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Learn how to Comply with the WNBA Draft If You’re Newly Obsessed With Girls’s Basketball

If all the excitement of NCAA March Madness has you newly invested in women’s basketball, you’re not alone. Literally millions of other Americans have jumped on board too, thanks in no small part to the fervor surrounding the tournament—and the spotlight shining on amazing athletes like Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, Angel Reese, and others. The

Learn how to Comply with the WNBA Draft If You’re Newly Obsessed With Girls’s Basketball

If all the thrill of NCAA March Insanity has you newly invested in ladies’s basketball, you’re not alone. Actually tens of millions of different People have jumped on board too, thanks in no small half to the fervor surrounding the event—and the highlight shining on superb athletes like Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, Angel Reese, and others.

The 2024 ladies’s nationwide championship recreation—a showdown between the Iowa Hawkeyes and South Carolina Gamecocks—drew a record-breaking 18.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched ladies’s school basketball recreation on file and the most-watched basketball recreation general (yep, together with males’s or ladies’s, school or professional) since 2019, in response to ESPN.

There’s no denying we’re coming into a reasonably thrilling period for girls’s basketball. And the most effective half is, despite the fact that March Insanity is over, there’s a lot extra pleasure arising: The WNBA draft, which options a few of the most-hyped school stars and units the stage for epic professional video games forward, is occurring on April 15.

Truthful warning: The draft course of is a bit, um, nuanced, and in case you’re befuddled by the way it all works, nicely, that’s completely comprehensible. To demystify issues, we compiled the under Q&A that addresses all of your burning b-ball questions in an-easy-to-digest format. Proper this fashion for the must-know intel!

First off, when and the place is that this all taking place?

Mark your calendar for Monday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET. That’s when the draft festivities—held this 12 months on the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn—will kick off. For the primary time since 2016, followers shall be allowed to attend the draft in particular person, making for an excellent thrilling vibe that we’re betting TV viewers will really feel as nicely.

What’s the purpose of the draft?

Glad you requested! Principally the WNBA holds its draft so groups can choose new gamers from the newest pool of eligible athletes, together with many soon-to-be school grads. By way of a lottery and rating course of that favors groups with less-than-stellar data (extra on that in a minute), the draft goals to deliver parity to the league in order that struggling groups have an opportunity to bolster their rosters with the most effective new gamers. The profit for us viewers? Extra thrilling video games!

What number of groups are included?

All 12 groups that kind the WNBA take part within the draft. This contains: the Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm, Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Washington Mystics, Minnesota Lynx, Atlanta Dream, Dallas Wings, Connecticut Solar, New York Liberty, Las Vegas Aces, and Chicago Sky.

So how are picks chosen?

There are three rounds within the draft, with 12 picks per spherical. The order that groups get to make their picks is predicated on efficiency from final season, with the worst groups going first and the most effective going final.

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One very important exception: The primary 4 picks within the first spherical are decided by the draft lottery (a weighted drawing among the many 4 groups that didn’t make the 2023 WNBA playoffs: the Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, and Seattle Storm)—plus any traded picks (mainly, groups can resolve to swap decide numbers with one another).

What makes athletes eligible for the draft?

There are three primary teams that may take part within the draft: all school seniors who’re now not eligible to play within the NCAA; any NCAA participant who turns 22 this 12 months and provides up (or “renounces”) their remaining NCAA eligibility; or any worldwide participant who turns 20 this 12 months.

What number of rounds are there?

Three! And every spherical options 12 picks.

What number of athletes are within the pool, and what number of will get picked?

The WNBA hasn’t introduced how huge the athlete pool is that this 12 months, however an April 4 press launch from the group named 89 players who renounced their school eligibility to turn into draft candidates. Per week later, the WNBA issued one other press release spotlighting some draft headliners who weren’t named in that authentic checklist, together with Caitlin Clark, Aaliyah Edwards, and Kamilla Cardoso. So it’s not clear precisely how huge the ultimate pool shall be, however we do know that ultimately, simply 36 athletes shall be chosen.

Which groups have first picks this 12 months?

The Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, and Chicago Sky—in that order‚ will get first dibs this 12 months. Notably, the Fever acquired to select first final 12 months too. Fortunate them!

Which athletes are draft favorites?

Not surprisingly, Caitlin Clark is extensively predicted to be the highest decide. Because the NCAA’s all-time main scorer and highest-earning NCAA ladies’s basketball participant in historical past (due to NIL allowances), the 22-year-old guard simply wrapped a collegiate profession with some critically spectacular stats, scoring 3,951 whole factors, 1,144 assists, and 990 rebounds throughout her 4 years with the Iowa Hawkeyes, per ESPN.

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