Last April, following the best regular season in franchise history, first-year Washington Mystics General Manager and Coach Trudi Lacey sent the team’s 2012 first-round draft pick to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for center Nicky Anosike.
The trade was not a success, as Anosike didn’t mesh well with the Mystics and was sent to the Los Angeles Sparks last month for two role players after Washington stumbled to a 6-28 record in 2011. Perhaps more important, that draft pick turned into the No. 3 selection in Monday’s 2012 WNBA draft.
But with two other first-round selections at the Mystics’ disposal this year, coupled with Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins deciding to remain in college another year, Lacey’s decision doesn’t look so bad with a pool of draft prospects that is short on bona fide stars.
“At the time we were thinking there would be a lot of good players in this draft and the position we’re in with two draft picks, we’ll get two good players,” Lacey said recently. “Right now, next year’s draft looks very deep. In hindsight, it kind of worked out for us because we’re still able to get two good players in the first round.”
Washington will have the No. 8 and No. 10 selections in the first round Monday, courtesy of other trades last season with the Atlanta Dream and Seattle Storm, respectively. The Mystics also have two picks in the third and final round of the draft.
After acquiring several interior players and more experienced bench options this offseason to complement forward Crystal Langhorne, Washington native Monique Currie and guard Matee Ajavon, Lacey would like to add a three-point shooter if possible.
“If we can fill a need, we will,” she said. “If we can’t, we’ll take the best player available.”
With Griner not in the draft, Stanford forward Nneka Ogwumike, who averaged 22.5 points and 10.2 rebounds as a senior, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
Maryland center Lynetta Kizer, a Woodbridge native, is one of 15 prospects invited to be in the green room in Bristol, Conn., during the draft. The 6-foot-4 Kizer averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds and was named the ACC’s sixth player of the year this season. In addition, Terrapins guard Anjale Barrett may draw interest from teams after the first round.
North Carolina’s Chay Shegog (Brooke Point) and Laura Broomfield (St. Mary’s Ryken), as well as Portland forward Natalie Day (Northwest) could also be selected during the draft’s three rounds.