It was just a matter of making it official.
There has been little suspense about the front end of the 2013 WNBA draft. Fans and prognosticators have been talking for weeks — months, really — about the “3 to See.”
Baylor center Brittney Griner, Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins.
The three superstars have been mentioned in the same breath with the best college basketball players of all time, and together they compose one of the most talented draft classes in WNBA history.
As expected, the three were at the top of Monday’s draft, with the Chicago Sky picking Delle Donne after the Phoenix Mercury made the 6-foot-8 dunking Griner the No. 1 pick.
The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne is a special hybrid, capable of banging inside, defending post players and blocking shots on defense while still being quick enough to score in transition and break down smaller players on the perimeter with drives to the basket and pullup jumpers.
“I think my versatility is going to be very helpful in the WNBA,” Delle Donne said. “Playing alongside Sylvia Fowles, Courtney Vandersloot, Epiphanny Prince and Swin Cash and all those players is going to be awesome, and I think I’m actually going to fit really well into that system.
“I think we’ll be able to spread the floor a lot and really create some room for Sylvia inside.”
The 6-foot-6 Fowles has been subjected to relentless double- and triple-teaming over the course of her career as the Sky has lacked a true scorer at the forward spot. Delle Donne has the potential to change that immediately.
She ranked second in the country in scoring this season with 26 points per game while seeing double and triple teams in every game.
“I think the WNBA will give me a lot of freedom, especially on the offensive end,” Delle Donne said. “I’m not going to have to worry about beating my first defender and then having a double team come at me. I think I will be able to use more moves and show a little more of my offensive repertoire.”
Meanwhile, Griner is looking forward to showing off her moves against Fowles. Griner says that she grew up respecting Fowles and that she is looking forward to that matchup more than any other.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing against Syl,” Griner said. “She’s tall and long and a force in the paint and, having that respect for her, I’ve always looked forward to the matchup.”
Griner has long looked forward to the next chapter in her career as well.
And yet, even though she has assumed since the draft lottery last fall that she’d be going to Phoenix, she still was overwhelmed when the news became official.
“When I heard my name, my mind stopped and my heart stopped,” Griner said. “I was kind of at a loss for words. It’s been the anticipation, and the wait. The moment finally came and I didn’t want to let go.”
The Sky had only one other pick in the draft and chose one of Griner’s teammates from Baylor, forward Brooklyn Pope. She was taken with the fourth pick in the third round.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.