The annual WNBA The draft lottery took place last Friday, with Minnesota Lynx entering as one of the four teams for the first time since 2012. Minnesota entered the lottery and had the fourth-best chance of landing the top pick in the 2023 WNBA draft, which would have been the first time the Lynx held the first pick since they drafted Maya Moore in 2011.
Alongside Indiana Fever, Atlanta Dream and Washington Mystics, Minnesota entered the lottery and had a 75.15% chance of winning fourth overall, a 14.45% chance of receiving second pick and a 10% chance .4% to make the jump to 1st place. 1. In the end, the Lynx ultimately didn’t land that top pick, but it did Jump to the second digit to hold the second and 12 nowth Picks in the opening round of the WNBA draft on Jan.
The complete order for the first round of the 2023 #WNBA Draft on April 10th:
6. New York
— Mitchell Hansen (@M_Hansen13) November 11, 2022
The jump from #4 to #2 might not seem like such a big leap, but it makes a big difference when it comes to meeting needs and doing so by snagging top-notch talent from the college game . Minnesota ultimately would have liked to have picked South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, but she was set to be Indiana’s first pick in the upcoming draft.
Still, if Minnesota actually holds on to that second, there’s still a lot of talent left at No. 2. Either way, the Lynx 2023 will see a player making the difference regardless of what develops with the second choice.
What are Minnesota’s options and what names should fans keep an eye on for potentially joining the team this summer? Let’s take a look at them in no particular order.
Haley Jones | guard | Stanford
In a protection-heavy draft that will fill the top half of the first round of the draft to Boston, Stanford guard Haley Jones could be seen as the best option if Minnesota picks second.
While Guard isn’t a huge requirement for the Lynx, when you have a talent like Jones available, make it work and adjust your roster after their addition. At 6-foot-1 and having demonstrated the ability to improve her distribution game, Jones could immediately transition into more of a point guard role in Minnesota or slip more into an off-ball guard in the rotation.
Jones was the 2021 NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and took the tournament by storm with her playmaking and game-changing ability. A season ago as a junior, Jones averaged 13.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 blocks in 33 games and will again be a key element for a Cardinals roster that ended the year as a top-three team of the country will start.
Diamond Müller | guard | Maryland
Another option on the guard is Maryland’s Diamond Miller, who is one of the top two-way players on the draft prospect list. Though health has been an issue for Miller, especially in recent seasons, when healthy she is one of the most talented guards in the country. She has demonstrated the ability to score offensively and block offenses defensively with her physicality at this end of the floor. That type of player is a Lynx President of Basketball Operations, and Head Coach Cheryl Reeve is happy to play along to help the team on both ends.
During the 2021-22 season, Miller appeared in 22 games for the Terrapins, averaging 13.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The 6-foot-3 guard has also demonstrated the ability to hurt opposing defenses from anywhere on the ground, scoring 40.8 percent on the field and 31.6 percent from three a season ago. Miller could jump straight into the Lynx rotation and provide the team with a two-way player who could help the team in numerous ways — if she can stay healthy and on the court.
Charisma Osborne | guard | UCLA
Another option for Minnesota is UCLA guard Charisma Osborne, another two-way worth keeping an eye on early in the draft. Osborne is solid offensively, but defensively she could be even more talented. If you spot a trend here, players that the Lynx are likely to be interested in and players that will top the draft leaderboards are multidimensional prospects that can impact a game in more ways than one. This is exactly the kind of player Osborne proved he could be at the collegiate level.
Osborne has said in the past that their defense triggers their game offense, which is a great sign of a prospect entering the pro game and focusing on defense first rather than offense. In her third season with the Bruins in 2021-22, Osborne averaged 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals in 28 games. She can also attack from anywhere on the ground, shooting 36.2 percent from field and 33.1 percent from three a year ago. Osborne has a lot of potential and fits the type of player Lynx wants to bring into the organization via the draft.
Rickea Jackson | Forward | Tennessee
If the Lynx are looking for an immediate boost offensively, Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson could be a player worth picking at No. 2. Having spent the last three seasons with him State of Mississippi, Jackson is in her rookie season in Tennessee in 2022-23 and has picked up exactly where she left off at Mississippi State while demonstrating her ability to provide a boost offensively and on the glass, as well as defensively as a shot blocker. A player who can influence a game in a variety of ways is exactly the type of player that Reeve and company like to bring into the team at any position.
During her final season at Mississippi State, the 6-foot-2 forward averaged a career-high 20.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.1 assists in 15 appearances in 35 minutes per game and 0.9 steals. Jackson is one player who could take her game to the next level in the WNBA, or at least has high potential as a pro, which could be an intriguing thing for the Lynx to bring to the organization via the draft.
Elizabeth Kitley | center | Virginia Tech
A somewhat surprising move in the second selection might be the selection of Elizabeth Kitley, center of Virginia Tech Center. With the talented guards that will be available at the head of the draft, some believe Minnesota will choose one of these options to fill an immediate need at the post with a versatile center like Kitley. The Lynx have a big hole to fill following the retirement of future Hall-of-Famer Sylvia Fowles, and Kitley could slip right into that spot in the rotation as a rookie.
The reigning ACC Player of the Year has continued to improve throughout her collegiate career, averaging 18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game a season ago while boasting a school-record 42 points in the single Virginia Tech’s NCAA tournament eye-opened game. The 6-foot-6 center has averaged nearly a double-double with the Hokies over the past two years after also demonstrating the ability to spread the ball, cover the rim and defend well, and as shot a solid mark off the field Post.
If Minnesota is looking for a solid and cheaper option to replace Fowles rather than spending money on their replacement in free agency or through the trade market, Kitley is a prime candidate to consider a draft. It would be a bit surprising, but it makes sense.
Bonus: Trade? Swing Big in Free Agency?
Another option for Minnesota in the opening round of the draft is to draft none of the above players, or any player at all, in the first round. With the #2 and #12 picks in the draft, the Lynx could seriously consider the idea of making an instant splash with one of those picks — or both — and maybe trading a player to turn the talent around team to win now instead of going through a learning curve that a beginner would likely present.
If Minnesota were to attempt to swap the pick away, there are a few intriguing players who could attempt to add a star alongside Napheesa Collier and co. Perhaps a player like Connecticut Sun post Jonquel Jones could be available at the right price, who would immediately fill in the void left by Fowles with the Lynx and then look at a guard to include in the draft, or do so freehand. Or maybe another point guard is available through trade, leading to the Lynx seeking post presence in either the draft or the free agent market.
Or, of course, Minnesota could not trade the pick at all, picking one or two solid prospects in the draft while focusing on making big at free hand in players like Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart or any other high-profile talent that will be available swing .
Regardless of what the Lynx do at No. 2, they have plenty of options open to them to try and add at least one standout talent to the roster in 2023. Whatever happens for Minnesota, one thing is certain for the organization — they will do whatever it takes to quickly turn things around to not only return to the playoffs this summer, but to return as title contenders in 2023 and beyond.