- The Mystics are favorites after trading their first-round draft pick for Liberty center Tina Charles
- The Wings bolstered their roster with three of the first seven picks in the WNBA Draft
- See the odds, our analysis and betting prediction below
In a world starved for any kind of living sporting event because of the coronavirus pandemic, the WNBA Draft took center stage Friday (April 17).
Oregon point guard Sabrina Ionescu, to the surprise of no one, was selected first by the New York Liberty. Her Ducks teammate, forward Satou Sabally went second to the Dallas Wings.
This is what the WNBA championship odds look like following the draft:
2020 WNBA Championship Odds
|Las Vegas Aces||+330|
|Los Angeles Sparks||+400|
|New York Liberty||+2800|
Odds taken April 18
Mystics Now Top Choice
The Las Vegas Aces and Los Angeles Sparks were listed as the co-favorites prior to the draft. However, the Washington Mystics are now the choice to repeat as league champs.
Rather than adding an impact player from the collegiate level, the Mystics used the draft to help in a different way.
The Mystics dealt their first-round pick with the New York Liberty as part of a trade package for seven-time All-Star center Tina Charles. She had another fine season in 2019 with averages of 16.9 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Charles is also reunited with Mike Thibault. He was Charles’ coach during her first four seasons in the league with the Connecticut Sun from 2010-13.
How much help does Elena Delle Donne need? https://t.co/I0wJBG3O0m
— Sports Coop (@CaucasianCooper) April 15, 2020
That came on the heels of the Mystics re-signing 2019 WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Della Donne to a four-year contract in February.
The 30-year-old forward averaged 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a game last season. She is a big reason why the Mystics had the league’s best regular-season record at 22-8 en route to winning the franchise’s first WNBA title.
? NEW ? SHIRT ?️ ALERT! ?
Elena Delle Donne's contract extension means FOUR ?MORE ? YEARS of dominance on the hardwood in D.C. #WearTheMoment
— BreakingT (@BreakingT) February 14, 2020
Draft Haul for Wings
The Dallas Wings finished last in the Western Conference a year ago with a 10-24 record. However, they could be one of the league’s most improved teams in 2020 after having three of the first seven selections in the draft.
In addition to Sabally, the Wings used the fifth pick on Princeton guard Bella Alarie then chose South Carolina point guard Tysha Harris at No. 7.
— Satou Sabally (@BallySatou) April 18, 2020
Alarie was the Ivy League Player of the Year each of the past three seasons. She is the daughter of Mark Alarie, who was the Denver Nuggets’ first-round pick in the 1986 NBA Draft following a standout career at Duke.
Harris was the heart and soul of a South Carolina team ranked No. 1 in the country when the pandemic ended the college season in mid-March.
Conversely, the Wings suffered a blow earlier in the week. Center Imani McGee-Stafford announced she would be stepping way from basketball for the next two seasons while pursuing a law degree.
The Wings are still the longest shot on the board. Yet the influx of talent makes them intriguing, at least enough to consider making a small play.
Lynx on Rise
A more realistic longshot, though, is the Minnesota Lynx at +2200.
The Lynx were 18-16 last season, a record good for third in the Western Conference and a playoff berth. Now a solid draft class is being added to a solid nucleus.
The Lynx also went for a South Carolina star in the first round, selecting shooting guard Mikiah Hebert Harrington with the sixth pick. They then took Connecticut point guard Crystal Dangerfield in the second round.
Both are considered outstanding defenders and will further bolster a team that was second in the WNBA allowing just 75.9 points a game last season.
BREAKING: Gamecock great @2121Mikiah goes #6 to the Minnesota Lynx. The star forward leaves one winning program and joins another. The Lynx are tired for the most WNBA championships with 4. pic.twitter.com/TiEKvPY0Oi
— Capital City Sports (@CCSonSGTV) April 17, 2020
Minnesota also traded forward Stephanie Talbot to Los Angeles for Erika Ogwumike, a guard from Rice that the Sparks chose in the third round.
The three rookies join second-year forward Napheesa Collier. She was the league’s Rookie of the Year last season, averaging 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds a game.
Will There Be a Season?
Of course, the biggest question surrounding the WNBA – like the other professional sports leagues – is will it have a 2020 season?
Training camps were set to begin April 26. The first games were to be played May 15.
However, the season has been postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic.
If there is a season, it would be hard to bet against the Mystics, even though they are now the chalk.
The addition of Charles gives Washington a second superstar to pair with Della Donne. It is a combination that will be difficult to beat.
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