Wings

Dallas Flaps Wings Towards Playoffs With Shrewd Draft

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The Wings have yet to finish a season with a winning record or win a playoff series since their arrival in Dallas in 2016. They’ve held top six picks in each of those years, and used those selections to draft some amazing young talent, including the reigning All-Star Game MVP, Arike Ogunbowale. However, even with a roster full of future stars, the Wings have not experienced success. Dallas held the seventh, 30th and 31st picks in the draft, but what did they do with those picks? How did they attempt to fill their roster needs? What does this mean for the team heading into the upcoming season?

Before diving into the draft’s events, let’s take a look how experts thought it was going to go. As expected, the main focus of the draft was effectively using that seventh pick to add some much needed talent. The Lead recently compiled predictions for the first round from eleven different mock drafts, with mixed results.

The Prospects

Rae Burrell

Actual Pick: 9th (Los Angeles Sparks)

Three of the predictions had the Wings drafting guard Rae Burrell out of Tennessee. Burrell averaged 12.3 points, 1.6 assists, and 3.9 rebounds last season and led the Lady Vols to the Sweet 16. These numbers are down from last season, however, when she averaged 16.8 points, 1.8 assists, and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 45.8% from the field and 40.2% from three-point range. If she can get her numbers back up to those of her 2020-21 season, she could prove to be an effective backcourt partner for Ogunbowale.

Veronica Burton

Actual Pick: 7th (Dallas WIngs)

Another three predictions had the Wings taking guard Veronica Burton. Burton averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.5 rebounds on 41.5% shooting from the field during her senior season at Northwestern. She also played defense capably, averaging a whopping four steals per game, first in the NCAA. As Winsidr details, Burton is an excellent two-way player. She was a finalist for National Defensive Player of the Year honors while being responsible for 50% of her team’s offensive production. She can help lead Dallas to wins in close games with her scoring and playmaking skills. At the same time, she can defend some of the league’s best guards and cover for star guards like Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey on offense.

Destanni Henderson

Actual Pick: 20th (Indiana Fever)

Two of the mock drafts, including the Lead’s, predicted that the Wings would use their seventh pick on Destanni Henderson. Henderson is the star point guard who recently won the NCAA Championship with South Carolina. She averaged 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists on 40.3% field goal and 39.9% three point shooting in her senior season with the Gamecocks. As the Lead’s Dano Mataya and Kayla Dos Santos detailed, the Wings seem to be planning on moving on from point guards Moriah Jefferson and Tyasha Harris. Henderson could be a replacement. Her shooting talent could provide much needed consistency from beyond the arc.

Other Predictions

While most mock drafts thought the Wings would take a point guard with their seventh pick, the last three drafts had the Wings taking bigs, namely Emily Engstler (actual pick: 4th, Indiana Fever), Nyara Sabally (actual pick: 5th, New York Liberty), and Elissa Cunane (actual pick: 17th, Seattle Storm).

Although it would have been great to see the Sabally sisters dominate the paint in Dallas, other teams clearly demanded Nyara. Therefore, it wasn’t likely she would drop to Dallas at seventh. Engstler was another player that Dallas may have desired. Unfortunately, the Indiana Fever used one of their four first-round picks to draft her at fourth. While the Wings did have an opportunity to draft Cunane before she dropped to the Storm at 17th, Dallas may have felt a stronger need to increase their depth at guard. (Consider that Dallas picked young stars like Satou Sabally and Charli Collier in the last two drafts.)

The Results

After talking with the front office (and a message from the GOAT, Tom Brady!), it seems that Burton, Dallas’s actual seventh pick, is excited to play for the Wings. Happily, Dallas is happy to have her. Greg Bibb, president and CEO of the Wings, emphasized how important her playmaking and defensive capabilities will be. He stated that she will be “a floor general for us” and “a defensive presence from Day 1.”

Dallas also selected guard Jasmine Dickey and forward Jazz Bond with their 30th and 31st overall picks. Dickey played exceptionally, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds last season for Delaware. Bond hooped superbly too, averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds a game for North Florida. Hopefully, Dickey and Bond will also find their roles within the team and help lead the Wings to future success.

The Wings drafted some amazing young stars over the past couple of years, and it doesn’t look like that will change with this new crop of talent entering the rotation. The skies of success are clear in Dallas, and we’re all lucky to witness it.

 

 

About Meera Murali

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