Connecticut coach Anne Donovan at least made an attempt to convince media folks that the Sun are still debating who they will take with the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft Monday (ESPN2 and WatchESPN, 8 p.m. ET). Wait, it has to be Stanford post player Chiney Ogwumike, right? Not so fast, Donovan said.
"[Odyssey] Sims is quite the player," Donovan said of the Baylor guard. "Everybody who thinks that it's a foregone conclusion that Chiney Ogwumike is going to be here with us ... we'd love to have Chiney Ogwumike, we'd love to have Odyssey."
OK, but where do the Sun have the greatest need? Inside. So as the holder of the top pick, Connecticut is almost sure to make Chiney the second member of the Ogwumike family to be taken with the first selection in the draft.
If that does happen, how does the rest of the draft -- which will be held at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. -- play out? Where will some of the other big names from this senior class -- such as Maryland's Alyssa Thomas, UConn's Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley, and Notre Dame's Kayla McBride -- end up as pros?
The draft is an annual exercise in prognostication that is sometimes predictable but also can have an "out-of-left-field" element to it.
The curveballs, if you will, generally come from selections of foreign players that American media and fans are not very (or at all) familiar with. Some teams/GMs have more of a history in that regard than others.
Likewise, some organizations have a more consistent track record overall in regard to how their picks pan out. At least with Chiney Ogwumike, there is a very good indicator of how she might do as a professional.
"We already have the measuring stick of what her sister did in the league early on," Donovan said of Nneka Ogwumike, the No. 1 pick by Los Angeles in 2012 who was named WNBA rookie of the year that season. "More than anything, it's intangibles with both Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. They've both shown they're great leaders, great athletes. Their styles do translate to the WNBA.
"Chiney [is a] great rebounder, can play either post position, face up or back to the basket. I think her sister [is] probably a little bit stronger and more physical. Chiney would be more of a finesse player. But I don't know how that will change as she continues to mature and she gets a little bit more accustomed to the physicality of both the international game and the WNBA."
Last year, there was not much debate that the No. 1 pick would be Baylor center Brittney Griner, and she did have a solid season with Phoenix. But the No. 2 selection, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, was the rookie of the year and helped lead Chicago to its first playoff berth.
Generally speaking, it's hard to find true impact players even late in the first round, let alone in the second and third rounds. Especially in regard to them having an impact as rookies. However, there have been some gems from later selections. It's just not something to count on.
If you have one of the lottery picks (top four), then you are probably in need of someone who can contribute right away. But how many of those players are available in every draft? That's where there are surprises, both good and bad.