April 15, 2021 

2021 WNBA Draft Preview: Las Vegas Aces

How the Aces can add depth to an already strong roster

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Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces Twitter Account

The highly-anticipated WNBA Draft is almost upon us, and there are plenty of great prospects to choose from. But the Las Vegas Aces, who already boast a pretty strong roster, could use some depth in the frontcourt and a boost to their scoring power.

With the return of Liz Cambage, Dearica Hamby, Kelsey Plum, and 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson, and the addition of Chelsea Gray, the Aces’ best course of action may be picking up a few tough, versatile players for the vets to take under their wing.

It’s not necessarily about filling in at one certain spot, but more about finding the right players that will best fit into the play style and team culture in Las Vegas.

The Aces have 10 players on their roster and Emma Cannon on a training camp contract, creating the chance for all three draft picks to make the opening day roster.

They’re not lacking in the guard department, with Gray, Plum, Riquna Williams, and Jackie Young rounding out the backcourt, not to mention Angel McCoughtry’s versatility with the ball.

Where they do need some depth is in the frontcourt and with some strong presence in the paint.

Las Vegas has the 12th pick, then the 14th pick, and finally the 36th. Let’s take a look at what they can do with that.

Michaela Onyenwere (SF, UCLA)

Michaela Onyenwere’s physicality and ability to defend multiple positions would be a strong asset for the Aces.

Even though she only shot 29 percent from beyond the arc throughout her time at UCLA, Onyenwere’s effectiveness shined through in other ways, like her ability to charge to the basket and create her offense. She averaged 19.0 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game in her senior year at UCLA.

Onyenwere is fourth in Bruins history in points and eighth in rebounds.

Of course, good numbers don’t lie, but Onyenwere also checks all the other boxes a coach like Bill Laimbeer would look for in a young player: athleticism, work ethic, and selflessness.

Unique Thompson (PF, Auburn)

Unique Thompson isn’t just a threat from the floor, but she’s a force off the glass, too. She is Auburn’s all-time rebounds leader, while also setting a program record for double-doubles.

During her senior year, she led the SEC in rebounds (third in the nation) and shot 52 percent from the field during her career. Thompson averages 17.8 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game.

This kind of double-edged play could add even more fuel to the Aces’ offensive fire.

Aleah Goodman (SG, Oregon State)

Aleah Goodman would be a solid late pick for Las Vegas, as she is a reliable source of points from beyond the arc. Goodman led Oregon State to a successful end this season that included a pair of upsets over rival Oregon, one of which came in the Pac-12 Tournament.

She also had an impressive performance in the NCAA Tournament, where she dropped 37 points alongside nine rebounds and 11 assists in the Beavers’ two games.

Heading into the tournament, Goodman was averaging 16.1 points per game (sixth in the Pac-12), 4.8 assists per game (first in the Pac-12), and was shooting 49.4 percent from deep (second in the nation).

Goodman would round out the Aces lineup nicely as an excellent and steady rotation player.

Other team-by-team WNBA Draft previews:

Dallas Wings

Atlanta Dream

Indiana Fever

Washington Mystics

Chicago Sky

Seattle Storm

Phoenix Mercury

Minnesota Lynx

New York Liberty

Written by Sydney Olmstead

Pac-12 and Las Vegas Aces reporter.

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