Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Go East, Young Women

The WNBA held its annual draft lottery this afternoon via conference call and the results, for the first time in recent memory, held completely to form. The Atlanta Dream earned the first overall pick in its second season of existence, the Washington Mystics will pick second in the 2009 WNBA Draft and the Chicago Sky third.

From the Storm's perspective, it is good news to see the top picks all going to Eastern Conference teams. The West has historically done very well in the lottery, both thanks to a little luck (see Phoenix getting the No. 2 pick and Cappie Pondexter in 2006) and because traditionally the West has featured the league's very best and very worst teams. This year, there was far more parity in the West and that meant lower odds of a top-three pick for the two West teams in the lottery, Minnesota (which will pick fourth) and Phoenix (fifth).

The big-picture takeaway is that the Dream is going to add a lot of talent to its roster between getting Sancho Lyttle in yesterday's Houston Comets Dispersal Draft and whoever they take first in the amateur draft. The last time a team got the No. 1 pick in both drafts, the Phoenix Mercury added Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi and went from 8-26 to 17-17. While that turnaround will be tough to match - there's good talent in the draft, but not a Taurasi-esque superstar - Atlanta should be much, much, much improved in 2009.

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