April 8, 2024 

Who’s Next — The Next’s 2024 WNBA Draft Board v2.0

In-depth scouting reports on every potential major contributor

Welcome to The Next’s draft board, the most detailed 2024 WNBA draft resource available outside a team’s actual war room, brought to you by Em Adler, Hunter Cruse and Lincoln Shafer. We have full profiles, including physicals, roles, full scouting reports, and player comparisons!

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Tiering off prospects is important, so we continue to use the baseball approach: “future value,” on a scale of 20-80. You can find a full breakdown of the the scale here, but for this board, the important numbers translate to: 20 — draftable; 30 — reserve; 40 — rotation-caliber; 45 — top-end backup; 50 — average starter; 55 — above-average starter; 70 — All-WNBA caliber; 80 — MVP candidate. Having a 45 FV is nothing to scoff at — a median outcome as an average player is real good, given what a crapshoot most of the draft is.

Players’ tiers say nothing about their ceilings or floors, just what we think their average outcome is likely to be.

Some notes before we get to the list:

  • The board is as long as there are players that we’d be willing to give solid minutes to, if we were WNBA general managers. You may be wondering why some notable names that show up in others’ mock drafts are missing here; that is why.
  • We like players with clearly definable roles. Players who do a lot of things fairly well are a lot harder to give minutes to than ones who are great at a handful of things.
  • Positions listed aren’t what they play right now, but what we expect them to play in the pros. For example: Jacy Sheldon played combo guard for Ohio State, but since she won’t have much playmaking primacy at the next level, we have her as an off-ball guard in the W.
  • Ages reflect what age the player will be classified as during the 2024 season.
  • This class is much stronger at the top but not too much deeper than last year: Our final 2023 board had three players at least 45 FV and eight players above 30 FV; this year, we’ve got eight at least 45 FV and 11 players above a 30 grade.
  • You can compare how our current scouts compare to our preseason impressions by viewing our preseason board here.

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So without further ado:

(Offensive and defensive roles are per Basketball Index)

80 FV

1. Caitlin Clark, point guard, Iowa

Age: 22

Height: 6′

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Low activity/helper

Similar to: If Diana Taurasi tried on defense, wing-sized Trae Young

Four months ago, we ranked Caitlin Clark as the fourth-best prospect of all time. Our only concerns were “that her defensive effort has plateaued and she can demonstrate questionable composure.” Since then, we’ve seen Clark dial it in defensively during the tournament and work her tail off without the ball for full quarters at a time. Suffice it to say that there’s no universe in which Clark is not a future All-Star at the very least.

You probably know who Clark is, so we can keep this short. She is the greatest shooting prospect in women’s basketball history and it’s not particularly close, she has an elite handle, and she has gotten continually better at working hard to get the best look she can either from three or at the rim. Her playmaking is also the best in WNBA draft history, combining elite velocity and accuracy and versatility with an extraordinary ability to leverage her scoring gravity. She draws more fouls than almost any guard, is an excellent cutter, and is superb at creating advantages out of ball screens.

Defensively, Clark is best described as fine, which for a player of her offensive usage is truly impressive. She is not easily beaten for dribble penetration, is not a complete liability on ball screens, and contests finishes. Her eyes are usually scanning for help opportunities and she does well digging and on backline assignments, though her ability to map and execute recovery closeouts can often be spotty.

Only two guards or wings in W history have ever handled massive offensive usage without being defense liabilities: Maya Moore and Angel McCoughtry. Clark’s skill set is truly unprecedented.

Why she’ll succeed: Clark continues doing what she’s always done — raining 3-pointers, driving and creating open shots for others — while the increase in quality of her teammates allows her to save more energy off the ball to be a value-added defender.

Why she’ll fail: The increased difficulty of Clark’s defensive assignments more than cancels out the additional energy she has, and the better defenders at the W level make it much tougher to drive and draw fouls.

Ceiling comps: Luka Dončić, 6’ Becky Hammon

Floor comps: Sabrina Ionescu with more athleticism and a handle, LaMelo Ball

70 FV

2. Cameron Brink, big/center, Stanford

Age: 22

Height: 6’4

Wingspan: 6’8

Offensive style: Versatile big

Defensive style: Mobile big

Similar to: Pre-Injury Rebecca Lobo, Jaren Jackson Jr.

A superstar defender who has made strides as an offensive player, Cameron Brink provides realistic star upside with a high floor. Brink’s combination of elite rim protection, great rebounding and a baseline skill level on the offensive end will make it easy for her to make an impact in a wide variety of systems at the next level.

On the defensive end, Brink has been statistically the best rim protector in women’s college basketball the last two seasons, not only because of her prodigious shot-blocking ability but also because of her deterrence at the rim. Opponents shoot 10% worse in the paint when Brink is on the floor, per CBB Analytics, and settle for significantly more jump shots. She has had some lingering issues staying out of foul trouble in her four years at Stanford, and many of those fouls come from chasing blocks that are out of her range. She’s picked her spots better in rim protection situations as a junior and senior, but it can still be a problem, as shown by her fouling out of multiple NCAA Tournament games this year. She also navigates space in any pick-n-roll (PnR) coverage excellently and can provide help or switch from anywhere on the court.

Offensively, Brink has shown steady improvement in many areas. Her increase in free-throw percentage is the first thing that leaps off the page, as she is second in women’s Division I history with a streak of 73 consecutive made free-throws, after shooting under 65% each of her first two seasons. But her passing, post scoring and cutting are also high-level. Brink’s passing is elite for her size and position, and she has shown the ability to make playmaking reads in Stanford’s motion-based offense, find open shooters out of double teams in the post, and even hit shooters right in the shooting pocket off a live dribble.

The biggest question about Brink’s offense is the poor shooting outside the paint. Her shot looks smooth, and is obviously effective at the free-throw line, but for some reason that hasn’t translated to similar success behind the arc. Though even if Brink doesn’t shoot at a high level, she’s shown enough on both ends to add value to any team in the WNBA.

Why she’ll succeed: Brink provides elite rim protection and continues to defend well in space, while the jump shot catches up to the free-throw improvement and she keeps her foul rate down enough to provide championship-level play at the most important position.

Why she’ll fail: Brink continues to shoot around 30% from three, scores less efficiently against stronger competition, and fouls too much to stay on the floor for long stretches.

Ceiling comps: Skinny Lauren Jackson, Chet Holmgren

Floor comps: Michelle Snow, Nic Claxton

55 FV

3. Leïla Lacan, point guard, Angers (LFB)

Age: 20

Height: 5’11

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Chaser/secondary point of attack

Similar to: Dallas Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jalen Suggs

Leïla Lacan is the most productive teenager in Europe, one of the best players in the French league, and arguably the greatest French draft prospect ever.

Lacan’s processing speed is truly remarkable for a player at her age. She has a veteran-like ability to take advantage of aggressive ball screen coverages, understanding how to react quickly to rotations and cutters, pry open passing lanes to the roller, and skip to open teammates. Lacan is also an exceptional athlete with elite burst, flexibility and change-of-speed as a driver, allowing her to generate rim pressure with ease. In spite of this, her finishing through contact is hit-or-miss, but that is a common trait for a 19-year-old in a top professional league.

The biggest question on Lacan’s scouting report is her consistency as a shooter, having shot 32.1% from three on 4.7 attempts per game over the last two seasons, including FIBA competition. She has a one-motion catch-and-shoot form, even on the move, but has an unconventional shoulder push to her release. And though she always stays square to the basket on her pull-up 2-pointers, she lacks some stability laterally, which makes it difficult to project how good she can be in the midrange.

At 5’11, Lacan is a quality point-of-attack (POA) defender and an elite helper with her combination of cat-like instincts, quick hands and recovery speed. She can defend at the nail, chase shooters around screens, and switch onto most guards and wings. Her physicality and mobility at the POA at her age suggest she could develop into a plus defender in the PnR, too. Lacan led the French league in steals per game (3.2) while only committing 2.5 fouls in 28.5 minutes.

Why she’ll succeed: Lacan pairs her outstanding processing speed, rim pressure and defensive utility with steady improvements as a shooter, making her a high-level contributor to a WNBA contender.

Why she’ll fail: Lacan’s 3-point shooting stabilizes below average and she struggles to consistently finish through contact at the W level or turn her footwork into disruptive defense, resulting in her becoming a top-end backup.

Ceiling comps: Phoenix Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dejounte Murray

Floor comps: Nikki Teasley, Dante Exum

4. Aaliyah Edwards, big, UConn

Age: 21

Height: 6’3

Wingspan: 6’5.5

Offensive style: Roll and cut big

Defensive style: Mobile big

Similar to: Rebekkah Brunson, Chicago Wendell Carter Jr.

Aaliyah Edwards is the youngest collegiate prospect in the draft, with outlier movement skills, feel and a growing offensive skill set.

Edwards is an elite lower-body athlete, with core strength, flexibility, lateral quickness and footspeed which translate well on both ends of the court. Her game starts with her defense, where she is the most versatile defender in the draft. Edwards is great one-on-one, both in space and in the post, along with excellent ability in space and weakside rim protection. She can also defend at the level, in drop, or by trapping the box in ball screen coverages. Bigs who can defend in space and in the paint with Edward’s fluidity are rare.

On the offensive end, Edwards is a highly effective play-finisher who can seal and score on post-ups, face-ups and spot-up jumpers (42.6% FG% on long paint twos and 36.6% outside the paint over the last two years, per CBBA), and has an explosive driving game. Her offensive value is amplified for both herself and her teammates through her screening, dribble-handoff (DHO) operation, positional passing, and interior off-ball movement.

However, at 6’3, there is reason to be concerned about her position at the next level. Can she be a full-time center? If she’s a four, does her team have a five that can space the floor alongside her? Despite making zero 3s this season, is there untapped shooting upside? How different organizations answer these questions will greatly influence how they see her long-term value.

Why she’ll succeed: Edwards either develops an average 3-point shot to play the four long-term as a plus help defender, or she provides enough defensive versatility and offensive movement to help drive an efficient five-out offense while she gives opponents big matchup problems.

Why she’ll fail: Edwards is stuck as a 4/5 tweener and can’t extend her range out to include a 3-point shot, leaving her a very good defender who can’t play big minutes for a playoff team.

Ceiling comps: Nneka Ogwumike, Bam Adebayo

Floor comps: Less Swole Erlana Larkins, Stromile Swift

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50 FV

5. Jacy Sheldon, off-ball guard, Ohio State

Age: 23

Height: 5’10

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Slasher

Defensive style: Point of attack

Similar to: Jaden Ivey, DiJonai Carrington with more shot creation

Jacy Sheldon is an all-around solid combo guard who consistently puts pressure on the rim, defends bigger than her size and pressures defenses as a spot-up 3-point shooter. She’s scored at an elite clip every healthy season and has proven herself against some of the toughest matchups in the country.

Offensively, everything about Sheldon’s game flows from her rim pressure. Unbelievable lower-body athleticism powers historic rim rates and finishing for a guard. This forces defenses to respect her drives, opening up passing reads and giving her more open 3-pointers both on and off the ball. She is a bit overtasked as Ohio State’s primary playmaker, but her best playmaking comes out of ball screens, where she sets up rollers and poppers very well, which has led to a tremendously productive partnership with Buckeye center Rebeka Mikulášiková. Her 3-point shooting is nothing to write home about, but she is more than good enough to command defenses’ respect.

Another point in Sheldon’s favor is her motor. Despite playing in Ohio State’s aggressive full-court diamond press, she has been able to play over 34 minutes per game in her two healthy upperclassman seasons, accumulating many steals and opening transition layups in her simply through constant high-level effort. That press can make it hard to evaluate her individual defense, but over the past three years she has been able to turn her athletic gifts into highly disruptive defense both on the drive and along the perimeter. She uses her size well at the POA, navigates through screens, gets her hands in passing lanes, and has great instincts for guard help assignments. Her relatively slight build does make her vulnerable to switches, which will give her issues at the WNBA level if she can’t navigate ball screens well enough to always stick with her original assignment.

Why she’ll succeed: The scarcity of rim pressure in the W makes Sheldon one of the more valuable guards in the league, whose capable spot-up shooting, PnR play, and very good defense across multiple guard spots allow her to be highly scalable in any scheme.

Why she’ll fail: The higher physicality in the pros hurts Sheldon’s finishing and foul-drawing while punishing her on defense, and without great shooting or playmaking, she is relegated to being a change-of-pace player.

Ceiling comps: Smaller Kahleah Copper, Tyrese Maxey with less 3-point shot creation

6. Kamilla Cardoso, center, South Carolina

Age: 23

Height: 6’7

Wingspan: 6’8.5

Offensive style: Post scorer

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: Indiana Teaira McCowan, Jakob Poeltl

There simply are not many 6’7 players on the planet with Kamilla Cardoso’s fluidity as an athlete.

Cardoso anchored the best defense in college basketball this season by combining standout physical tools — a plus wingspan, long stride lengths and superb strength — with impressive lateral quickness, hip mobility and core flexibility to enable outlier movement problem-solving as a post defender and rim protector. Cardoso is a top-of-the-line rim protector (4.0 blocks per 40 minutes) with excellent rim deterrence against post players and guards alike while putting up a dexterous brick wall against post-ups. She also cut down on her fouls and improved her conditioning as a senior, allowing her to stay on the court for more extended periods of time and make the most of very good rotational awareness and timing in help. Cardoso made major strides defending bigs in space, but she struggles mightily to navigate the movement problems of closing space to contest PnR handlers and recovering to good rollers, which will become a more frequent issue at the pro level.

Cardoso’s dominance at the rim does not translate to the offensive end, where she is a notably poor finisher compared to past prospects 6’7 or taller: Cardoso only shot 56.5% at the rim in the halfcourt, per Synergy, significantly lower than lower than Teaira McCowan (69.4%), Kalani Brown (68.9%), Brittney Griner (68.3%) and the 6’6 Stephanie Soares (62.1%). Cardoso is a talented passer for a center, but she doesn’t have a great feel for working through digs and hard doubles, combined with no standout post moves.

However, unsurprisingly, Cardoso grabs a boatload of her own misses (career 18.1% offensive rebound rate) and makes the most of second-chance opportunities, so her finishing is effectively better than it looks on paper. She also has the potential to be a lethal PnR player thanks to comfort passing around the horn and operating as a DHO hub, but her roll timing and screen-setting are inconsistent at best at this point in her development.

Why she’ll succeed: Cardoso rounds out her offensive game by improving her finishing and developing a couple of post moves, paired with a special blend of physical tools and defensive instincts as a player capable of anchoring a true contender.

Why she’ll fail: Cardoso continues to struggle to finish against taller players, and as the WNBA trends away from defense-first paint-bound bigs, she settles into a matchup-based backup role.

Ceiling comps: Dallas Teaira McCowan, Los Angeles DeAndre Jordan

45 FV

7. Rickea Jackson, combo forward, Tennessee

Age: 23

Height: 6’2

Wingspan: 6’3.5

Offensive style: Shot creator

Defensive style: Low activity

Similar to: Orlando Tobias Harris

Rickea Jackson always moves at the same steady pace, but she is far from monotonous. While that has meant she’s already dropped buckets on Allisha Gray and Kahleah Copper, it has also led to issues with toggling and her motor.

Jackson is a rare combination of size and shot creation, a lethal scorer in both isolation and out of the PnR, able to beat forwards laterally with her burst and coordination and to beat guards vertically by just shooting over them. Excellent footwork both in the post and facing-up allows her to get her weight and shoulders stabilized from a decent variety of approaches and moves, and her feel for setting up her defender and timing her release make her jumper virtually unblockable. Add in her unflappable internal metronome and she is almost immune to defensive pressure.

Almost. On the ball, Jackson has just one weakness, and that is her handle. Her handle is high and stiff, and defenders of any height who can apply ball-pressure and get into her dribble consistently force Jackson to pass and prevent her from getting to comfortable spots. Given how rarely she turns over the ball, though, this may be more of a limiting factor than a failure mode.

Jackson’s offensive game does present a couple of other question marks. For one, continuously moving at the same steady pace is an invaluable asset on the ball but makes her unimpactful moving off the ball — which would not be a concern if her spot-up 3-point shooting was consistently good enough to command defensive respect. She also suffers from the same issue that Jordan Horston did last year: Playing with a paint-bound center in Tamari Key who opposing defenses disregard and does not offer much offensively has led to a much less efficient scoring game. Jackson has traded in a large amount of shots in the paint for long 2-pointers when Key has played significant minutes. Between that and the lack of cutting, Jackson profiles much more like a four than a three at the WNBA level, given her need for downhill space but limited ability to create it for others.

To round things out, Jackson is a plus rebounder and a capable defender. She can guard forwards in the post or on the perimeter and can stick with drivers off a closeout, but fairly stiff hips and a lack of verticality make her ill-suited for switching onto wings or providing backline help.

Why she’ll succeed: Jackson becomes a matchup nightmare who either commands attention from top forward defenders or goes to work against lesser matchups, while playing enough defense to fit alongside teammates who provide better help.

Why she’ll fail: There are too many factors that limit Jackson’s efficiency as defenses don’t respect her off the ball, and her defense doesn’t provide enough to get her starting minutes on a good team.

8. Carla Leite, point guard, Tarbes (LFB)

Age: 20

Height: 5’9

Wingspan: 5’10

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Chaser

Similar to: Jeff Teague, worse-shooting Ukari Figgs

The top seven teams in the French league all have leading scorers aged 27 years or older, with one exception: Carla Leite, a 19-year-old point guard who just led Tarbes to its first postseason appearance since 2020-21.

Leite’s game starts with her premier PnR operation. Her ability to manipulate pace and her lightning-quick burst make her nearly impossible for defenders to read, turning her into a walking paint touch, leading the Ligue Féminine de Basketball in free-throw attempts per game at 5.9. She can finish equally well with either hand, and counters with good touch on floaters. Like Lacan, Leite’s processing ability is unreal for a teenager playing professional ball. She is also one of the top prospects in recent history at escaping blitzes and creating advantages out of her drives, thanks to excellent live-dribble passing with almost any type of pass in her repertoire, and she ranks second in the French league in assists per game (5.5) behind only Los Angeles’ Julie Allemand.

Leite’s game does come with strange question marks, though. As a shooter, she has a low gather with a quick load-up and clean upper-body release that make her mechanics hard for defenders to read. She tends to land several feet in front of her starting point, however, so she needs a ton of space to get her shot off. Leite only made 21.1% of her threes this season, but shot 31.8% on 3.7 attempts over the last two seasons combined, which is a solid mark considering most of those are self-created.

The other issue with Leite’s game is her lack of off-ball movement. The reason most of those 3-pointers are self-created is because she doesn’t often take catch-and-shoot jumpers, due to how rarely she shoots off screens, relocates to open space (unless it’s to get the ball), or cut. Leite sometimes stands near 30 feet from the basket as the rest of the offense develops away from her. Since she’s just a teenager, these off-ball habits may be fixable in a good player development system.

On defense, Leite actually does add value off the ball. She’s adept at chasing through screens, is a good communicator, and has good judgment on guard help responsibilities. She probably overcommits too much and is a bit jumpy at the POA, but provides good ball-denial and consistent effort against average handlers. Given her screen navigation and POA footwork at her age, it is likely that Leite can become a capable PnR defender with proper coaching under a decreased offensive workload.

Why she’ll succeed: Leite develops an off-ball game and PnR defense, making her a point guard capable of beating defenses in every which way while more than holding her own defensively.

Why she’ll fail: Leite’s offensive skillset is limited to running PnRs and creating advantages as a driver — a talented player, but one who lacks a bankable secondary skill for teams to be able to rely on in big minutes.

Ceiling comps: Lower-usage Lindsay Whalen, Kemba Walker

Floor comps: Dominique Canty, Kira Lewis Jr.

40 FV

9. Nyadiew Puoch, combo forward, Southside (WNBL)

Age: 20

Height: 6’3

Wingspan: 6’5

Offensive style: Stationary shooter

Defensive style: Wing stopper

Similar to: Outside-in Laeticia Amihere, Jarred Vanderbilt

Playing for the WNBL champion Southside Flyers, Nyadiew Puoch has shown that she has what it takes to defend at a high level against WNBA players. She fell out of the Flyers rotation in the playoffs in favor of taller, older and more experienced players, but she has shown a lot of promise as a teenager in one of the better professional leagues in the world.

Puoch has placed herself firmly on the radar because of her elite defense. Her physical tools, visual processing and processing speed are all excellent for her age, and her application of them at the POA, in chasing and in backline help suggest that with greater experience to build up her pattern recognition skills, she could become a plus defender in just about every role. Even at 6’3, she has shown the ability to impact shots at the rim from the weak side as well as stay with drivers.

Offensively, Puoch has struggled at times in the WNBL, playing a low-usage role and mainly shooting corner 3-pointers when the defense is in rotation. In her last 60 games, Puoch has shot a respectable 36% from beyond the arc, with the majority of those attempts coming from the corner. Her shooting touch almost comes in spite of her mechanics, a two-motion form with a hitch that kills her smoothness off the catch and odd hand actions, raising the possibility that her form could be tweaked to unlock even greater accuracy. She has shown flashes of driving ability, especially during U19 national team play, but projects mostly as a play-finisher at the WNBA level. She is at her best offensively when she lets the game come to her, when she’s taking shots in the flow of the offense and attacking closeouts. Struggles with proprioception in finishing raise concerns about what a reasonable ceiling in that role can be.

Why she’ll succeed: Puoch continues to develop her 3-point shot and refines her finishing and defensive reads, allowing her to be a value-added off-ball scorer while becoming one of the best defenders in the league.

Why she’ll fail: Pouch’s shooting and finishing fail to reach a level that’s good enough to keep her defense on the floor.

30+ FV

10. Alissa Pili, big, Utah

Age: 23

Height: 6′ in Air Force 1s

Wingspan: 6’1.5

Offensive style: Shot creator

Defensive style: Low activity

Similar to: Swole Maddy Siegrist, Montrezl Harrell with a 3-pointer

There is truly no one in college basketball like Alissa Pili. An undersized … center? … who is quick enough to get by plodding bigs, too strong to be guarded by wings and too good a shooter to be left open on the perimeter, she causes headaches for opposing coaches every night. She falls outside of every mold you could ever try to fit her into.

Pili scores on the block, in the midrange, behind the arc and at the free-throw line, with incredible efficiency across the board. Her footwork is immaculate, her strength allows her to create space even against much bigger defenders and her shooting threat opens up driving lanes for herself and cuts for her teammates, who she finds with solid passing vision. She’s one of the best offensive players in basketball, and one of the best finishers in draft history.

Pili causes problems for opposing defenses in every kind of way, but she presents several problems for her own team on defense. She is incredibly strong, a great team rebounder that boxes out well but doesn’t really have any other demonstrably translatable defensive skills. Her hips are stiff, she does a poor job preventing post position or disrupting entry passes, and she provides no rim deterrence. She played center for Utah but her height — she has said multiple times that she’s around 5’11 on a good day — severely limits her ability to disrupt finishes.

Why she’ll succeed: Pili’s scoring makes her a premier change-of-pace, instant-offense bench big and limited minutes are able to cover up her defensive deficiencies.

Why she’ll fail: Pili is a defensive turnstile who struggles to score at the same level and efficiency that she did at Utah. After that, she gets several phone calls from the US Rugby Federation and becomes an Olympian in rugby sevens.

Ceiling comps: Bizarro World Erlana Larkins, Shorter Antoine Walker

Floor comps: Efficient Danielle Adams? Old Man Charles Barkley? Who the hell knows

11. Angel Reese, center, LSU

Age: 22

Height: 6’3

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Post scorer

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: Brianna Turner with a driving game, Trayce Jackson-Davis

There are two Angel Reeses (Angels Reese?). There is the Angel Reese who stays patient, combines finesse and power, and plays to set up her teammates. There is also the Angel Reese who hunts her own shot, struggles away from the paint and could be called for a foul on many of her rebounding attempts. Her star potential has never been in question, but this far into her basketball career, her future is going to come down to whether she can round out her ancillary skills enough to fill a consistent role. With her excellent work ethic and competitive drive, there is plenty of reason to bet on her getting there.

Reese possesses a special combination of length, strength and explosiveness, making her one of the greatest rebounding prospects ever and a tricky matchup in the post on both ends. She also leverages those traits alongside excellent visual processing and court-mapping to provide surprisingly good rim protection for her height and to be one of the best post-up passers and screeners in recent memory. The strengths of her scoring package are her midrange driving game and her ability to beat defenders with her first step, along with turning many team misses into putbacks. Reese is also more than capable of holding her own on in space at times, and moves between help assignments quite smoothly. Her post defense against true centers improved greatly over her time in college enough to project as a full-time center in the W despite her height.

The issue with Reeve is that it’s hard to be a consistently good pro with only those offensive skills listed above, but she has few others. She struggles with touch around the rim, with the same issue that Diamond Miller has of only taking scoop layups, and her own-putbacks are the sole thing preventing her halfcourt efficiency from being historically low among prospects. Her jumper form is a cross between a catapult and a curveball and she has made less than 25% of her jump shots at LSU. She’s patient in the post and takes advantage of significant mismatches but otherwise does not have any post moves to get her own shot.

Reese is exceptional off the court, however. Her competitive drive and work ethic are second-to-none. If there is a path to becoming a more impactful WNBA player and she has the right development staff to give her the roadmap, there is little doubt that she’ll get there.

Why she’ll succeed: Reese is able to carve out a unique role with high-level defense, passing and athleticism while becoming enough of a finisher and defender in space to avoid being a target of opposing teams.

Why she’ll fail: Against consistently taller frontcourts, Reese’s rebounding falls enough to make her halfcourt offense tenable since defenses don’t respect her scoring enough to open passing outlets.

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30 FV

12. Charisma Osborne, combo guard, UCLA

Age: 23

Height: 5’9

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Secondary ball-handler

Defensive style: Point of attack

Similar to: Matee Ajavon, Davion Mitchell

Charisma Osborne excels at all the secondary skills and has significant struggles with what should be her carrying skills. Whether that makes her a good Euro player or simply a couple years away from a positive impact in the W depends on your faith in your player development capabilities.

First, the good — the secondary skills that are strengths for Osborne include: Excellent team defense in rotating and switching; her playmaking, as a consistent shot creator for teammates off the dribble who reads and responds well to help defenders, along with excellent pocket-passing; her ability to defend over ball screens; excellent lateral quickness, especially defensively; her handle, featuring a great crossover and shot fake, and a good hesi and ability to manipulate defenders by changing her driving speed; her range, as she can hit from as far out as 26 feet; her ability to get downhill, thanks to pretty good burst; pretty good perimeter off-ball movement; the ability to conduct efficient offense out of the post; and her excellent motor.

Now, the bad — the carrying skills Osborne needs but struggles with include: Shooting accuracy, as a career 32.3% 3-point shooter; getting to the rim, with her best rim rate coming in her freshman season, when she was still 9.3 percentage points below national average, per CBB Analytics; turning the corner while driving in order to hostage defenders behind her; holding up under primary on-ball defensive responsibilities, as UCLA has never used her as its primary POA defender; and attacking mismatches off the dribble, something she often seems to lack awareness of.

Why she’ll succeed: The quality of Osborne’s 3-point accuracy develops to match the quality of her 3-point form, and she holds up as a POA defender with more reps, making her a 3-&-D playmaker.

Why she’ll fail: Osborne’s shot is what it is, and her size and limited burst prevent her from actually being impactful at the POA, rendering her a limited-impact player at best.

13. Nika Mühl, point guard, UConn

Age: 23

Height: 5’10

Wingspan: 5’9

Offensive style: Primary ball-handler

Defensive style: Point of attack

Similar to: Ticha Penicheiro, Ricky Rubio

Nika Mühl has shown exactly the kind of player she is over and over in her time at Connecticut: A hard-nosed defender who will take on the most difficult perimeter assignment, run the offense, and hit the occasional spot-up three at a fairly high rate.

Mühl is very much a traditional point guard. She is the all-time assists leader at UConn, an excellent passer and active playmaker who runs offense at a very high level. She has proven herself to be a reluctantly capable shooter, and isn’t going to do much in terms of creating her own shot. Mühl’s shooting form is clunky and she does not have the quickest release, but she has made 37% of her 3-pointers over the last two seasons. She can pass off of the drive as well, but given her reluctance to actually get to the rim and finish, defenses don’t exactly go into rotation to have to stop her.

Defense is what makes Nika Mühl a WNBA prospect. She doesn’t have gaudy block or steal numbers but she’s fundamentally sound, supremely quick and extraordinarily strong for a guard. She consistently blows up actions before they can get started because of her positioning and anticipation, and provides elite ball pressure and ball-denial. She loves to pick up opposing ball handlers full-court and deny them the ball in the half court, and she does it all without fouling much — as Clark learned the hard way last Friday. For a guard as good at defending in isolation as Mühl is, she is surprisingly average at navigating ball screens, though given her ability to flip her hips on the drive, that may be teachable.

Why she’ll succeed: Mühl shows herself to be one of the best guard defenders in the world and ups her shooting volume to command enough defensive attention to open her passing and game-management.

Why she’ll fail: Mühl continues to pass up open shots, fails to make defenses care about her when she has the ball, and her defense slides a bit with more ball screen reps and without the Huskies’ defensive infrastructure.

Ceiling comps: Jasmine Thomas, Rajon Rondo

Floor comps: If Tully Bevilaqua was a reluctant shooter, Kendall Marshall

14. Leilani Correa, wing, Florida

Age: 23

Height: 6′

Wingspan: 5’10

Offensive style: Movement shooter/slasher

Defensive style: Chaser

Similar to: Brandon Boston Jr., Essence Carson

Leilani Correa wasn’t on our radar as a prospect entering this season but climbed into draft consideration with her improvements into one of the nation’s most versatile play-finishers and connectors.

Starting with defense, Correa checks all the boxes WNBA organizations are looking for in a wing. She has above-average positional size, quick hips and an elite motor. She leverages these traits with impressive timing in passing lanes, active hands, consistent closeouts and rotations as a help defender.

While Correa creates many easy-scoring opportunities for herself through her defensive playmaking, she struggles to finish at the rim consistently in the halfcourt, shooting a ghastly 48.5% at the rim in those situations this year. She often picks her dribble up a step early and utilizes a scoop-finishing style that is common with other skinny wings. She has a great feel for getting to the rim and does not settle for suboptimal shots, but her inability to control her deceleration throws off her efficiency, though she still manages to be an extremely low-turnover player.

Correa’s offensive calling card is as a reliable open shooter, having shot near 40% on uncontested catch-and-shoot 3-pointers for her career, per Synergy, with quick mechanics to back it up. But, as a rhythm-based shooter, there are inconsistencies: She shot at least 40% from three in 16 games this season while shooting 0% from three in nine other games. Maybe the biggest concern is her tendency to take tough pull-up 2s on an inefficient clip — she shot 26.5% in the mid-range, per CBB Analytics — and her inability to square her shoulders suggest that won’t ever become a strength to her game.

Why she’ll succeed: Correa’s improvements as a shooter in her final college season hold up and she is coached out of taking pull-up 2-pointers, allowing her to provide 3-&-D value that is useful on any team’s bench.

Why she’ll fail: Correa’s 3-point shooting is worse against more athletic contests and her midrange shooting is too inconsistent for a WNBA team to rely on.

Ceiling comps: Shenise Johnson, Kelly Oubre Jr.

Floor comps: Jazmon Gwathmey, Charlie Brown Jr.

15. Hannah Jump, off-ball guard, Stanford

Age: 23

Height: 6′

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Off-screen shooter

Defensive style: Low activity

Similar to: Duncan Robinson, Karlie Samuelson

Hannah Jump is the greatest off-ball shooting prospect in WNBA history. So much so that her 47.5% 3-point percentage on open spot-up jumpers this season, per Synergy, has brought down her career average.

Nothing about Jump’s physical profile jumps off the page, besides above-average height for a 2-guard. She’s not especially quick or long for a prospect, but her footwork and coordination make her a tougher cover than most: She sets up her defender perfectly off of screens to open shooting windows, transfers her weight as efficiently as humanly possible for a historically quick release, and regularly hits movement threes with deeper range than even Sabrina Ionescu — Jump is a career 40.2% shooter from 25 feet or deeper. Curls, Rickys, DHOs, pistol actions, either way, she’s getting open. She’s also a good entry passer, decent cutter and has improved at taking advantage of open driving lanes.

Everything else is a major weakness for Jump. Finishing a contested layup is an adventure, pull-up midrange shots are troublesome and asking her to scale up her shot-taking is simply out of the question.

The defense is also a clear issue, though Jump has quietly improved from what a W team would consider untenably poor to something more run-of-the-mill bad. She can do anything you could reasonably ask a guard defender to do, but limited foot speed and stiff hips set a clear limit on how impactful she can be.

Why she’ll succeed: Jump’s shooting accuracy and extreme gravity provides premier offensive production and spacing in any situation, and her defense is just good enough to make her minutes a positive tradeoff.

Why she’ll fail: With WNBA coaches continuing to strongly prefer volume on-ball creation to efficient off-ball play-finishing, Jump’s shooting prowess isn’t nearly enough to overcome her issues across the board.

Ceiling comps: Pre-ACL tear Shanna Zolman, JJ Redick

Floor comps: Amy Atwell, Sean McDermott

16. Celeste Taylor, off-ball guard, Ohio State

Age: 23

Height: 5’11

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Stationary shooter

Defensive style: Point of attack

Similar to: If Ariel Atkins was a mediocre shooter, Josh Green

Does your WNBA team need perimeter defense? Call Celeste Taylor today! She’s been one of the best guard defenders in all of college basketball for several years now and had statistically her most productive and efficient season as a senior for the Buckeyes.

Taylor can do it all defensively. She’s shown that she can defend 1-3 capably, has impressive footwork navigating screens and great hands, posting steal rates in the 98th percentile or higher in steal rate each of the last two seasons. Taylor’s defense is incredibly impactful both on and off the ball and she has shown the ability to take opposing ball handlers out of a game entirely by denying the ball and making every single dribble a chore. And add to that plus defense in help.

Offensively, Taylor doesn’t have a home. She has struggled when asked to create her own shot at the college level, her touch at the rim is subpar, her midrange shooting has been poor, and she’s never shot above 33% from three. Her playmaking is solid for a 2-guard, but to truly become a WNBA player, she will have to improve her shooting.

Why she’ll succeed: Taylor works with a shot doctor to improve her long-range jumper, neatly filling a 3-&-D role where she is able to stick to doing what she does well while rounding out the skills that allow her to stick on the court.

Why she’ll fail: Taylor becomes a help point for opposing teams that are more than willing to let her shoot open 3-pointers and she struggles to find ways to make an impact offensively.

Ceiling comps: Janeth Arcain, Bruce Brown

17. Elizabeth Kitley, center, Virginia Tech

Age: 22

Height: 6’6

Wingspan: 6’6

Offensive style: Post scorer

Defensive style: Anchor big

Similar to: 6’6 Margo Dydek, Enes Kanter with a fadeaway

For the past four years, Elizabeth Kitley has been one of the best all-around play-finishers in the country. That’s enough to have a WNBA role — and for Kitley, it has to be, because there isn’t much else.

Kitley has one of the deeper interior scoring bags in the country, one that has grown over time. Her fadeaway and turnaround might both be the best in the nation, and she makes full use of drop steps, jabs, up-and-unders, spins, and even fake spins as necessary, and she does them all with excellent balance and feel for finishing via layup, hook, or short jumper. She’s excellent at using her strength to back down post defenders and at turning the corner around them in post-ups. She’s also developed a feel for adapting her scoring approach to opposing defenses during games and is a good screener overall, especially off the ball.

As a pure post threat, though, Kitley struggles significantly with stronger players of similar size, heavily capping her ability to create her own shot on the block. She’s also mediocre at receiving entry passes, often not using her body to shield defenders away from her catch point and allowing them to poke the entries away.

Kitley’s defense likely caps her upside at backup. She’s got decent off-ball positioning and challenges back-to-the-basket scoring attempts well, but she’s fairly poor at everything else a center needs to do. She provides little-to-no rim protection, demonstrating zero feel for help rotations, and when she does try to provide help, she can struggle to recover to her primary assignment. Post-up scorers find mediocre resistance from Kitley when they try to turn the corner or get to their spots against her, and are often able to get her off her feet. Kitley has also shown poor positioning in drop and doesn’t have the ability to be an effective hedge big.

Why she’ll succeed: Kitley remains an elite play-finisher with enough size and energy to provide a reliably positive impact against backup centers, a valuable skill in a league filled with bench units that struggle offensively.

Why she’ll fail: Against tougher competition, Kitley’s play-finishing and defense both take a hit, and that drop-off lowers her from “good role player” to “ineffective on both ends.”

Potential draft-and-stash

Every draft class contains a number of young international players who are draft-eligible but still require another season or two before they’re ready for the W. Though they have a better shot of turning into a top-10 player in the class than your average second- or third-round pick, teams select these players with the intention of not yet signing them to a WNBA contract while waiting to see if they continue developing towards their potential.

Leïla Lacan, Carla Leite, and Nyadiew Puoch are technically in this mold as well, but they are ranked on the overall board because of how good they are and how advanced they are for their age.

Isobel Borlase, off-ball guard, Adelaide (WNBL)

Age: 19

Height: 5’11

Wingspan: N/A

Offensive style: Stationary shooter

Defensive style: Helper/low activity

Isobel Borlase shot 39% from 3 as the youngest player in a WNBL rotation in 2022-23. However, that dropped to 27.5% when she took on a larger offensive load as the Lightnings’ leading scorer this season. As productive as she is, Borlase’s shooting style doesn’t translate on the move, unlike Jump. Borlase is a good athlete for WNBL standards, but there are some major questions on how her defense and half-court finishing will translate to the WNBA level.

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Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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