June 5, 2023 

What are the Dream getting in sharpshooting guard Taylor Mikesell?

Atlanta adds former Fever second-round draft pick

On Monday, the Atlanta Dream announced the signing of rookie off-guard Taylor Mikesell who was selected 13th in the 2023 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever and released on May 13, a week before opening night.

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The 5’10 guard fills a much-needed role in the Dream’s second unit, so let’s talk about her game, how she fits in coach Tanisha Wright’s system, and how her skillset compliments rookie Haley Jones.

Movement shooting is important

Mikesell was the No. 9 prospect on The Next’s 2023 draft board. The Ohio State product shot 41.4% from beyond the arc on 7.8 attempts per game in the 2023 season, helping the Buckeyes reach the program’s first Elite Eight since 1993.

“[With me] being a little less athletic, my shooting ability has been able to offset my athleticism at times,” Mikesell told the media on draft night.

Mikesell has a one-motion catch-and-shooter jumper and with extremely quick, stable pull-up form. Her footwork and off-ball movement is exceptional in both areas, displaying the ability to shoot off stagger screens, pin-downs, dribble handoffs, and flare screens.

She ranked in the 96th percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers and the 88th percentile on dribble jumpers in 2023, according to Synergy Sports.

Ohio State's Taylor Mikesell celebrates after a big basket as the Buckeyes completed the biggest comeback in Big Ten Conference Tournament history against Indiana at the Target Center in Minneapolis. (Photo Credit: John McClellan)
Ohio State’s Taylor Mikesell celebrates after a big basket as the Buckeyes completed the biggest comeback in Big Ten Conference Tournament history against Indiana at the Target Center in Minneapolis. (Photo Credit: John McClellan)

How does she fit in Atlanta?

Atlanta has a less complicated offensive scheme, compared to the likes of Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago. Wright’s system is built around player freedom and pace of play, similar to Kevin McGuff at Ohio State, which should allow Mikesell’s transition to the Dream to be a fluid one. 

Through five games, AD Durr is the only player in Atlanta’s second unit to attempt more than one 3-pointer per game, so pairing Durr’s volume shooting with Mikesell will improve the team’s floor spacing in bench lineups.

On the other end of the floor, Mikesell has taken strides over the last few seasons. Luckily for Atlanta, the Dream’s backup frontcourt of Naz Hillmon and Monique Billings are active enough defenders to assist Mikesell if opponents target her in ball screens as she adjusts to the speed of the league. 

How does Mikesell complement Haley Jones?

At Stanford, Jones played alongside Hannah Jump, a sharpshooting, low-usage movement shooter with real similarities to Mikesell. Ideally, Mikesell’s off-ball shooting gravity will help to open up more space for Jones to operate while Durr offers a counterbalance for defenders on the other side of the court.  

Overall, Mikesell is a tremendous fit with Atlanta’s current roster makeup and will have an opportunity to showcase herself before the organization makes another roster crunch decision when Iliana Rupert returns from EuroBasket at the end of June.

Written by Hunter Cruse

Hunter Cruse covers the Atlanta Dream and the WNBA Draft for The Next.

1 Comment

  1. Roz on June 8, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    Great article… hope she stays!!! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼

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