The San Antonio Stars may have not won the “Stewie” Sweepstakes last year, as they got the second pick in the draft and Breanna Stewart went first overall to the Seattle Storm. They did far more than settle for Stewarts college teammate in Moriah Jefferson, the diminutive guard got better with every game last season. She was handed the keys and ran the team quite well during her rookie campaign, averaging 13 points and 4 assists, and 2 rebounds a game.
This year, the Stars knew they had the number one pick and were essentially the winners of the Kelsey Plum sweepstakes after winning the draft lottery. The University of Washington potentially has the opportunity to have players from their programs be the number one overall draft picks in both the WNBA and NBA draft. They’re halfway there after Plum went first to San Antonio, for the Huskies the wait is now on to see where guard Markelle Fultz is selected in the mens draft in June. He showed up to the WNBA draft to support Kelsey on her big day.
Plum is one of the greatest scorers in college basketball history. Finishing second overall in both mens and womens in career points behind only Pete Maravich (3,667), she finished with 3,527. Despite being 5’8, she tormented defenses for four years. The “Crafty Lefty” has had her game compared to James Harden several times this season, similar to James she’s able to get her own (quite easily) and get others involved. While addressing the media at the draft, she mentioned that she’s played with Moriah before (twice) with USA basketball.
That would give San Antonio two of the best guards in back-to-back draft classes. Some may ask where this leaves the returning Kayla McBride, well at 5’11 she could possibly play the three (small forward). That’s a devastating trio of players on the perimeter for opposing defenses to handle. Obviously no one expects Plum to immediately come in and average 20 points a contest, but similar growth to that of Moriah last year would be more than ideal. While it’s fair to question if Plum can play off the ball, Jefferson shot 37% from deep last season which is a great look in catch and shoot situations. McBride barely played last season due to rehabbing from a knee injury. Still, she is one of the league’s better shooters and should only get better shots playing with these two guards.
The Stars had nearly as good a second selection in the first round as they did with the first pick. They took Northwestern’s swiss army knife Nia Coffey, she should fit in seamlessly and has the skills to set the table for these three guards. She’s a bit like Draymond Green with a better offensive arsenal, which is a little scary once that thought settles in. At Northwestern, she became the first player in school history to register both 1000 points and rebounds. A four time All-Big Ten First Teamer, Coffey has shown that she is aggressive enough offensively to lead a team while using her other talents to affect the game in different areas. Similar to the impact Aerial Powers had for the Wings last season, Coffee is one of those versatile, near position-less players that can be used to dictate matchups on either end of the floor.
The Stars have several key veterans that can help expedite the process for these young players to learn how to be come professionals.
Seattle went from near last to a playoff team last year, it’s far too early to make any type of declaration with training camp still a couple of weeks away. It’s fair to say that the Stars have an opportunity after the last two drafts to play themselves back out of the cellar and back into the land of competing for the playoffs.