Good Morning
Good Morning

Liberty win WNBA Draft Lottery, get No. 1 pick for first time in franchise history

Liberty head coach Katie Smith talks to team

Liberty head coach Katie Smith talks to team during the first half of a WNBA exhibition game between the New York Liberty and the Chinese National Team in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 2019. Credit: Corey Sipkin

Yes, at least one New York pro basketball team has won the right to make the No. 1 pick in the draft.

During halftime of the Connecticut Sun-Los Angeles Sparks WNBA semifinals series game Tuesday night, the WNBA announced the order in which teams will pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft. For the first time in franchise history, the Liberty were given the No. 1 pick after years of missing out on the top selection to the Las Vegas Aces, who got the top pick for three consecutive seasons.

“This is a major thing for our franchise and our fans,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said Tuesday night. “We are in the process of reloading in such a way that a young dynamic player will be a big part of it . . .  It’s a really good night to be a Liberty fan.”

Much was made this past year about the Knicks’ chances of getting the No. 1 pick and taking Zion Williamson. Despite having the worst record in the NBA and the best chance (14 percent) of drafting No. 1, they ended up with No. 3.

The Liberty had a league-best 44.2-percent chance of getting the top pick. The WNBA lottery odds are based on the records of the four non-playoff teams over the past two years. With a two-year cumulative record of 17-51, the Liberty were the worst team in the league.

This draft could be a big game-changer for a rebuilding team.

Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon, the NCAA all-time leader in triple-doubles and the reigning Wade Trophy and Wooden Award winner, is considered the consensus top pick. Baylor’s Lauren Cox, a versatile post player who has been compared to Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne, is a close second and might be more attractive to the Liberty, who have drafted guards the last two years.

New York Sports