WNBA Draft: Ranking every No. 1 overall pick, including Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, others


The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the sports world, and the WNBA is no exception. The start of training camp and the regular season has been put on hold, but the league will still go through with 2020 draft. It will be held virtually and the players will all be at remote locations in a video room. 

In just a few weeks, on Thursday, April 17, the New York Liberty will have the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that they’ll select Sabrina Ionescu.

A 5-foot-11 guard out of Oregon, Ionescu put together one of the greatest collegiate careers of all time, finishing as Oregon’s all-time leading scorer, the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles and the only player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. 

With Ionescu expected to join the exclusive club of No. 1 overall picks, here’s a ranking of every single first pick in WNBA history

Note: We’re not including the 1997 Elite Draft. Prior to the inaugural season, the league held the regular collegiate draft, but then also had to figure out how to incorporate players who were already professionals into the WNBA. The first step was an initial allocation process in which 16 of the best players — including Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes — were randomly assigned to teams. Afterwards, the league held what they called the Elite Draft, where teams could select from the remaining unassigned pros. The Utah Starzz made Dena Head the first pick in that draft, but she was essentially 17th overall, thus it doesn’t seem fair to include her. 

23. Latoya Thomas — 2003, Cleveland Rockers (Defunct)

Career averages: 9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Career highlights: None

There have not been too many busts at the No. 1 spot in the WNBA Draft, but Thomas is definitely one of them. She was solid early in her career with Cleveland and San Antonio, but quickly declined and was out of the league after just six seasons and 150 games. 

22. Jackie Young — 2019, Las Vegas Aces

Career averages: 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists
Career highlights: 2019 All-Rookie Team

This is not an indictment on Young or her potential; it would be highly unlikely that she’s still this far down the list in 10 years. But all we have to work with for her WNBA career is a pretty good, but unremarkable rookie season. 

21. Kelsey Plum — 2017, San Antonio Stars (Now Las Vegas Aces)

Career averages: 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists
Career highlights: 2017 All-Rookie Team

It’s too early to call Plum a bust considering she’s only played three seasons and looked much improved in 2019, but she definitely hasn’t lived up to expectations after a historic collegiate career. 

20. Janel McCarville — 2005, Charlotte Sting (Defunct)

Career averages: 7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Career highlights: 1x champion, 2007 Most Improved Player

McCarville is another of the few busts at the No. 1 spot. Aside from a three-season run in New York where she won Most Improved Player in 2007 — not a great sign for a former top pick — her career was rather forgettable. 

19. Lindsey Harding — 2007, Phoenix Mercury (Traded to Minnesota Lynx)

Career averages: 9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4 assists
Career highlights: 2007 All-Rookie Team

The 2007 Draft was one of the weakest in WNBA history, with only one player — Ivory Latta — ever making an All-Star team. Harding, who went first, was definitely not a bad player, but she was never a star. 

18. Ann Wauters — 2000, Cleveland Rockers (Defunct)

Career averages: 9.9 points, 5 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Career highlights: 1x champion, 1x All-Star

Wauters has had a storied career overseas — she’s still playing at 39 — but never quite reached those same heights in the WNBA due to injuries and taking seasons off in order to stay in Europe. 

17. Chiney Ogwumike — 2014, Connecticut Sun

Career averages: 13 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Career highlights: 2x All-Star, 2014 ROY, 2014 All-Rookie Team

Two years after her sister Nneka went No. 1 in 2012, Chiney was the top pick in 2014. When healthy she’s been an All-Star level player, but has missed two full seasons due to injury in just six years. 

16. Jewell Loyd — 2015, Seattle Storm

Career averages: 14.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Career highlights: 1x champion, 2x All-Star, 2015 ROY, 2015 All-Rookie Team

Loyd made the rare decision to leave school early, and it paid off as she became the No. 1 pick in 2015. Though still early in her career, she’s proven to be a reliable scorer, and helped the Storm win a title in 2018. 

15. A’ja Wilson — 2018, Las Vegas Aces

Career averages: 18.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 blocks
Career highlights: 2x All-Star, 2018 ROY, 2018 All-Rookie Team

Wilson has had an incredible start to her career with the Aces, and it seems clear she’s on the path towards greatness. But she can only be so high up on a list like this when she’s played just two seasons. 

14. Margo Dydek — 1998, Utah Starzz (Now Las Vegas Aces)

Career averages: 10 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.7 blocks
Career highlights: All-time blocks leader, 2x All-Star

At 7-foot-2, the late Dydek was the tallest player in WNBA history, and still holds the all-time record for blocks with 877. She was a dominant rim protector, especially early in her career, and made multiple All-Star appearances. 

13. Chamique Holdsclaw — 1999, Washington Mystics

Career averages: 16.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Career highlights: 6x All-Star, 3x All-WNBA Second Team, 1x scoring champ, 1999 ROY

Holdsclaw often gets overlooked, perhaps on purpose because of some pretty ugly legal trouble, but at her peak she was incredible. A six-time All-Star, she led the league in scoring and rebounding in 2002. 

12. Breanna Stewart — 2016, Seattle Storm

Career averages: 20 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 blocks
Career highlights: 1x champion, 1x MVP, 2x All-Star, 1x All-WNBA First Team, 2016 ROY

Stewart has a borderline Hall of Fame resume after just three seasons in the WNBA, and was one of the most dominant young players the league has ever seen. But a torn Achilles forced her to miss the 2019 season, and has put her future in question. 

11. Nneka Ogwumike — 2012, Los Angeles Sparks

Career averages: 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals
Career highlights: 1x champion, 1x MVP, 6x All-Star, 1x All-WNBA First Team, 3x All-WNBA Second Team

The oldest of the Ogwumike sisters, Nneka has been a model of consistency since she entered the league. In 2016, she put together her finest campaign to win MVP and help the Sparks capture their first title since 2002. 

10. Brittney Griner — 2013, Phoenix Mercury

Career averages: 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3 blocks
Career highlights: 1x champion, 2x DPOY, 6x All-Star, 2x All-WNBA First Team, 3x All-WNBA Second Team

Griner is one of the most dominant interior players the league has ever seen, leading the league in blocks in every season since she entered the league. She’s improved her offensive game as well, winning the scoring title in 2017 and 2019. 

9. Tina Charles — 2010, New York Liberty

Career averages: 18.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Career highlights: 1x MVP, 7x All-Star, 5x All-WNBA First Team, 3x All-WNBA Second Team

The only thing missing from Charles’ resume postseason success. She’s won an MVP, made seven All-Star teams, five All-WNBA First Teams and has been a double-double machine since she entered the league.

8. Angel McCoughtry — 2009, Atlanta Dream

Career averages: 19.1 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.1 steals
Career highlights: 5x All-Star, 2x All-WNBA First Team, 4x All-WNBA Second Team, 2x scoring champ

McCoughtry is another star who hasn’t been able to find postseason success. Still, she’s one of the best two-way players the league has ever seen, winning multiple scoring titles and making seven All-Defensive First Team appearances. 

7. Seimone Augustus — 2006, Minnesota Lynx

Career averages: 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Career highlights: 4x champion, 8x All-Star, 1x All-WNBA First Team, 5x All-WNBA Second Team

During free agency, Augustus shocked the WNBA world by leaving the Lynx after 14 seasons to sign with the Sparks. In Minnesota the veteran established herself as one of the best shooting guards of all time, and helped lead the Lynx to four titles. 

6. Candace Parker — 2008, Los Angeles Sparks

Career averages: 17 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.6 blocks
Career highlights: 1x champion, 2x MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x All-WNBA First Team, 3x All-WNBA Second Team

Parker entered the league as the No. 1 pick in 2008 and promptly won ROY and MVP in the same season, a feat which will likely never be repeated. She’s not only one of the best forwards of all time, but was an evolutionary player with rare athleticism and versatility. 

5. Sue Bird — 2002, Seattle Storm

Career averages: 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals
Career highlights: 3x champion, all-time assist leader, 11x All-Star, 5x All-WNBA First Team, 3x All-WNBA Second Team

Bird is the best point guard the WNBA has ever seen, which is why she’s able to still operate at a high level late into her 30s. A three-time champ and 11-time All-Star, she’s also the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists. 

4. Tina Thompson — 1997, Houston Comets (Defunct)

Career averages: 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists
Career highlights: 4x champion, 9x All-Star, 3x All-WNBA First Team, 5x All-WNBA Second Team

In 1997, Thompson became the first ever No. 1 overall pick, and did not disappoint, helping lead the Comets to four titles in her first four seasons. Few players have had as long or storied careers as Thompson, who is second on the all-time scoring list. 

3. Lauren Jackson — 2001, Seattle Storm

Career averages: 18.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks
Career highlights: 2x champion, 3x MVP, 1x DPOY, 7x All-Star, 7x All-WNBA First Team

The only non-American to win the MVP Award — she did it three times — Jackson is right there in the G.O.A.T conversation. She had a truly remarkable run with the Storm, and was a dominant force on both sides of the ball. 

2. Diana Taurasi — 2004, Phoenix Mercury

Career averages: 19.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists
Career highlights: All-time leading scorer, 3x champion, 1x MVP, 9x All-Star, 10x All-WNBA First-Team

It’s difficult to even sum up Taurasi in just a few sentences. A one-of-a-kind competitor, the league’s all-time leading scorer and a three-time champion, she has a strong case as the best to ever do it. 

1. Maya Moore — 2011, Minnesota Lynx

Career averages: 19.2 points, 6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 steals
Career highlights: 4x champion, 1x MVP, 6x All-Star, 5x All-WNBA First Team

Moore has stepped away from the game to focus on more important matters off the floor, so she doesn’t have the longevity of some other players. But when she was on the floor, her all-around game, leadership and penchant for coming up big in the clutch meant there was no one else you’d rather have on your team. 





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