It's been over a month since the WNBA draft sent these rookies to their new homes. Before we head into the regular season at the end of the week, let's check in on the top 12 picks of the 2018 WNBA Draft and recap their individual preseason performances.
In two preseason matchups against the Chinese National Team she went 8-11 from the floor for 20 points and against the Dallas Wings she finished 4-17 with nine points. Wilson looks to be a focal point in what coach Bill Laimbeer is trying to do with the newly established team, expect plenty of touches and an offense focused on this No. 1 Draft pick.
In a 79-65 win over the Sky, Mitchell's preseason jitters led to her shooting 16-percent on 2-12 from the field and 0-6 from the three point line. Followed up with a nine point performance against the Mystics. Mitchell shot 92 percent from the free throw line in preseason. As she continues to settle in and the Fever revamp, Mitchell is expected to do what she does best, score and shoot the ball.
She did not compete in preseason due to her team in Turkey, Cukurova, advancing to the semi-finals. DeShields averaged 16 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 45 percent from the field in Turkey this season. She has since returned to the states and to the Chicago Sky.
The Chicago Sky went 0-3 in preseason as they continue to sort out this young roster. After a combined 0-7 from the field in the first two contests, Williams appeared to be more comfortable in their final tuneup against the Lynx, finishing with seven points. Her role on this team may take some time to be defined, but she is unique and brings a versatility at the three and four that others don't.
In one of the more impressive rookie preseason showings, Canada also averaged three assists to go along with three rebounds a game at 5'6. She got herself to the free throw line connecting on 13 of 14 for 93 percent from the charity stripe. Although very different, Canada can step in a learn the ropes from legend Sue Bird. I anticipate a highly productive and exciting season from her.
Stevens currently leads the Wings in scoring and rebounding after three preseason games. She made her debut finishing 8-11 from the field to finish with 19 points against the Liberty. The 6-foot-6 forward can stretch the floor and finished for a combined 4-9 from the 3-point line at 44 percent. Stevens may have one of the highest ceilings in terms of potential and versatility with many still scratching their heads as to how she was not a higher pick.
Atkins shot 2-9 and finished with seven points in the Mystics opener against the win over the Lynx. She followed up with a six-point performance in their win against the Fever in 15 minutes of play. The Mystics were high on Atkins in the draft with her high percentage shot selection and athleticism she brings to the team.
The rookie jitters may be getting to Vivians as well as she went 2-13 and shooting 15 percent in two preseason games. Fever fans have little to worry about, this is a young team and it may take some time for these rookies to gain confidence in the league. Vivians is a big, talented and highly skilled guard who has proven to be able to fill it up.
Lexie saw a steady increase in production and shooting percentage in the three Sun preseason victories. Her best performance was against the Dream where she finished with five points on 2-4 shooting for 50 percent from the field and stagged two steals and two rebounds. Brown has the ability to create for herself and others while being a tough perimeter defender.
Nurse started out with a bang scoring 10 points in only six minutes of play in the Liberty's opening preseason game against the Wings. She followed that up with a 19 point performance on 7-13 shooting, 3-6 from beyond the arc for 54 percent against the LA Sparks. Clearly feeling right at home, the Liberty will look to Nurse for her defensive presence and scoring ability, especially beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-3 Russian superstar has not participated in any preseason games as she completes her overseas commitments. the 19-year-old looks to join the Sparks after averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds and two assists with Dynamo Kursk this past season.
The 6-foot-5 center got the nod in their preseason opener against Seattle. She finished with 10 points on 5-6 shooting for 83 percent and six rebounds in 22 minutes of play. With the return of Griner, her minutes dropped slightly in the preseason rematch where she finished with four points in 16 minutes. Gulich will continue to get better, she is a solid back up option inside and provides youth that the Mercury needed.
Other notable rookies are Stephanie Mavunga from the Fever and Monique Billings with the Dream. Both had impressive preseason showings with Billings averaging five points and four rebounds in an average of nine minutes of play. Mavunga looked like a seasoned veteran as she averaged 11 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes per game.
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