April 6, 2023 

Who’s Next — The Next’s 2023 WNBA Draft Board v2.0

In-depth scouting reports on every potential major contributor

Welcome to The Next’s draft board, the most detailed 2023 WNBA draft resource available outside a team’s actual war room, brought to you by Em Adler and Hunter Cruse, with significant input from Lincoln Shafer. We have full profiles, including physicals, roles, full scouting reports, and player comparisons! Player profiles are condensed, so click “show more” on each player to see their full report.

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Tiering off prospects is important, so we continue to use the baseball approach: “future value,” on a scale of 20-80. These numbers translate to: 20 — draftable; 30 — reserve; 40 — rotation-caliber; 45 — top-end backup; 50 — average starter; 55 — above-average starter; 60 — All-Star caliber; 70 — All-WNBA caliber; 80 — MVP candidate. Having a 45 FV is nothing to scoff at — a median outcome as an average player is real good, given what a crapshoot most of the draft is.

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Players’ tiers say nothing about their ceilings or floors, just what we think their average outcome is likely to be.

Some notes before we get to the list:

  • The board is as long as there are players that we’d be willing to give solid minutes to, if we were WNBA general managers. You may be wondering why some notable names that show up in others’ mock drafts are missing here; that is why.
  • We like players with clearly definable roles. Players who do a lot of things fairly well are a lot harder to give minutes to than ones who are great at a handful of things.
  • Positions listed aren’t what they play right now, but what I expect them to play in the pros. For example: Taylor Mikesell played combo guard for Ohio State, but since we don’t see much playmaking translating to the next level, we have her as an off-ball guard in the W.
  • Ages reflect what age the player will be for the majority of the upcoming WNBA season.
  • This class is a noticeable drop-off from last year: My final 2022 board had five players at least 45 FV and 18 players at least 35 FV; this year, we’ve got three at least 45 FV and only eight players above a 30 grade.

So without further ado:

(Offensive and defensive roles are per Basketball Index)

70 FV

1. Aliyah Boston, center, South Carolina

Age: 21

Height: 6’5

Wingspan: 6’9.5

Offensive style: Post scorer

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: Brionna Jones, DeAndre Ayton

Rare is it that a player has both an elite floor and a Hall of Fame ceiling. But that’s Aliyah Boston.

It may seem strange to say that a player who’s ranked in the 99th percentile in scoring efficiency three of the past four years is at her best defensively. But that’s exactly who Boston is. She’s an excellent horizontal athlete, with excellent core flexibility and acceleration and very good lateral quickness. Her rim protection and overall help defense are elite, from absurdly perfect positioning to constantly looking for opportunities to help teammates. She may be the perfect drop big, effortlessly processing multiple off-ball actions around her while still managing her positioning against handlers and rollers. And she defends drives from the perimeter pretty well for a center.

As previously hinted, Boston is far from an offensive slouch. No defender has been able to even slow her from getting what she wants, thanks to an essentially perfect collection of post tools: excellent patience, an extremely active adjustment of her moves to adapt to defensive tendencies, elite footwork, great fluidity out of the triple-threat, and excellent all-around finishing. She’s a great elbow hub as well, having shot 47.9% on long paint twos over the past two years, plus very good handoff screening and good high-low passing. And did I mention her unstoppable motor?

The list of things Boston isn’t great at is not long, but they’re worth noting. On both ends, she’s a surprisingly limited vertical athlete. Defensively, she’s not someone you feel good about switching with, she’s mediocre hedging as she sticks to handlers too long and leaves pops or rolls open, and her footwork on closeouts is a bit too heavy, which makes it difficult for her to do anything but run spot-up players off the line. Offensively, Boston can struggle on occasion with blindside doubles, has a bad 3-point shot that hasn’t improved over time, and has unspectacular burst which makes her a poor driver. Her bag is also merely “okay,” in part thanks to a stiff dribble and a habit of finishing with both hands laying it up.

Boston is also a plus-plus rebounder, aggressive on the boards with extraordinarily strong hands.

Why she’ll succeed: Away from the drop-exclusive scheme in Columbia, S.C., Boston develops into a solid hedge big, making her into a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate. In concert with the combination of physical and cognitive tools that make her an excellent play-finisher, she’s one of the highest-impact and most reliable players in the WNBA.

Why she’ll fail: Boston only being able to defend in drop prevents her from reaching the upper echelon among defenders, and her offensive abilities cap out at great play-finishing, making her more of an invaluable All-Star than a true superstar.

Ceiling comps: Lisa Leslie, Tim Duncan

Floor comps: Erika de Souza, Rudy Gobert with better finishing

50 FV

2. Jordan Horston, big wing, Tennessee

Age: 22

Height: 6’2

Wingspan: 6’6

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Point of attack/helper

Similar to: Tiffany Hayes, Jimmy Butler

On Dec. 4, 2022, Jordan Horston played with Tamari Key for the last time. Horston had played all 85 of her career games alongside the paint-bound center, until Key was ruled out for the rest of the 2022-23 season with blood clots (she’s been expected to make a full recovery). And whether you think Horston’s play since the paint opened up is her true talent or is just a hot streak should inform how highly you value her in this draft.

To make a long story short: Before Key’s blood clots, Horston had been one of the least efficient offensive players in the country, with an exceptionally poor shot diet and an over-ambitious eye for playmaking, despite excellent talent; the combination of Tennessee’s atrocious spacing and lack of off-ball movement and Horston being forced to play point guard had made it difficult to separate her play from her environment. But things have changed. The Vols tasked Horston with a bit less halfcourt offensive initiation this year, and without Key, they’ve been forced to play better athletes at the five, opening up space in the paint and creating better movement. With a more wing-type role at the three and some minutes at the four, Horston’s stats have seen significant improvement (her scoring efficiency and turnover rate both jumped over 30 percentiles). She’s gotten to the paint and finished much more efficiently than ever before, and showed a decent feel for shot-selection in that time.

As a scorer, Horston has a very good floater and an average-to-above-average jump shot — the former has always been good, the latter hadn’t approached average efficiency until this year, per Synergy. Her jumper form is quite good and mechanically stable and she’s a solid free-throw shooter, suggesting it could improve with better development at the pro level. She’s also a good, athletic finisher and has been able to get to the rim more in Key’s absence, but she often settles for trickier finishes rather than trying to draw a foul. As a handler, Horston has gotten quite good at using her athletic advantages and her good footwork off the dribble to get downhill, which plays well with her quality crossover. She’s also very good at using ball screens to free herself and open up offense in the PnR, and has been developing the ability to change speeds off the dribble to better manipulate defenders. Her passing ability is excellent all around — this is the second-straight draft with a wing as its best passer — and her decision-making and accuracy are great when her feet are set, but can be questionable in the PnR. She does keep her eyes scanning while driving and is extremely active at hitting open shooters and cutters.

Defensively, there’s little to question for Horston. She’s an elite defensive playmaker, provides excellent ball-pressure, and is great at jumping into and generally disrupting passing lanes. She’s got very good help instincts but doesn’t allow herself to get beaten by back cuts, and is good at preventing post position when switched onto a big. And she’s a plus rebounder. Her lone clear weaknesses are subpar footwork at the point of attack (POA), which can lead to quick guards beating her off the dribble, and relatively poor closeouts on account of her not breaking down and just running everyone off the line.

Why she’ll succeed: The past four-plus months are indicative of Horston’s true talent, someone good enough at putting the ball in the hoop that teams are happy to get her defense and playmaking on the court.

Why she’ll fail: Horston had the best stretch of her collegiate career (from a process perspective, at least) at the right time, but is still the same as she was from 2019-22: a talented player who lacks a role in which she can be an efficient contributor.

Ceiling comps: Franz Wagner, if Brittney Sykes was tall and a good playmaker

Floor comps: Jalen McDaniels with even less shooting, tall Alex Bentley

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45 FV

3. Diamond Miller, wing, Maryland

Age: 22

Height: 6’2

Offensive style: Slasher

Defensive style: Helper

Similar to: Darius Bazley, Diamond DeShields

Diamond Miller dealt with a nagging knee injury throughout the 2021-22 season, one that required offseason surgery and caused her to look less like the long, athletic, ball-of-energy wing that earned her First Team All-Big Ten honors in 2021. It’s safe to say Miller has now returned to her pre-injury form.

Miller’s biggest strengths start with the anthropometric side of things: she is 6’3 with long arms, wide shoulders, and a rather skinny frame that allows her to be nimble on her feet through tight windows. She leverages her physical advantages, motor and instincts to ignite early offense, ranking in at least the 93rd percentile in transition offense frequency every year, according to Synergy. Miller is also an incredible downhill force in the halfcourt, with a bevy of finishing moves such as a step-through, Euro step and spin to generate space and draw fouls at an absurd rate, despite constantly drawing the attention of help defenders. She does have ball-handling limitations, sometimes getting loose with the ball and allowing defenses to speed up her internal metronome faster than she’s able to process. Additionally, Miller flashes some fascinating passing ability in drawing help and finding weakside shooters — but where her playmaking excels in transition, the process is extremely come-and-go in the halfcourt.

Miller is also a more-than-willing shooter, but her accuracy has dropped each of the past three seasons, from a 35.5% 3P% on 107 3-point attempts per game as a sophomore to 22.0% on 91 attempts as a senior.

Defensively, Miller displays monstrous impact as a roamer, ranking in the 95th percentile in steal rate and the 93rd in block rate this past season, per Her Hoop Stats. That’s as much due to her physical gifts as it is her ability to recognize teammates’ blown coverages to help contest at the rim and her feel for digging and doubling. She’s less stellar as an on-ball defender, though, given her heavy feet at the POA and tendency to defend upright with a high center of gravity. She also lacks the requisite strength to defend stronger forwards and bigs in the post.

There’s not many prospects in recent memory with the athletic profile and tools of Miller, which makes her defensive projection tough. If she can improve on the footwork and mitigate foul trouble while continuing to generate turnovers, there’s a plus defensive outcome in her future. As to whether these are actually plausible improvements, basketball coaches and scouts we’ve spoken to say not to hold your breath.

Why she’ll succeed: Miller’s tools make her rim pressure, finishing and transition skills an easy translation to the WNBA, and she is able to improve her POA footwork a tick, enabling her to guard lower-usage wings when she’s not actively providing help defense.

Why she’ll fail: The jump in game speed from college to the pros exacerbates Miller’s unstable internal metronome, neutering her ability to be a reliable slasher, while her defensive limitations allow defenses to target her in ball screens.

40 FV

4. Haley Jones, point forward, Stanford

Age: 22

Height: 6’1

Wingspan: 6’4

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler/slasher

Defensive style: Helper

Similar to: Myisha Hines-Allen with less post defense, Ben Simmons with less perimeter defense

When we gave Haley Jones a 45 FV on our preseason board, we were baking in the expectation that her game would see notable growth in one area or another. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.

Every scout agrees that Jones’ defense is outstanding. She’s smart, flips her hips quickly, and positions her body well on second-side drives. Her frame allows her to hold her own against most players in the post, and she closes out space quickly and contests vertically all over the court. And her communication, active hands and high processing level allows her to bring added value as a team defender in backline help and interior switches. She doesn’t necessarily have the footspeed or core flexibility to defend lead guards over ball screens, and her footwork and overall strength don’t hold up against true post threats, limiting her versatility.

Jones’ biggest offensive strength is her ability to drive efficient offense in transition. She has good top speed but mediocre burst and poor acceleration, so she needs great spacing to thrive. Her inability to take or make 3-point jumpers means she needs the ball in her hands to be effective, but defenders almost always go under on ball screens when Jones is the ball-handler and she struggles to create separation as a driver. She does manipulate defenses well on drives with her steady pace, strength and ability to piece together moves. She also has good touch around the rim, mixing in floaters, runners, some post-ups and underhanded and reverse finishes. As a result, Jones flashes excellent body control and footwork on contested drives and finishes, but is inconsistent in finishing and being able to get to her spots.

Jones’ outside shot has a long way to go. She doesn’t generate enough power from her lower body, which is especially clear on 3-point jumpers, and her form is broken down into two elongated motions. She isn’t afraid to rise into free-throw line jumpers or take fadeaways in the mid-post, although unstable upper-body mechanics on pull-up jumpers make her accuracy extremely inconsistent.

Why she’ll succeed: Jones makes strides in at least a couple of her biggest weaknesses — shot-making, switchability, driving-and-finishing, live-dribble playmaking — and becomes one of the most uniquely valuable role players in the WNBA.

Why she’ll fail: There’s a fine line between Draymond Green and Ben Simmons, and Jones failing to improve her post defense, perimeter defense or live-dribble playmaking leaves her as a tweener without a consistently positive impact on either end.

Ceiling comps: Alyssa Thomas, Draymond Green

Floor comps: Cody Martin, Storm Sheryl Swoopes

Grace Berger begins to flick her wrist as the ball leaves her hand on a jump shot over an outstretched defender.
Indiana point guard Grace Berger (34) tied a game-high 18 points to help the Hoosiers win their final non-conference game. (Photo credit: Indiana Athletics)

5. Grace Berger, point guard, Indiana

Age: 24

Height: 6’0

Wingspan: 6’2

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Helper

Similar to: Layshia Clarendon, Malcolm Brogdon without the 3-pointer

With Grace Berger, there’s a lot to be bullish on: she’s 6’ with point guard skills, wing strength, quick feet, decent shot-creation and serious polish.

To that last point, Berger shot 45.5% on non-paint twos this season, putting her above the 90th percentile in both midrange efficiency and attempt rate, per CBB Analytics. She is a savant using ball screens, leveraging her combination of size, speed, and strength to easily get to her spots for a quick, smooth, stable midrange jumper. She also uses her size to get buckets from short range if she’s matched up against a smaller defender. Berger gets there with her ability to dribble through a phonebooth, with a tight handle and a decent bag, and an improved ability to keep her dribble alive through probing and reversing out if she can’t find a lane. She’s a great playmaker, both in her vision off the dribble and her ability to make skip, kick-out, dump-off and entry passes. Overall, Berger only tries offensively what she knows she can do, and what she can do she does excellently.

Berger’s combination of tools and skills shines on defense as well. Her size, strength and technique allow her to legitimately guard 1-3, as a good POA defender who can easily defend both over and under ball screens and physically deter drivers from getting downhill. Berger also has an excellent feel for providing one-pass-away help and locking-and-trailing cutters, plus an excellent ability to jump passing lanes. Fairly mediocre agility does force her to overshade at the POA at times and limits her ability to match up against quicker guards on a regular basis.

The biggest question on Berger’s scouting report is the outside shooting. She is a career 30% shooter on very low volume. She has said that she’s worked a lot on her 3-pointer, and though did shoot 40.0% from deep this year, that came on 1.1 tries per game — just 27 total attempts. She struggles to keep her shooting form consistent beyond the arc, tending to not transfer enough power from her base with the same quickness in release that she has in the midrange.

Why she’ll succeed: Berger’s extremely polished game makes her a plug-and-play from Day One, someone with a high floor and array of ways to be useful in a league desperate for backup point guard play.

Why she’ll fail: Berger’s midrange efficiency falls just enough to go from a strength to an inefficient scoring approach, and the increase in athleticism in the WNBA significantly lessens the uniqueness of her skillset.

Ceiling comps: also Layshia Clarendon, Warriors Shaun Livingston

Floor comps: Magic Michael Carter-Williams, late-career Elaine Powell

6. Maddy Siegrist, big wing, Villanova

Age: 23

Height: 6’1

Wingspan: 6’2.5

Offensive style: Shot-creator

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: T.J. Warren, Marcus Morris

Maddy Siegrist is one of the most dominant scorers in college basketball history. She is the Big East’s all-time leading scorer, holds the single-game Big East record for points in a game (50) and is among the top 25 career-scoring leaders in the history of the sport. And yet, it’s a little unclear whether that will translate to a productive WNBA career.

Siegrist is a blue-chip shooting prospect with consistent and unbelievably strong mechanics, a nearly unblockable jumper thanks to a release point equivalent to someone 6’4 and the fluidity and coordination to knock down shots from all three levels. Unlike other elite shooters, Siegrist doesn’t have movement shooting chops, partially due to the fact that a closeout doesn’t impact her flow, and partially because she moves the game at her own speed: Siegrist will get to her spots, execute pull-up midrange jumpers out of triple threat and manipulate mismatches both vertically and horizontally in the mid-post. Additionally, Siegrist is a great cutter and an elite finisher.

Despite Siegrist’s heliocentric role, she never turns the ball over. She and Elena Delle Donne (x2) are the only collegiate players since 2009-10 to record a 35% usage rate and less than an 8% turnover rate in the same season, according to Her Hoop Stats. That’s indicative of her plus passing for her position.

But Siegrist’s offense isn’t all green. She has a choppy handle, subpar burst and struggles to generate separation as a driver. More importantly, it’s hard to envision how her game would scale down from one of the highest-usage players in college to a smaller professional role. Nevertheless, she has a bankable spot-up jumper, diverse shot profile and high feel for the game that gives promise for her WNBA offensive projection.

On defense, Siegrist is the classic tweener: at 6’1, she isn’t quick enough to defend most 3s, but isn’t tall or a good enough vertical athlete to provide plus interior value in the post. The ideal outcome for Siegrist (within reason) is just to not be enough of a negative to play herself off the court. To meet that goal, she’ll just need to fill gaps, make sound rotations without giving up back cuts and continue using her hands to cause disruption at the rim.

Why she’ll succeed: Siegrist either scales down her usage while improving her passing ability or ramps up her 3-point attempt rate, shifting into a valuable offensive role in which she can toggle between bucket-getter and ball-mover.

Why she’ll fail: Siegrist’s offense continues to be built around extended on-ball reps and mid-post creation, which coupled with her tweener defense leaves her without a productive role on either end.

Ceiling comps: Glenn Robinson, Eva Nemcova

Floor comps: Sam Hauser, Kennedy Burke

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30+ FV

7. Maïa Hirsch, center, Villeneuve

Age: 19

Height: 6’5

Offensive style: Roll & cut big

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: Onyeka Okongwu with an off-ball game, Amanda Zahui B.

Versatility is the name of the game today. There are fewer and fewer post-bound centers in the WNBA by the season, due to modern pace-and-space tactics, so it’s vital to have multifaceted defenders. Enter 19-year-old French big Maïa Hirsch.

Hirsch is in her first season with Villeneuve-d’Ascq, a top club in the first division in France. She has been a rare defender for her age, with the ability to provide value in various ball screen coverages: she can blitz, hedge and recover, defend at the level, drop and ICE offensive players thanks to her low center of gravity and light feet. Off the ball, she covers a hell of a lot of ground on closeouts, and is very good tagging and trapping the box. Her ability to navigate space and positioning stands out, contributing to excellent shot-contesting. Though she can sometimes be a bit handsy on defense, that is expected for a post who’s both incredibly active and young (see: Magbegor, Ezi). Another notable limitation is her tendency to face her assignment while chasing, which neuters her ability to provide help.

On offense, Hirsch’s role has been rather simple on a team with Kennedy Burke and Kamiah Smalls, two former WNBA players. Her screening is inconsistent, but when she lands the pick, it’s a good one. She’s a good team passer, and has a fluid catch-and-shoot jumper, even if her footwork leaves something to be desired. Hirsch has incredible touch as a finisher on the short roll, although she’s been poor at drawing fouls. Her cutting instincts are quite good, as is her feel for off-ball movement, though she can be aimless on the backside at times. Whether she has a post game is unclear; Villeneuve basically never asked her to create offense.

Hirsch is the youngest prospect on our board, with intriguing practicality as a draft and stash option. With that in mind, it’s important to note that her aforementioned weaknesses — namely, handsy-ness on defense, facing-up to off-ball defenders, inconsistent screening, not drawing fouls, aimless movement — are exactly the kinds of skills that players of Hirsch’s age almost always improve on over time. Her advanced impact both defending primary actions and providing off-ball offensive value makes her extremely projectable into a valuable role player.

Why she’ll succeed: Hirsch continues to build on her defensive repertoire, adds strength to refine her jumper, develops a respectable in-between game and learns to draw fouls.

Why she’ll fail: Hirsch does not make meaningful offensive strides and isn’t comfortable improving her help positioning on defense.

Ceiling comps: Shakira Austin with a jumper, Jaren Jackson Jr.

8. Taylor Soule, combo forward, Virginia Tech

Age: 23

Height: 5’11

Offensive style: Athletic finisher

Defensive style: Wing stopper

Similar to: Alex Montgomery, Isaac Okoro without a 3-pointer

If you believe that Taylor Soule is actually 5’11, then she might be a non-prospect. If you believe she’s at least 6-foot, as was mentioned on the podcast hosted by Hokie stars Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore, then Soule is one of the most exciting players in the class. We tend to side with the latter.

At Boston College, Soule was a featured midrange scorer, but changed her game in Blacksburg, Va. She’s become a connective player, switching between screening-and-rolling, attacking closeouts, and even the occasional bit of paint passing to open shots for other bigs. And those changes have made her an incredibly valuable role player: As a screen-and-roller, she is very good getting contact and timing her screens and managing her roll angles; attacking closeouts, she combines very good lateral quickness and decent burst, a well-controlled dribble and excellent, athletic finishing through contact. If the defense isn’t in rotation, though, she often has noisy footwork at the POA against capable matchups and notably worse finishing against set paint help. Either way, she’s a decent passer at the 3 and a plus at the 4, and has a very good feel for cutting. When defenses take away the drive, a decent pull-up jumper gives her a better counter than that of most tertiary or quaternary scoring options.

Where Soule’s offense is about filling in gaps, she simply stands out on defense. Excellent burst and rotational flexibility and elite lateral quickness make her adept guarding 2 through 4 and capable of adding value hedging or switching. At the POA, she has great screen navigation for a forward, able to fight over and funnel handlers into help and to go under and meet handlers square on the other side. And against drivers, Soule side-shuffles excellently while absorbing contact and directing them away from the rim. She’s also fairly good at preventing post position and disrupting entry passes.

Why she’ll succeed: Soule has the length to play the 3 and 4 at the next level, her defensive versatility makes her a swiss army knife able to play in any scheme and with any teammates and her offensive feel and finishing allow her to comfortably fit into a complementary offensive role.

Why she’ll fail: It turns out that Soule is indeed 5’11, and having a forward’s athleticism and no 3-point jumper at that height makes her a negative offensively while allowing the league’s better forwards to simply shoot over her.

Ceiling comps: Dunk-less Aaron Gordon, reverse Kayla Thornton

Floor comps: Romeo Weems, Dream Nia Coffey

30 FV

9. Taylor Mikesell, off-ball guard, Ohio State

Age: 23

Height: 5’11

Offensive style: Off-screen shooter

Defensive style: Low activity

Similar to: Isaiah Joe, Marine Johannès with much less playmaking

Taylor Mikesell is the most talented perimeter shooting prospect since Sabrina Ionescu or Kelsey Mitchell. Unlike those two, Mikesell brings almost nothing else of significant value to the table, but boy did she pick a valuable skill to be exceptional at.

Mikesell’s 3-pointer is elite in every way — she’s a career 43.2% off the catch and 32.8% off the dribble from behind the arc, with a one-motion catch-and-shoot and extremely quick, stable pull-up form. Her footwork is exceptional in both areas, quickly setting her feet in midair or mid-dribble, exacerbating her great burst and lateral quickness. The shot plays up thanks to her elite perimeter movement, with high activity lifting, lowering and sliding into open passing lanes and her eagerness to receive DHOs or boomerangs.

Mikesell makes fairly good use of counters when her shot is taken away, a solid two-player-game passer with a great jab step helping her get to an elite floater. She creates space well for both her perimeter shots and that floater with an effective shimmy, and she is able to keep defenders on her hip to open her floater or a bank shot closer to the rim. She does have a strong preference for driving right, though, and has very little ability to make contested finishes.

The hope is that Mikesell’s current defensive ability is in large part a function of playing for coaches not known for developing halfcourt defensive skills. Because what she’s shown so far isn’t exactly WNBA-caliber. She’s quite poor at navigating ball screens — she overplays them in hopes of forcing the handler to reject so she won’t have to fight over, and can’t shuffle her feet well enough to recover against drivers if she’s going under — and struggles working around the roller in PnRs. Mikesell does show pretty good off-ball positioning, especially splitting between her perimeter assignment and a dig, but otherwise is just low impact.

Why she’ll succeed: The shot translates both on and off the ball, making Mikesell an extremely useful offensive piece even as she gives some of that value back when teams hunt her on the defensive end.

Why she’ll fail: The W is not a league that likes shooters without other topline skills, and when Mikesell’s floater hits less against professional athletes, her shooting isn’t enough to make up for her lack of on-ball and defensive value.

Ceiling comps: Seth Curry, shorter Nicole Powell

Floor comps: Tevin Brown, Keisha Hampton

UConn players Aubrey Griffin (left), Amari Deberry (middle) and Lou Lopez Sénéchal (right) celebrate on the bench during UConn's first round NCAA Tournament matchup on Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023. (Photo Credit / UConn women's basketball Twitter)
UConn players Aubrey Griffin (left), Amari Deberry (middle) and Lou Lopez Sénéchal (right) celebrate on the bench during UConn’s first round NCAA Tournament matchup on Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023. (Photo Credit / UConn women’s basketball Twitter)

10. Lou Lopez Sénéchal, off-ball guard, UConn

Age: 24

Height: 6’1

Offensive style: Movement shooter

Defensive style: Low activity

Similar to: Furkan Korkmaz, Sugar Rodgers

If you like Taylor Mikesell’s game, but would prefer to trade some of the pull-up threes and some off-ball movement for better cutting and more size, then Lou Lopez Sénéchal is the prospect for you.

Like Mikesell, Sénéchal is an excellent shooter, with a 42.4% mark on catch-and-shoot threes since her freshman year. Her form on those shots is a little long in her lower body, but she’s smooth and has enough length that it does not enable defenders to easily contest it. Like Mikesell, Sénéchal’s pull-up jumper is quick and stable, and Sénéchal needs no dribble to steady herself into long shots off DHOs. She has an unbelievable awareness of her positioning on the court relative to the basket, instinctively able to hit from anywhere in the halfcourt.

On the ball, she is extremely quick using or rejecting ball screens, freeing herself of defenders for open shots excellently against most coverages, though her lack of a crossover or reverse leaves her vulnerable against good hedges. She’s quite comfortable taking one- or two-dribble jumpers — a little too comfortable, given that these always end up a foot inside the arc. Off the ball, Sénéchal moves well around the perimeter (though not as well as Mikesell) and is a great cutter, quickly getting to her spots and immediately vacating if she’s denied.

On the other end of the court, Sénéchal struggles with footwork, proprioception and positioning in ball screen actions, and rarely seems to communicate with teammates. She offers no help defense outside of 2.9ing, is mediocre at ball-denial, closes-out extremely flat-footedly and has extremely poor awareness of transition assignments. Her clear strength is the ability to chase without needing to face-up to her assignment.

Why she’ll succeed: The shooting translates both on and off the ball and the cutting keeps defenders from overcommitting to her 3-pointer, making Sénéchal an extremely useful offensive piece despite the defensive issues.

Why she’ll fail: Sénéchal lacking elite perimeter off-ball movement means her shot doesn’t play up in the W as much as it did in college, and her on-ball defensive problems make her an easy target for opposing offenses.

Ceiling comps: Shanna Zolman with less pull-up shooting, Kevin Huerter with less passing

11. Shaneice Swain, combo guard, Canberra

Age: 20

Height: 5’9

Wingspan: 6’2

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Chaser/low activity

Similar to: Kira Lewis Jr., pre-injuries Bria Hartley

Australia develops more WNBA players than any other country outside North America. The next generation of Aussie talent has started with Seattle’s Ezi Magbegor and Jade Melbourne, and is continuing with Shaneice Swain, a teammate of Melbourne’s on the WNBL’s UC Capitals. Swain’s combination of prodigious talent, athleticism and age places her among the legitimate prospects in this draft class.

Swain has a lot of valuable guard skills, from her downhill driving and passing chops to her spot-up shooting and ability to catch fire from deep. As a downhill driver, she can generate paint touches with or without a screen, harnessing her crafty handle, quick first step and her ability to stop-start and change speeds off the bounce. Though she tends to struggle with finishing through contact, she manages to incorporate floaters, runners and scoop lay-ups to evade defenders.

What makes Swain a particularly intriguing prospect is her flashes of secondary playmaking; she demonstrates the ability to find cutters, bigs on the short roll and make an array of live-ball reads against aggressive coverages. It’s not always green for Swain, though. She tends to force post-entries and skip passes, indicated by her high turnover rate. But she turns just 20 years old this June, so it’s likely that the passing will clean up as the game continues to slow down for her.

As a shooter, there’s a lot to like with Swain. She shot 36.2% from beyond the arc on 5.8 attempts per game this season, and ended her WNBL season with back-to-back games of 25 or more points on massing shooting volume, despite her two opponents featuring a plethora of WNBA talent. Most of her 3-pointers were spot-up jumpers on the receiving end of a mind-boggling Melbourne pass, and Swain has a fluid, one-motion release. She’ll need to clean up her landing positions, though, as her feet tend to move inward and twist, increasing the risk for ankle injuries.

Swain’s defensive game is twofold. She’s light on her feet and laterally quick with active hands, albeit often late to recognize initial actions and struggles to fully go over ball screens. She doesn’t profile as a POA stopper, which combined with her unexceptional size limits the upside on her defensive projection.

Why she’ll succeed: Swain’s off-ball shooting remains productive, and improvements to her processing make her ability as a driver even more lethal, creating one of the more versatile and dangerous guards in the W.

Why she’ll fail: Swain’s poor decision-making and at-rim finishing limit her offensive usage enough that her off-ball shooting and quickness can’t make up for it, and her defense doesn’t improve enough to give her a useful role.

Ceiling comps: Natisha Hiedeman, Jordan Poole

Floor comps: Tayler Hill, Malachi Flynn

12. Laeticia Amihere, combo forward, South Carolina

Age: 21

Height: 6’4

Wingspan: 6’10.5

Offensive style: Athletic finisher

Defensive style: Wing stopper

Similar to: Jericho Sims, Herb Jones with no semblance of a jumper

Without a doubt, Laeticia Amihere has the most unique athletic profile in this class. She stands at 6’4 with a near-6’11 wingspan, fluid gazelle-like movement abilities and potent value as both an oversized wing defender and an outlet threat in transition.

Starting with defense, South Carolina gives Amihere the freedom to fly around the court and defend in many different contexts, whether that’s at the POA, sticking against top wings, using her length to provide nail help on drivers, in weakside rim protection, or chasing shooters around screens. She demonstrates superb ability in each of those roles, her combination of size and length making her a nigh impossible matchup for opposing scorers, despite her lanky frame.

Amihere was a vital defensive cog for the Canadian National Team at the 2022 FIBA World Cup, where she averaged 2.2 steals and 2.0 blocks per 40 minutes across eight games in the tournament. And at the NCAA level, she is also one of two high-major players in the senior class to record at least a 6% block rate, 2% steal rate, and 10% total rebounding rate this season. The other player? Kansas’ Taiyanna Jackson, a paint-bound center. Just truly remarkable stuff from Amihere.

On the offensive end, Amihere’s value is murky; she ranks in the fourth percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers and is just 14-of-53 from beyond the arc for her career. From a mechanical standpoint, Amihere has a slingshot release, placing the ball above her right shoulder as a launching point, then struggling to incorporate her left hand on the follow-through.

Additionally, Amihere brings superb value as a connective passer, making post-entry passes and finding shooters on the kick-out off dribble penetration. As WNBA.com’s Mark Schindler noted, how will a team be able to maximize her playmaking in the halfcourt if she lacks scoring gravity? The answer is unclear; it will likely come down to situational context and if her future WNBA landing spot has the player development capability to bring Amihere along slowly and clean up on her turnover tendencies, including traveling and overly ambitious scoring attempts.

Why she’ll succeed: Amihere adds a reliable jump shot, refines her discipline on both ends and continues to improve her defensive technique, making her the ultimate defensive swiss army knife with easy, plug-and-play, value-added offense.

Why she’ll fail: Amihere doesn’t develop a scoring package outside of the paint, and she can’t lean on her size and physicality advantages at the professional level.

Ceiling comps: Jaden McDaniels, Brianna Turner with more mobility

Floor comps: DiDi Richards at forward, Greg Brown III

13. Elena Tsineke, combo guard, South Florida

Age: 23

Height: 5’7

Wingspan: 5’10

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Low activity/chaser

Similar to: Courtney Williams, post-injuries Derrick Rose

Elena Tsineke picked the right time to have the best year of her career, emerging as a legitimate WNBA draft prospect. If the efficiency gains she experienced this year are indicative of real improvement, then Tsineke could be a dangerous scoring threat.

Tsineke is at her best off of ball screens, combining a smooth, consistent pull-up jumper, excellent lower body athleticism and great feel for shaking defenders to threaten scoring in just about every way. As a driver, she takes precise angles and utilizes crafty finishes from a deep bag, as well as an advanced ability to change speeds off the dribble. She has improved her rim finishing each of the past three years, from 45.3% FG% as a sophomore to 57.9% as a junior to 64.6% as a senior — a jump from the 25th percentile to the 82nd, per CBB Analytics. But her biggest progress came with her 3-point jumper, from 30.9% across her first three years to 38.1% this season. The Thessaloniki, Greece native has a compact, one-motion jumper with little dip or sway in the mechanics. And her quick-twitch athleticism and good off-ball movement allows her to run off pin-downs, flares, hammers, iversons or just slide around the horn for spot-up jumpers.

Additionally, Tsineke is a good playmaker in the two-player game, but her process gets rushed against help defenders. She doesn’t project as a true point guard as a result, as her negative assist-to-turnover ratio as a Bull shows.

On defense, Tsineke is a poor POA defender, on account of a tendency to be flat-footed and difficulty flipping her hips in space. As a chaser, she has limitations navigating screens, but is able to effectively split space between her assignment and the primary offensive action, and is smart stunting and filling.

Why she’ll succeed: Tsineke’s senior-year shooting continues, which plays up her scoring ability as a driver. The serious value of those, combined with her PnR operation, versatile shooting and increased rim pressure form a true microwave scoring threat, and she can stick enough defensively as a chaser and communicator to not give that value right back.

Why she’ll fail: Tsineke’s senior-year shooting was more of an aberration than her true talent and she’s simply not a good enough defender to stay on the court.

Ceiling comps: Rookie Odyssey Sims, Patty Mills

Floor comps: Nikki Blue, Grant Riller

14. Stephanie Soares, center, Iowa State

Age: 23

Height: 6’6

Offensive style: Stretch big

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: Alex Len, late-career Glory Johnson

We’ve seen former JUCO players become top prospects before (see: Mack, Natasha), but it’s rare, and they almost always get a couple seasons back at a high major before entering the draft. Stephanie Soares, on the other hand, spent three years playing NAIA, then went to Iowa State for 13 games before suffering a torn ACL. With some enticing flashes and some truly concerning tendencies, Soares’ prospects come down to whether three years at NAIA simply delayed her development or whether, at age 23, her habits are now mostly ingrained.

The reason why Soares is an interesting prospect is fairly simple: she’s 6’6 and has taken over two 3-pointers per game since her freshman year. The issue is that she hit just 28.0% of them, though a 76.1% free-throw percentage over that span doesn’t rule out the possibility that there is some untapped potential. Her catch-and-shoot 3-point form is consistent and compact and she moves her feet towards kick-out passes to more quickly set it up, but it’s a pronounced two-motion shot with a fairly low arc. She’s also a plus passer, with the ability to generate strong velocity with either hand off the dribble, and uses her height to find open shooters. Soares moves off the ball quite well on both ends, maximizing the gravity her size can have. Her lateral quickness, burst and coordination are also good, helping give her great verticality in contesting at the rim. She also backs down mismatches well in the post.

Those are exceptionally important skills for a center to have under her belt — again, notwithstanding the 3-point accuracy — but Soares’ weaknesses severely limit her ability to play up to her strengths. Outside of the (theoretical) long jumper and paint movement, Soares establishes post position well, but struggles to incorporate her strength in her finishing. She isn’t able to translate her lateral quickness into impactful defending in space and often drags her feet, and is terrible at closing out at every level. She has little feel for both contesting guards in space and recovering in PnR coverage, making her a negative defender in any sort of ball screen coverage.

Her finishing bag is decent, but extremely worryingly, she doesn’t fully extend her arms — effectively finishing at the same height that a 6’2 player would, which renders her height almost useless. And that’s an incredibly tough trait to redevelop.

It should also be noted that Soares’ ACL rehab means she’s a draft-and-stash for whoever selects her. For us, that’s of little consequence. But for WNBA teams, paradoxically, that’s a plus.

Why she’ll succeed: Soares finds consistent accuracy from behind the arc, while pro-level player development enables her to improve her close-outs and spatial navigation defensively, making her a reliable stretch big who gives opposing offenses fits with her size.

Why she’ll fail: Some skills are inherently tougher to improve than others, overhauling her finishing, lower-body coordination and defensive feel for space proves impossible for Soares to pull off, especially with below-average 3-point accuracy.

Ceiling comps: Kristaps Porzingis, Stefanie Dolson with rim protection

15. Leigha Brown, wing, Michigan

Age: 22

Height: 6’1

Wingspan: 6’2

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Low impact

Similar to: Romeo Langford, Aerial Powers

Imagine if Grace Berger had an even more lethal midrange jumper, a bit more burst and strength, and to varying degrees was worse at just about everything else. That’s Leigha Brown.

As suggested above, Brown’s offense revolves around her midrange jumper. That’s usually a recipe for disaster in today’s day and age, but Brown is the rare player who makes the pull-up middy an efficient look; she shot 52.1% on non-paint twos this year despite ranking in the 94th percentile among guards in midrange attempt rate, per CBB Analytics. The film backs up the stats: she’s extremely smooth getting to her spots and quick rising up, with very stable pull-up mechanics that make her shot very repeatable, and uses her rare combination of speed and strength to turn most iso possessions into mismatches and get to those spots.

Outside the middy, Brown is a bit of a mixed bag. She’s easily a plus passer for a wing, great at making reads within the structure of an offense, but would be a poor passer at point with her limitations in accuracy and velocity off the dribble and fairly mediocre improvisation. Off the ball, she is good at getting open, but otherwise demonstrates very little movement, in part because she has no real 3-pointer to her game. She is also a good rebounder. Her defense is concerning: she has the physical tools, and has shown some ability to chase around off-ball screens, but is mediocre at flipping her hips to defend drivers. Most problematically, she loves helping 15 feet off her backside assignment and wildly pointing at teammates to cover for her.

A lot of this comes down to whether the midrange jumper keeps falling. And that’s a legitimate question because, despite Brown’s numbers this season, she was just 40.3% on non-paint twos and 41.4% between eight feet and the arc for her career entering 2022-23, per CBB Analytics. Much like with Horston, it’s possible her mark this year is closer to her true talent level, as Brown played with a paint-bound big for each of her first four collegiate seasons (Kate Cain at Nebraska and Naz Hillmon at Michigan). The Wolverines often played without a big camped out in the paint this season, which helped Brown operate with more space and fewer help defenders to worry about between 10 and 15 feet from the basket.

Why she’ll succeed: Brown is indeed a midrange bucket, a skill that at her size and athleticism makes her playable enough defensively to get solid minutes as a bench scorer.

Why she’ll fail: The increased athleticism and length at the WNBA level makes Brown’s midrange shot less-than-efficient, leaving her without any way to consistently make a positive impact on the court.

Floor comps: Denzel Valentine, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with no three

Potential draft-and-stash targets

Every draft class contains a number of young international players who are draft-eligible but still require another season or two before they’re ready for the W. Though they have a better shot of turning into a top-10 player in the class than your average second- or third-round pick, teams select these players with the intention of not yet signing them to a WNBA contract while waiting to see if they continue developing towards their potential.

Txell Alarcon, off-ball guard, Araski

Age: 19

Height: 5’11

Offensive style: Movement shooter

Defensive style: Chaser

Txell Alarcon shot 41.7% on nearly 200 3-point attempts in her three years in the top Spanish league (age 17-19 seasons), so if she makes a WNBA roster at some point, it will be because of her shooting talent. To get to that point, she will need to work on scoring inside the arc, defending both on and off the ball and making high-value passes. Alarcon has a specific and defined role that every team is looking for, as a shooter and smart off-ball mover who hits spot-up looks at a good rate and has some utility with the ball in her hands, rarely making risky plays.

Claudia Contell, point guard, Jairis

Age: 19

Height: 5’10

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Point of attack

Claudia Contell was the 2022 U20 European Championships MVP, a big point guard who relishes in picking up opposing guards early in possessions and defending for the entire shot clock. That defense is the thing that catches your eye, as well as her creativity with the ball in her hands. But she struggles off the ball and doesn’t bring much value as a shooter (26% from three this season). Her path to making a WNBA roster is not clear without finding some kind of shooting touch, but her passing, handle and defense bring some intrigue as a young and draft-eligible international player.

Holly Winterburn, point guard, London

Age: 22

Height: 6’0

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Helper

Holly Winterburn spent her freshman season in 2019-20 behind Sabrina Ionescu at Oregon, before returning home to compete professionally in England. She is a creative PnR operator who averages 11 assists against 3.2 turnovers per 40 minutes in the WBBL as is a proactive passer and a tremendous table-settler. Winterburn isn’t a standout athlete, nor a knockdown shooter from beyond the arc. She also lacks the ideal burst for a lead initiator and has a noticeably long load up into her jumpers. She could bring value to a WNBA organization down the line with her mix of touch, outlier passing and size at the point guard position.

Written by Hunter Cruse


  1. MICHAEL E SHOLLER on April 6, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Awesome work
    Thank You!

    • Em Adler on April 6, 2023 at 1:17 pm

      really appreciate that, thank you!

  2. MICHAEL E SHOLLER on April 6, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Awesome work
    Thank You!

  3. Jim Dean on April 7, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Great read, draft should be really interesting.

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