With the All-Star Game approaching, we’re nearing the halfway point of the 2023 WNBA season.
It’s been fun so far, with Chelsea Gray dropping dimes, Arike Ogunbowale getting ejected and signing autographs, and Breanna Stewart shining with her new team.
And since the 2023 NBA Draft is behind us, we thought it might be fun to look toward the next basketball draft we’ll see: the 2024 WNBA Draft next April.
So, below is our big board for 2024 WNBA Draft prospects, from Caitlin Clark to Hailey Van Lith – two players we might see clash in the Final Four next year, if we’re lucky.
Is it too early for this? Probably. But that’s part of the fun.
This is not a mock draft for a few reasons. First, we don’t know the draft order yet. And second, teams will draft for need. For example, if the Indiana Fever land the top pick again, they probably won’t take a post player, considering how dominant Aliyah Boston has been as a rookie.
All the players listed below will be eligible for the 2024 draft, but all might not enter, for various reasons ranging from charter flights to NIL to team fit to the lack of roster spots available. The players who have college eligibility remaining beyond the 2023-24 season are noted with an asterisk.
If you wanted to build the modern WNBA big in a lab, the final product might look a lot like Cameron Brink. Depending on where you look, she’s listed at either 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, but her wingspan makes her seem so much bigger and intimidating to opponents driving into the paint. Brink blocked 118 shots last season, which was second in the nation, and had 10 games in which she swatted away at least five shots. Brink is quick and has good footwork – and not just for her position.
In some parts of her game, she looks like a guard. She averaged 15.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as a junior, and for the third straight season knocked down double-digit 3-pointers. As the WNBA continues to ask its bigs to expand their game as the league becomes a bit more positionless, Brink should fit right in.
— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) May 30, 2023
If we were looking at the potential 2024 class after the 2020-21 season, Bueckers would’ve been the projected No. 1 pick after averaging 20 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while becoming the first freshman to be named AP National Player of the Year. But injuries have hampered Bueckers the past two seasons, and she missed all of the 2022-23 campaign. She’s expected to be fully healthy this season, and folks in the WNBA will be watching closely to see if she can return to her elite form.
A strong, mobile and effective post scorer, Edwards has a game that just keeps improving and should translate well to the WNBA. Her jumpshot keeps getting better – as does her defense – and she proved this past season that she can be the centerpiece of a team as Bueckers and Azzi Fudd battled injuries.
She’s a bit of a tweener size-wise, but defends well for her position and averaged nine rebounds and a block per game this past season.
I’m running out of superlatives for Aaliyah Edwards. pic.twitter.com/53j8MTj0Dp
— Myles (@MylesEhrlich) January 18, 2023
Jackson has been a reliable scorer in the SEC for four seasons now. She’s a proven to be an elite scorer in the paint and her 3-point shooting has improved each year. At 6-foot-2, she has a WNBA-ready body for her position.
— Ballislife Womens Basketball (@ballislifewbb_) February 7, 2023
What’s that old saying, you can’t teach height? Cardoso is listed at 6-foot-7, but it seems like she’s probably closer to 6-foot-9 with the way she towers over her collegiate opponents. WNBA scouts will be watching her closely this season as she moves into a bigger role for the Gamecocks after backing up Aliyah Boston for two years.
The last time Cardoso was a starter – as a freshman at Syracuse – she was named ACC Freshman and co-Defensive Player of the Year averaging 13.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game.
That might be the dagger for the Gamecocks.
Kamilla Cardoso is a heck of a basketball player who has progressed a ton this season. She’d also make a great red zone threat for Shane Beamer. pic.twitter.com/MPq7Z7g7BD
— Gabe Ibrahim (@gabe_ibrahim) February 12, 2023
The Most Outstanding Player of the 2023 Final Four is obviously a supremely talented post player, having averaged 23 points and 15.4 rebounds per game last season while leading LSU to its first national championship, but will that be enough in the WNBA? Reese is listed at 6-foot-3, which means teams will likely be reluctant to play her as a true center. This means she’s likely a 4 in the WNBA, which means teams are going to ask her to knock down a 3-pointer every now and then, which is something she has simply not done with any sort of consistency in college; she’s 4-of-23 from behind the arc in three collegiate campaigns.
Still, some teams will ignore that part of Reese’s game because of her athletic ability, raw talent and proficiency as a rebounder and inside scorer.
Amoore proved this past season that she’s a future WNBA player. Despite being listed at 5-foot-6, her smooth handle, wicked quickness, clear vision and sharp IQ allows her to break any pressure she might face from a defense. She was named the MVP of the ACC Tournament last season and was the Most Outstanding Player of Virginia Tech’s regional in the NCAA tournament. She’s a big reason why the Hokies won the ACC and advanced to the Final Four, and a big reason why they’re favored to do so again.
Sheldon is a versatile two-way guard with elite quickness. She can knock down 3-pointers with consistency (ignoring this past season where her shooting percentages were impacted by her injury) and steal away possessions from opponents. She can orchestrate a pick-and-roll, operate as a slasher and lead a transition. Her handle and effectiveness on defense should make her a plus-player on both ends in the pros.
JACY SHELDON GAME-WINNER. pic.twitter.com/KNEHAWYkoG
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) March 20, 2023
Taylor probably would’ve gone in the first round of the 2023 draft, but instead chose to return for Duke for another season. But after assistant coach Winston Gandy left for South Carolina, Taylor chose not to stick around Durham. She entered the portal, and the Ohio State Buckeyes landed one of the best defenders in all of college basketball. Taylor averaged 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game at Duke last season, leading the Blue Devils to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
In her final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, she nearly had a quadruple-double, posting eight points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and 10 steals in an overtime loss to Colorado. Taylor was a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, and her defending is the part of her game that should transition well to the WNBA.
Kitley likely would’ve been a first-round pick this past draft, but elected to run it back for one more year at Virginia Tech, where she will likely leave as the program’s best player ever. The two-time ACC Player of the Year has nearly all the tools you would want out of a post player offensively, but scouts likely want to see her stretch her game more often – in four seasons at Virginia Tech, she’s just 6-of-23 from 3-point land. As a defender, the 6-foot-6 Kitley is solid at the rim, but could still improve that part of her game.
Leger-Walker’s stock grew last postseason as she averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game in the Pac-12 tournament as the Cougars won the conference title. She’s a versatile guard with good vision who can create shots for herself and teammates. With some improvement on the defensive end, she could turn herself into a first-round pick.
— espnW (@espnW) March 6, 2023
Lee is 6-foot-6 and once scored 61 points in a single game. After averaging a double-double as a freshman and junior, she’s a proven to be a dominant force in the paint. The question here is her health, as Lee missed all of the 2022-23 season while recovering from knee surgery. She still has two years of eligibility left, which is plenty of time to show WNBA decision-makers that she can hang in the pros.
Osborne is solid defender and a decent scorer. She does a little bit of everything well. But her production as a scorer and a passer has only gone down the past two seasons. And, in the 2022-23 campaign, she shot a career-worst 29.2 percent from 3-point range. That won’t cut it in the WNBA. Osborne has to show scouts that she can consistently carry an offense.
Charisma Osborne (@CharismaOsborne) made a huge impression against Oklahoma scoring 3️⃣6️⃣points. She’s sneaky quick and makes some great reads. @CoachCoriClose has @UCLAWBB clicking at the right moment! #MarchMadness #Sweet16 #NCAAWBB #SmallsSnippets #NCAAW #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/yNE3TTSdx6
— Carolyn Smalls (@carolyn__smalls) March 23, 2023
There’s no questioning Van Lith’s talent at the collegiate level. She helped power Louisville to a Final Four as a sophomore and averaged 19.7 points per game this past season as a junior. But when folks start to project what her career looks like as a pro, her consistency as a shooter is worrisome. Van Lith shot a career-worst 29.3 percent from behind the arc this past season while taking a career-high 5.4 3-pointers per game.
For a player listed at 5-foot-7, scoring inside is only going to get harder in the WNBA, so she’ll need to prove she can be a reliable threat from deep. She may get the chance to do that at LSU, where Reese and Aneesah Morrow will garner a lot of attention inside.
— Overtime (@overtime) June 1, 2023
Also considered: Maddie Scherr, Kentucky*; Deja Kelly, UNC*; Alyssa Ustby, UNC*; Te-Hina Paopao, South Carolina*; Sarah Andrews, Baylor*; Aijha Blackwell, Baylor; Hannah Jump, Stanford, Nika Muhl, UConn*; Maddy Westbeld, Notre Dame*