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Minnesota Lynx Land Five Players in Strong 2023 WNBA Draft

The Lynx ended up selecting five players in Monday’s WNBA Draft, putting together one of the strongest nights of any team in the draft.

2023 WNBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Holding a total of five picks in the 2023 WNBA Draft, including their highest selection since 2011 with the second overall pick, the Minnesota Lynx came into the three-round draft process with a total of five picks with a chance to add some serious talent ahead of the 2023 season.

By the end of the night, the Lynx wound up putting together one of the best overall drafts of any WNBA team while addressing needs on the team at both guard and in the post. Minnesota ended up holding onto all five picks, selecting multiple players who many had projected would go higher than where the Lynx ended up drafting them.

It was the first draft as General Manager for Clare Duwelius, whom Lynx Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve had high praise for.

“In terms of the preparation, I think that’s what makes the draft night go. ... the planning and preparation, which Clare’s exceptional at.

A little bit different role for her in terms of not just doing setup sort of things but being immersed in decision making, as well as making sure that when picks were being made that we understood where we were going next, what we had already talked about in getting the staff pointed, you know, ‘Okay, this is where we talked about if so and so went at this pick then this is what we’re gonna do at 12.’

And so just just maneuvering in ways that was for the first time for her and I thought our synergy as a staff as a whole was really good, but particularly, obviously Clare and I.”

Here’s a look at who Minnesota added to the roster:

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament Greenville Regional-Maryland vs South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1, Pick 2: Diamond Miller

22 years old | 6’3” Guard | Maryland

28.7 mins | 19.7 points | 6.4 rebounds | 2.9 assists | 2.1 steals | 1.3 blocks

47.6 FG% | 22.0 3P% | 79.8 FT%

Minnesota kicked off its night by selecting a player many expected the Lynx to take in the weeks leading up to the draft, young guard Diamond Miller out of Maryland.

Miller is viewed as one of the best athletes atop this year’s draft class and has high potential at the professional level. The long, versatile guard struggles a bit from three but still managed to average career-high marks of 19.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks while shooting 47.6 percent from the field over 28.7 minutes in 34 games in her fourth year with the Terrapins. By the end of her collegiate career, Miller added two All-Big Ten honors and was Second Team All-America in 2023.

“I think we go ‘Okay, what’s her floor? And if we have to improve a couple of things, what are the chances of us being able to improve a couple of things?’ And we felt good about the chances of us [doing that],” Reeve said of Miller. “Diamond Miller has a tremendous work ethic, I think, by all accounts, and that’s the starting place. If you have that, and if a player will listen, you have a great opportunity to improve. That appears to be the case for for Diamond.”

Miller’s length, offensively ability and overall skillet will become a key piece to the Lynx alongside Napheesa Collier for years to come. With Minnesota how headlined by the 26-year-old Collier and 22-year-old Miller, this selection further proves that eyes are on the long game and on the future in Minnesota.

“I just remember watching Maya Moore. That’s some big shoes to fill, and I’m not filling her shoes by any means. I’m going to be Diamond Miller as soon as I step on the new city,” Miller said of how familiar she is with the Lynx. “My expectations is just to be Diamond Miller every time I step on the court and to continue to be passionate and love the game the way I always did when I was a little kid. That is what I want to do.”

Courtesy of FIBA Basketball

Round 1, Pick 12: Maia Hirsch

19 years old | 6’5” | Center

13.0 mins | 4.2 points | 2.7 rebounds | 0.7 assists | 0.3 steals | 0.3 blocks

43.2 FG% | 28.6 3P% | 100.0 FT%

To round out the first round, the Lynx used their second pick to draft Maia Hirsch, a developmental center prospect out of France who is just 19 years old, significantly younger than most players in the WNBA Draft Pool this year. As a result, she will likely be a draft-and-stash prospect.

“We loved our interview with Maya,” Reeve said. “We loved the game, we love the, obviously you guys know she’s 6-5, and she shoots the 3. As I told her, who doesn’t love, a big that shoots the 3? She’s just 19. She’s extremely passionate about playing in the WNBA. That energy was palpable. ... She’s got some skills for a young player that we were pretty impressed with, and she likes to defend as well.”

Hirsch moves very well on both ends of the floor at 6-foot-5, has a solid release on her jump shot that should translate better than her 43.2% field goal percentage and 28.6% 3-point mark suggest, and has the defensive potential to grow into a force at the heart of Reeve’s defense.

Reeve noted after the draft that Hirsch will not be playing in the WNBA in 2023, but Hirsch will be a name to follow in Minnesota in 2024 and beyond. Given Reeve’s track record finding international players like Damiris Dantas, Anna Cruz, Cecilia Zandalasini, and Nina Milić, it’s easy to be a believer in this selection.

2023 WNBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Round 2, Pick 4: Dorka Juhász

23 years old | 6’5” Forward | UCONN

33.7 mins | 14.2 points | 9.9 rebounds | 3.2 assists | 1.45 steals | 1.4 blocks

50.3 FG% | 28.9 3P% | 60.2 FT%

To begin the second round, Minnesota landed a player many thought could be selected in the latter half of the first round. Juhász is a player who is already battle-tested after spending time playing professionally in Hungary and later playing collegiately at Ohio State and UConn.

“She’s a skilled post player that can pass and rebound. ... She is a long two shooter right now at her best, she’s got good footwork.” Reeve said after the draft, complimenting the work UCONN Associate Head Coach Chris Dailey does with post players (and played a role in Collier’s development, too). “We see real potential there. I think we also see a mature player that just in terms of talking with her and just a little bit of her background, that there are things that you need when you come into a situation like a WNBA training camp.”

Juhász provides the Lynx with a versatile forward who can play both ends of the floor while having showcased her above-average size and skill. Juhász is a player that fits the Cheryl Reeve style of coaching, someone who is a smart player that can do a little bit of everything while making an impact on both sides of the game.

Juhász could fit into Minnesota’s rotation nicely once she develops a bit and gets acclimated into the professional game, especially with a need at the post position a glaring need for this team following the retirement of Sylvia Fowles.

“I’m looking forward to just going there,” Juhász said of Minnesota. “I’m definitely a very competitive person. I know they are. I know they want to win a WNBA championship. I’m just excited to go there, learn from them and start to work.”

2023 WNBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Round 2, Pick 12: Brea Beal

22 years old | 6’1” Guard | South Carolina

25.2 mins | 6.4 points | 4.3 rebounds | 2.7 assists | 0.7 steals | 1.1 blocks

41.7 FG% | 38.0 3P% | 57.7 FT%

Widely thought to be a lock for the first round entering the draft, South Carolina stopper Brea Beal fell to No. 24 overall, where the Lynx quickly selected her. Reeve and her coaching staff love competitive defense and that’s exactly what Beal brings. At 6-foot-1, the All-SEC defender has the lateral mobility and size to make life difficult for most WNBA guards, rebounds very well for her position, and is plenty strong enough to withstand the physicality of the W.

“We were thrilled at 24,” Reeve said. “In terms of how it helps us, a player with size that likes to defend, that was a stated goal of ours that we wanted to add some defense to what we’re doing.”

She will need to expand her offense game to become more of a two-way force, but she doesn’t turn the ball over and ranks better than the 80th percentile in both assists (88th) and turnovers (80th), per Her Hoop Stats.

“I think I have to learn a lot more about her offensively,” Reeve admitted. “Clearly she was a player that was talked about how her offense improved, her shot improved. She was a scorer in high school. But I gotta tell you, I really gotta get in the trenches to really understand her offense to know what she would bring to the table.”

With that said, she held opponents to shooting just 28% this season at USC, and her defense is absolutely WNBA ready and a bankable skill that should make her a great addition to Lynx training camp, at the very least. Beal is also quite familiar with Target Center, as she won a National Championship with the Gamecocks in Minneapolis last spring.

“It shows the hard work that I’ve put in,” Beal said of how it feels to be drafted in the WNBA. “Just being able to establish another role and be great at that and build all-around character, it shows my growth, my discipline and my patience. Just to see that the Minnesota Lynx was able to see that, it’s a blessing to be there.”

Ohio State v Virginia Tech Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Round 3, Pick 4: Taylor Soule

23 years old; 5’11” Forward | Virginia Tech

28.7 mins | 10.9 points | 5.6 rebounds | 1.7 assists | 1.1 steals | 0.2 blocks

51.7 FG% | 24.0 3P% | 72.6 FT%

With the fifth and final pick to round out the draft, Minnesota grabbed forward Taylor Soule, who played one season at Virginia Tech this year after a four-year career at Boston College where she was a four-time All-ACC recipient.

At Boston College, Soule was one of the primary offensive weapons on the team while averaging around or above 15 points per game in her final three seasons. In her lone season at Virginia Tech, Soule took a bit of a step back in production on offense but was still a key piece to a Hokies team that reached the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.

It might be a long-shot for Soule to reach the final roster in 2023, but she will have a shot at carving out a spot during training camp solely due to Minnesota’s need at the post position and her potential of transitioning with relative ease to the WNBA.

Draft Results

Round 1:

  1. Aliyah Boston, Indiana
  2. Diamond Miller, Minnesota
  3. Maddy Siegrist, Dallas
  4. Stephanie Soares, Washington (traded to Dallas)
  5. Lou Lopez Sénéchal, Dallas
  6. Haley Jones, Atlanta
  7. Grace Berger, Indiana
  8. Laeticia Amihere, Atlanta
  9. Jordan Horston, Seattle
  10. Zia Cooke, Los Angeles
  11. Abby Meyers, Dallas
  12. Maia Hirsch, Minnesota

Round 2:

  1. Taylor Mikesell, Indiana
  2. Shaneice Swain, Los Angeles
  3. Leigha Brown, Atlanta
  4. Dorka Juhász, Minnesota
  5. LaDazhia Williams, Indiana
  6. Madi Williams, Seattle
  7. Ashley Joens, Dallas
  8. Elena Tsineke, Washington
  9. Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu, Seattle
  10. Alexis Morris, Connecticut
  11. Katana Traylor, Chicago
  12. Brea Beal, Minnesota

Round 3:

  1. Victaria Saxton, Indiana
  2. Monika Czinano, Los Angeles
  3. Destiny Harden, Phoenix
  4. Taylor Soule, Minnesota
  5. Kadi Sissoko, Phoenix
  6. Okako Adika, New York
  7. Paige Robinson, Dallas
  8. Txell Alarcón, Washington
  9. Jade Loville, Seattle
  10. Ashten Pretchel, Connecticut
  11. Kseniya Malashka, Chicago
  12. Brittany Davis, Las Vegas