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Tulsa _ which was a league-worst 3-31 last season and has just nine wins in two seasons since moving from Detroit _ picks fourth, followed by San Antonio, Phoenix, New York and Indiana. Then Lynx then pick again to close the first round, and _ thanks to several other trades _ also have the sixth, seventh and eighth selections of the second round, giving them five picks in the first 20.
Gary Kloppenburg, a former Fever assistant hired in the offseason to become the Shock’s third coach in three seasons in Tulsa, believes his team has a “good young core” that is ready to turn things around.
“I think that’s going to be our biggest challenge,” he said. “Increase the talent level through the draft and free agency, and put together a good training camp and really try to get out of the gate on a winning note.”
Kloppenburg said while some teams could try to deal some of this year’s picks for some next year, that’s unlikely because of the expected deeper talent pool that will include Griner and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins.
“Nobody really wants to give up any picks for next year’s draft just because of those reasons, the high quality of players that are coming out,” Kloppenburg said. “There definitely will be a lot of talk and coaches and GMs trying to maneuver to do that.”
Notre Dame’s Peters struggled with two ACL injuries early in her career, but played the last two seasons without any problems. She averaged 11.8 points and 9.3 rebounds as a senior, helping the Irish reach the national championship game for the second straight year. Notre Dame lost to undefeated Baylor in the NCAA final two weeks ago.
The 6-2 forward doesn’t believe her knee injuries are an issue anymore and shouldn’t impact evaluations of her in the draft.
“I haven’t had any problems with them in the past couple years, I haven’t had to sit out of practice or games because of my knees,” Peters said. “I think people bring it up because of all that I have been through. … I think it’s something that’s in the past for now.”
She’ll be one of several players angling for minutes in the WNBA, which starts its 16th season on May 18. Training camps open April 29.
“We have got a league that’s very strong,” Reeve said. “Each team has quality players. These players that are about to be drafted are going to have to come in and find a role, find a way that they can to fit best on the team and be impactful.”
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