October 7, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Griner, Delle Donne, Diggins-Smith and the elite 2013 WNBA Draft

How highly did our Saturday podcast crew rank this trio of stars as WNBA prospects?

Our weekly WNBA Retrospect series continues at Locked on Women’s Basketball! The series reviews game film, stats, news articles and more to determine who has been the best prospect in WNBA history. Last week, Hunter Cruse and Lincoln Shafer discussed Nneka Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. This week, Hunter, Em and Lincoln discuss the top three picks in an incredible 2013 WNBA Draft: Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins (now Diggins-Smith).

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Griner, the No. 1 pick, is a 6’9 center who averaged 22.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per game in her four collegiate seasons. She won several national player of the year awards in her final two seasons and led her team to a national championship and 40-0 season in 2011-12.

The Saturday crew graded each prospect on their future value using a 20-80 scale, where 20 is a draftable player, 50 is an average starter and 80 is a WNBA MVP candidate. Lincoln gave the collegiate Griner a grade of 80:

“I think that, of all the great prospects that we’ve covered so far, BG might have the greatest disparity between her floor and her ceiling because to me, there’s there’s not really a world where she’s not an all-star. But to be an all-star, a lot of the times, that player doesn’t have the same ceiling as BG. … A few fixes, and she’s like the greatest player of all time, [so] I don’t see a way to not give her an MVP-level grade.”

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However, Em was a little lower on Griner, giving her a grade of 70. That translates to projecting her as an All-WNBA caliber player in the future.

“I genuinely can’t get to an 80 … This is a player sort of confined to 16 feet. Even for as good as she is, it’s not otherworldly dominance in terms of the production. It’s very good, but it’s not otherworldly. … If she could just drive from the elbow to 8 feet, 7 feet, into a post-up or into a layup, for me, I would consider her the most unstoppable offensive player of all time. But since she doesn’t, I don’t …

“For me, this is a soft [70] … I see as much potential for a sort of perennial lower-end all-star as an MVP candidate.”

Watch or listen to the full podcast to hear the grades Em, Hunter and Lincoln gave Delle Donne and Diggins. And make sure to subscribe to the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

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