2023 WNBA Draft Breakdown for Fever, Lynx, & Wings

4 min read

Blythe Hastings ’23

Sports Editor

Lin Dunn returned to the Indiana Fever as general manager in 2022 with a three-year plan to get the franchise back on its feet. The Fever’s coach for the organization’s zenith—winning the 2012 WNBA championship—Dunn said the team had to be rebuilt with youth and defense. She added to those qualities with the Fever’s five picks in Monday’s 2023 WNBA draft. Indiana selected South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time Lisa Leslie Award winner as the top college center, with the No. 1 overall pick. Boston can play the power forward or center positions, and she will have a chance to expand her already strong offensive skills in the WNBA. ESPN’s annual WNBA draft grades reflect the hopes of franchises looking to turn things around (Indiana has not been to the playoffs since 2016), trying to get to the next level (the Dallas Wings aspire to become contenders) or reloading after past success (Minnesota Lynx). Those teams were the most active in this draft: the Wings had six picks (one via trade) and Indiana and Minnesota had five each. With 12 teams and a maximum of 12 roster spots (teams often carry just 11 players due to salary cap considerations), it’s always very difficult for many of the draftees to make a roster. But they will all go to training camps with high hopes. The defending champion Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty—now dubbed superteams after big free agent additions—each had only one pick in the third round, and thus didn’t qualify for a grade in this draft

Draft Breakdown by Team

Indiana Fever: Add Boston to an interior that already has last year’s first-round picks NaLyssa Smith, Emily Engstler, and Queen Egbo, and you have the makings of a strong group of post players on both ends of the court. With Berger, the Fever get strength, toughness, defense, and playmaking at the point guard spot—and someone who will bring in fans, as she was such a popular player at nearby Indiana University. Mikesell is one of the best 3-point shooters in the draft, and she played for an Ohio State team that was strong defensively. It’s been a tough few years for Fever fans after the retirement of franchise legend Tamika Catchings and some subsequent moves and draft picks that didn’t work out, but this team could be headed back to the postseason if all goes well.

Minnesota Lynx: The Lynx had a dynasty, but now they are starting a new era, and this group of players could help. Miller has such a high ceiling as a potential All-Star player who could become one of Minnesota’s big standouts, along with Napheesa Collier. Hirsch isn’t expected to play this season, but she has intriguing potential down the line for a franchise that lost all-time great Sylvia Fowles to retirement after last season.

Juhász could step in right away and help with rebounding and interior defense. Like most teams, the Lynx have had a lot of success with former UConn Huskies; Juhász could be a similar story. If Beal makes the team, she perhaps could be a defensive standout whose offensive game gets a chance to grow at the next level.

Dallas Wings: The Wings sure seem to like the draft. But will this group help them take the next step in the postseason? Soares won’t this year, as she is out with an ACL injury, but she could in the future. She was selected by Washington then immediately traded to Dallas; we’ll see how she fits into the Wings’ lineup next season. Will Dallas have any regrets about trading a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 first-round pick to get her? Wings president Greg Bibb said the team’s biggest goal in this draft was to get shooters, and the Wings did so with Lopez Sénéchal, Meyers and Joens. In fact, with Siegrist and Joens, they picked up two players who between them had 5,956 points and 2,493 rebounds in college. Some of these picks might not make it with Dallas, but they could catch on with other WNBA teams.

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