It’s only the beginning for the Atlanta Dream under new head coach Nicki Collen
The Atlanta Dream finished the 2018 season 23-11 with a playoff run for the ages. Their playoff run ended against the Washington Mystics after a valiant effort in the conference finals. Now we must look to the forward as the Dream finally have a playoff contending roster with 4 draft picks in the 2019 WNBA draft. This team doesn’t appear to have a glaring hole anywhere but these picks must be made. The following are my picks for the Atlanta Dream in the 2019 WNBA draft.
1st round-12th overall South Florida SF Kitija Laksa
Angel McCoughtry is on the downside of her career and after suffering a season-ending injury just before the playoffs began, the Dream should start thinking about the future of their small forward position. In comes Kitija Laksa out of the University of South Florida who has scorer written all over her.
Laksa averaged 21.1 points, 1.3 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per contest. In her 3 years at USF Kitija Laska improved her totals each year and has become a leader for the South Florida Bulls. Here are her highlights from when she scored 41 points against 13th ranked Ohio State.
The Dream often lacked that certain scoring punch off the bench outside of Alex Bentley so adding Laksa to an already stacked roster could be what the Dream need to finally win the championship.
2nd Round- 21st overall USC SF Mariya Moore
Mariya Moore is a solid player who can certainly help the Dream as she is an excellent team player. In her junior season at the University of Louisville, she averaged 12.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per contest. Moore has all of the intangibles you look for when scouting a player. She can definitely add a threat from the perimiter to the 2nd unit should she be selected here with the 21st overall selection. Here are highlights from her stellar 24 point performance versus the Miami Hurricanes.
Mariya Moore is also willing to do the little things so that the team can get the win. Having a junkyard type of player can aid any team and lucky for the Dream she falls to them at the 21st overall pick.
2nd round- 23rd overall China C Li Yueru
Li Yueru has been rising up draft boards due to her impressive showing during the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup. She was tasked to defend Liz Cambage who is arguably the WNBA’s best center and did fairly well against her. Yueru is a traditional big and at standing at 6-foot-7 she can be a force if she can acclimate to the WNBA style of play. Yueru would definitely be a project pick but that is something you can definitely bank on picking in the latter part of the 2nd round.
Here are some of her best moments from the FIBA Women’s Cup in 2017
3rd round- 35th overall Louisville PG Arica Carter
3rd round picks are usually just on the team until training camp ends but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a diamond in the rough. Arica Carter is apart of a very stacked Louisville team so it should be very apparent that she is a part of the reason why they are as good as they are. Carter could battle Kristi Wallace for the 3rd point guard spot on the team. Competition creates better players and I believe Carter could be just the player to push Wallace as they both would be playing for the first time in the WNBA.