynx won’t try and focus on those areas with the 12th selection and the following picks in the draft. Whenever you have a top pick in any draft, especially the WNBA Draft, you pick best player available regardless of needs. That’s what the Lynx will likely do in the draft, but the point guard and post spots will be on their minds throughout the draft and leading into the start of the season.

Maryland v South Carolina Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

What Should We Expect on Draft Night?

In recent history, the Lynx haven’t really had to look at the draft as a serious way of improving the roster (with an exception being selecting Napheesa Collier in 2019). With Minnesota oftentimes being atop the league standings and making deep playoff runs annually, there hasn’t been a great need to add to the roster and the Lynx were more often than not at the bottom of each round of the draft anyway.

That’s not the case this year. For the first time in while, Minnesota has a high draft pick and will try to get a talent that can come in and contribute right away as a rookie. With that said, the Lynx have a chance to pick a solid prospect or prospects in the draft starting with the second overall pick. When it comes to that pick, the Lynx will go best player available, which is looking like it might be Maryland guard Diamond Miller. The 6-foot-3 guard has the size and skillset that will translate well to the WNBA, but is still a bit of a developmental player that will take some time to get adjusted. Other interesting names that could be considered are Stanford guard Haley Jones, Villanova forward Maddy Siegrist and Tennessee guard Jordan Horston, among others.

The Lynx could also land a few solid prospects with the four following draft picks, notably the 12th overall and 16th overall selections. Minnesota would likely try and focus on players to fill its needs with those picks if it doesn’t end up packaging a few picks together to either move up or down in the draft. The Lynx should land an impact player with the second overall pick, but what happens later in the draft for Minnesota will be interesting.

Minnesota Lynx v Los Angeles Sparks Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Season Outlook

In 2022, the Lynx were trying to put one final run together to send Fowles, the face of the franchise, out on a high note before her retirement after the season. Unfortunately for Minnesota, it couldn’t accomplish that while finishing as one of the bottom four teams in the WNBA and out of the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Now in 2023, the face of the franchise officially shifts to Collier as she steps into that leadership role on a team that is on the search for a new veteran voice post-Fowles. Leading into the draft, the 2023 roster looks similar to what we’ve seen in years past, with most of the roster returning this offseason with the exception of Fowles and Jefferson. Tiffany Mitchell has been the lone signing this offseason, adding to the guard group that still needs some work.

This summer, Collier is back at full strength after giving birth at the start of last season, which will without a doubt help the Lynx. Not having Fowles will hurt Minnesota as it continues to search for a replacement for one of the best centers in league history. As for what we could expect from Minnesota this summer, the rebuilding Lynx could struggle a bit as they work in their draft picks into the rotation and develop those players. But the focus is officially on the future and the long game for the Lynx, and that process starts in this draft and this summer in building for the future.

Minnesota Lynx v Connecticut Sun Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

Salary Cap Situation

Entering the draft, Minnesota already has a roster filled with 14 players — some of which are training camp players — with roughly $223,000 in cap space available before adding any incoming rookie contracts, according to Her Hoop Stats. If the Lynx were to sign their top three picks in the draft, that would account for roughly 208,000, leaving around $15,000 remaining under the 2023 salary cap of $1.42 million.

That would leave the Lynx will little room to make any more moves this offseason, although it’s yet to be seen how many rookie players they end up signing out of training camp and how many players on training camp deals end up making the final roster or if they are let go and relieved of their contract.

Outside of 2023 incoming draft picks, here’s the current breakdown of the Lynx roster:

  • Napheesa Collier — 2023 Salary: $202,154 (unprotected)
  • Kayla McBride — 2023 Salary: $201,984 (protected veteran)
  • Aerial Powers — 2023 Salary: $201,984 (protected veteran)
  • Natalie Achonwa — 2023 Salary: $155,100 (protected veteran)
  • Tiffany Mitchell — 2023 Salary: $135,000 (protected veteran)
  • Jessica Shepard — 2023 Salary: $120,000 (unprotected)
  • Bridget Carleton — 2023 Salary: $91,000 (protected veteran)
  • Nikolina Milić — 2023 Salary: $90,000 (unprotected)
  • Lindsay Allen — 2023 Salary: $74,305 (training camp contract)
  • Rachel Banham — 2023 Salary: $74,305 (training camp contract)
  • Damiris Dantas — 2023 Salary: $74,305 (training camp contract)
  • Maya Dodson — 2023 Salary: $62,285 (training camp contract)
  • Stephanie Watts — 2023 Salary: $62,285 (training camp contract)
  • Kiana Williams — 2023 Salary: $62,285 (training camp contract)
  • 2023 Draft Pick (No. 2) — 2023 Salary: $74,305*
  • 2023 Draft Pick (No. 12) — 2023 Salary: $68,295*
  • 2023 Draft Pick (No. 16) — 2023 Salary: $65,290*
  • 2023 Draft Pick (No. 24) — 2023 Salary: $65,290*
  • 2023 Draft Pick (No. 28) — 2023 Salary: $62,285*
    *Depends on if Lynx draft and keep this pick/player

Draft Order

Round 1:

  1. Indiana Fever
  2. Minnesota Lynx
  3. Dallas Wings (from Atlanta)
  4. Washington Mystics (from Los Angeles)
  5. Dallas Wings (from Phoenix)
  6. Atlanta Dream (from New York)
  7. Indiana Fever (from Dallas)
  8. Atlanta Dream (from Washington)
  9. Seattle Storm
  10. Los Angeles Sparks (from Connecticut)
  11. Dallas Wings (from Chicago)
  12. Minnesota Lynx (from Las Vegas)

Round 2:

  1. Indiana Fever
  2. Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Atlanta Dream
  4. Minnesota Lynx
  5. Indiana Fever (from Phoenix)
  6. Seattle Storm (from New York)
  7. Dallas Wings
  8. Washington Mystics
  9. Seattle Storm
  10. Connecticut Sun
  11. Chicago Sky
  12. Minnesota Lynx (from Las Vegas)

Round 3:

  1. Indiana Fever
  2. Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Phoenix Mercury (from Atlanta)
  4. Minnesota Lynx
  5. Phoenix Mercury
  6. New York Liberty
  7. Dallas Wings
  8. Washington Mystics
  9. Seattle Storm
  10. Connecticut Sun
  11. Chicago Sky
  12. Las Vegas Aces