November 18, 2023
Locked On Women’s Basketball: Who are the top 15 draft prospects in WNBA history?
Join our scouting team for a WNBA prospect rewind, covering Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and many more!
On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, our WNBA scouting screw returns to talk through their list of the top-15 best draft prospects of all-time. Co-hosts Hunter Cruse, Em Adler and Lincoln Shafer first explained how they evaluated each player, including how they compared players across eras.
“I think it’s really important to be able to go back and appreciate like the great players of the day … and be able to take with that an understanding of how much talent [has] changed over time,” Adler said. “Specifically over the past, I’d say less than a decade, there’s been a massive acceleration in the talent within the women’s game, and it’s absolutely incredible to see it coming through like this.”
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They started with a discussion of their top three, which included Candace Parker, Lauren Jackson, and Breanna Stewart. Regard Jackson specifically, Shafer pointed out how young Jackson was drafted to the WNBA, making her dominance all the more impressive: “LJ was drafted when she was 19 years old, and now we are seeing these college players get drafted at 22, 23. 19-year-old LJ was a better player than almost anybody in college basketball.”
The three then discussed their next tier of players, which included their top-ranked active player, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, along with A’ja Wilson, Tamika Catchings, and Maya Moore. Cruse explained just how difficult it was to rank players within each tier, but that Moore was ultimately his favorite of this group.
“I think [Moore] was just one of the best wing prospects in WNBA history … I think [there are] similarities between some prospects we’re seeing now, and just these big wings that can kind of create and do different things on the ball,” Cruse explained. “JuJu Watkins is someone that we have on our list of honorable mentions, and you’re gonna definitely see some [comparisons] there between big wing creators, good defenders, that can do to different [things] on both ends.”
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From stats to playstyles, the team also covered their No. 8–15 ranked players, as well as some honorable mentions, and explained how they defined each tier of prospects. They also discussed how programs compared, in terms of developing WNBA talent, and what makes for a successful player development program at the college level.
“Over time, it becomes very clear who’s really good at developing players, who’s kind of good at developing players, and who isn’t,” Adler said. “The real reason I brought this up is Dawn Staley is just a wizard, like the way the players improve there is ridiculous. The way that like Ty Harris came in and was very skilled, but very raw, and by the by the time she leaves you’re like ‘Oh, this is like one of the best processing players in college.'”
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