July 15, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Margo Dydek, the Poland post patrol

At 7'2, Dydek had a unique defensive presence and remains the WNBA's all-time leader in blocks

It’s time for another installment of our WNBA Retrospect series at Locked on Women’s Basketball! The series reviews old game film, news reports, stats and more to determine who has been the best prospect in the history of the WNBA. Last week, Hunter Cruse and Em Adler discussed the 1997 No. 1 overall pick, Tina Thompson. This week, they join Lincoln Shafer to discuss Polish star Margo Dydek, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998 and the tallest player in WNBA history at 7’2.

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Lincoln talks about the impact Dydek had defensively at her height:

“To have that kind of height, especially in an era before [the] defensive three seconds [rule] … before there were rules in place to keep people from just standing under the rim and blocking as many shots as they could, that’s what she was really good at. And that’s what the rules allowed her to do defensively. So that kind of defensive presence is one of the big things that brought value to teams that she played for.”

Em explains how that height translated beyond shot-blocking:

“It’s not like she was just tall and couldn’t do anything with it. … This is functional height. In the couple of years preceding this draft, she was putting up about 15 points a game in the EuroLeague playoffs, compounding that with about nine rebounds and about one and a half assists per game … Being able to put up those numbers and being able to be that effective is a real accomplishment.”

Dydek went on to play 11 WNBA seasons and was a two-time All-Star. She still ranks first in WNBA history with 877 career blocks, and she averaged 10.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 assists in 323 career games.

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