Barring any trades, the Indiana Fever will make pick third overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft. Barring any further changes, that event will still take place on Friday, April 17.
The draft will undergo significant format changes, however. Essentially, it will be a remote event for all participants this year.
This is good news for Indiana basketball bettors. While there are no lines up yet for WNBA Draft betting, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) approved both WNBA and WNBA Draft betting at Indiana sportsbooks, so they will be showing up on IN online betting apps in the coming weeks.
Announced changes for the 2020 WNBA Draft
This year, there will be no fans, media or players in attendance. New WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will lead the virtual event.
ESPN will televise the event, set to begin at 7 p.m. ET that night. Engelbert will announce each pick live on the broadcast. The location she will do so from is still to be determined.
Engelbert released a statement in conjunction with the news on Thursday.
“The WNBA Draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft. 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. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes.”
The league says top prospects will participate in the broadcast from remote locations. Exactly how many prospects or who those prospects will be is still up in the air.
Team personnel may also be part of the broadcast, although that’s still uncertain. The New York Liberty select first overall this year, followed by the Dallas Wings.
Most experts expect New York to take Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, first overall. Analysts have floated names like Ionescu’s former Ducks teammate Satou Sabally for Dallas at No. 2 overall.
Although two of the best players in the country will be off the board when Indiana’s turn comes up, there will still be some great talent available. The Fever have a lot of options.
Where the Fever may go with the third overall selection
If the Wings pass on Sabally, it will be hard for Indiana to do the same. Sabally forewent her potential senior season at Oregon to enter the draft this year. When she made the announcement, she dramatically redefined this draft class.
Dallas might go instead with Baylor forward Lauren Cox, especially for the Texas connection. Cox would help strengthen the Wings’ fan base and after losing both Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith in consecutive years, the franchise could really use a hometown hero on its roster.
The Fever have similarly lacked a franchise player since their current general manager, Tamika Catchings, retired from playing in 2016. New head coach Marianne Stanley could make the team’s mediocre offense over quickly by adding Sabally to a roster that includes 2019 All-Star Game MVP Erika Wheeler.
If Dallas takes Sabally, Cox is no consolation prize. She is the same height at 6’4″ and scouts consider her a better defender than Sabally.
Indiana has already pulled off a trade to move up in the second round, so don’t be surprised if the franchise makes further moves to improve its roster before or on draft night.