Not every WNBA draft pick will make her team's roster. Here's why

The WNBA draft is over, and superstars like No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark are heading toward surefire pro careers.

Not all 36 selections from his year’s draft will have such assurances. The league has 144 coveted roster spots among 12 teams, and other options for pro careers in women’s basketball either in the U.S. or overseas are scarce.

It’s a sharp contrast from men’s prospects who don’t make NBA rosters. They have more opportunities, including more overseas opportunities and playing in the G League.

The NBA also has 30 teams with 15 players allowed on the regular season roster, so there are more spots available.

There’s a simple reason why being among those 36 draft picks doesn’t ensure a roster spot: most of the spots will be taken by returning players.

Only 19 of the 2023 picks played at least one game in the WNBA last season. Since 2018, 142 of 216 draft picks (65.7%) have played in a WNBA game at some point in their career.

The high mark was 28 of the 36 draftees in 2019.

Players have tried to carve out a WNBA chance by playing professionally overseas, but those jobs are also at a premium. Brittney Griner’s nine-month incarceration in Moscow along with the war in Ukraine have led to the elimination of dozens of potential jobs in Russia.

Clark, the former Iowa player and the NCAA’s career leading scorer, was picked first overall by the Indiana Fever, and she’ll certainly get a chance. The same is likely true for Stanford’s Cameron Brink (No. 2, Los Angeles) and national champion South Carolina star Kamilla Cardoso (No. 3, Chicago).

Last year, only seven of 12 second-round picks and three of 12 third-round picks saw any regular-season action. That suggests nothing is guaranteed for NCAA Tournament standouts like UConn’s Nika Mühl (drafted No. 14, Seattle Storm) and Iowa’s Kate Martin (No. 18, Las Vegas Aces).

Of course, it’s disappointing for players who come so close to fulling their WNBA dreams but get squeezed out because of numbers. It also can be a big deal for fans who no longer get to see a favorite college player on the court.

“You can be a great college player and not make a WNBA roster,” ESPN WNBA analyst LaChina Robinson said last year. “You’re not only competing with players that are currently on the roster, but also a ton of women’s basketball players overseas that have been honing their skills and waiting for opportunity to break into the WNBA.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top