There is virtually no doubt that the New York Liberty will draft Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu with the first pick of the WNBA Draft on Friday night. But the second pick and beyond should provide some drama when teams announce the names of the players they want on their rosters.
PointsBet Sportsbook lists Ionescu as the -25000 favorite to be the first pick in the WNBA Draft.
Ionescu Ready to Shine in New York
There’s good reason for Ionescu to be such a lock. In her senior year, she scored 17.5 points per game for the Ducks, along with 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per night. She became the first player – male or female – to tally 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in her NCAA basketball career. All indications are that she will quickly adapt to the WNBA game and become a franchise point guard for the Liberty.
Technically, you can bet on other players to be the first pick. PointsBet lists Oregon forward Satou Sabally (+1300) and Baylor forward Lauren Cox (+1300) as the most likely surprise picks in the top spot. But it would be truly stunning – and nearly inexplicable – if New York selected anyone other than Ionescu.
Even Ionescu has been open about how excited she is to likely be playing basketball in New York.
“Just the marketability that there is in New York and kind of the hustle and bustle is something that I think can be not only beneficial to myself as a person, but as a brand, and for women’s basketball,” Ionescu said, via USA Today. “If I get that opportunity, I will definitely be excited to try and use that to the best of my ability.”
Things become slightly less certain when looking at later draft picks. Sabally comes in as a -1000 favorite to be selected second overall, but there is some debate between her and Cox (+500), as various scouts hold differing opinions on the two best big women in the draft.
WNBA Draft Odds by Pick
- Sabrina Ionescu (-25000)
- Satou Sabally (+1300)
- Lauren Cox (+1300)
- Satou Sabally (-1000)
- Lauren Cox (+500)
- Sabrina Ionescu (+2000)
- Lauren Cox (-334)
- Satou Sabally (+175)
- Chennedy Carter (+850)
Odds via PointsBet
Sabally, who teamed up with Ionescu at Oregon, is the more versatile of the two players, which is why many expect the Dallas Wings to take her with the second pick. The six-foot-four forward averaged 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for Oregon this season.
Cox – who also stands at six-foot-four – put up similarly impressive numbers at Baylor, scoring less (she averaged 12.5 points per game this season), but grabbing 8.4 boards per game. The biggest knock on Cox is her injury history. She famously injured her left knee in the 2019 national championship games against Notre Dame, a game Baylor won 82-81.
That will likely be enough to allow the Indiana Fever to draft her with the third overall pick. PointsBet has Cox as the -334 favorite to go with the No. 3 pick, ahead of Sabally (+175). Another possibility is Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter (+850), who has averaged more than 21 points per game in each of her three college seasons.
Coronavirus Forces WNBA Into Virtual Draft
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the WNBA Draft is proceeding as a virtual event without any players or other people in attendance. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the picks live on ESPN starting at 7 pm ET, with the top draft picks participating remotely by video.
“The WNBA Draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” Engelbert said in a statement last month. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game, as well as the general public, is paramount.”