The WNBA Draft is upon us. In just a couple of days, we will get to learn of new names, new faces who will become future stars of the WNBA. As an avid WNBA watcher for 10 years now, I think it’s time to unveil my TV viewing guide to those watching the WNBA Draft for the very first time.
- The WNBA Draft is a big event for the WNBA and for all the 12 teams. The draft invitees get treated like superstars that day. By the time the draft starts, the anxiety and nerves set in.
- There will be an ESPN crew to handle the draft. Usually it’s Rebecca Lobo + another analyst, Holly Rowe and Ryan Rucco plus LaChina Robinson. Their job is to moderate and comment on all of the draft picks immediately, especially in the first round.
- The WNBA commissioner will come out onto the stage and declare that the draft is now underway. The timer then sets to 3:00 minutes for the first round.
- The first round is made for TV so those 3 minutes between picks for talking EVEN when the draft pick is in.
- The ESPN crew will then discuss who the top prospects are. EX: A’ja Wilson, Azura Stevens, Jordin Canada.
- Expect LOTS of camera shots of A’ja Wilson. And on her coach Dawn Staley
- If Wilson goes as #1 pick, expect Holly Rowe to interview head coach Dawn Staley as well as presumed pick A’ja Wilson.
- When it’s time for the #2 pick, expect lots of camera shots of Kelsey Mitchell, Azura Stevens, Gabby Williams, etc.
- When that #2 player is announced, look at the other players faces. That’s always fun. Or look at the parents/families faces.
- Expect lots of words such as “potential”, “raw talent”, “can be a contributor right away” to be used.
- When Holly Rowe is interviewing players, expect her to ask these two questions, 1) Congratulations! How do you feel right now? and 2) What do you feel like you can bring to Team X?
- We may or may not get war room shots of teams in the first round.
- The first round can be dramatic occasionally. Or it can go as planned. They usually finish the first round by the alloted time, however if it goes late, you have to quickly turn to ESPNU. Which most people don’t have. It’s usually the 11th or 12th pick that ends up in that situation.
- Trades. For whatever reason, everyone always thinks there’s so many TRADES that will happen. NO. I’m here to set the record straight. Yes, there may be trades, but expect only 1 or 2 in the first round. The rest can be done in the second or third round but it may not have an impact.
- Also, if there is a trade, the ESPN crew will acknowledge it and analyze the trade on the spot. You will get the analysts opinion right away.
- If you want constant updates on the draft order selection, do not trust the WNBA Twitter page. It can be slow and a bit behind. ESPN on TV for the first round is reliable. After that, they are barely announced. It’s on the score ticker below the screen.
- If you do want constant updates, trust one of the bloggers or reporters that are there live. They will be your best source that day.
- When that second round starts, usually ESPN does announce the first couple of picks. But after the 15th or 16th pick, they start interviewing coaches. Or players from the first round. Expect them to interview A’ja Wilson during this time. As well as head coach Bill Laimbeer of the Las Vegas Aces.
- More war room shots.
- The second and third rounds go by so fast. Like a blur. The draft is done in the alloted time.
- When it’s done and completed with, expect the next ESPN program to start immediately.
- For the most part, ESPN does do a great job of televising the WNBA Draft. But as an avid WNBA watcher & part time blogger I would love more. I would love for the second round picks to be announced. The same with the third round.
Addendum: you’ll usually have a good sense of who the next pick is by which prospect the commentators are suddenly talking about, or if they start saying “Will Team X take Player Y?”
Each pick does actually get a formal on-stage announcement, but like you said, ESPN gets distracted by shiny objects and goes to chase butterflies instead. It is extremely frustrating when you’re a fan of teams whose seniors aren’t going to be in the top half of the draft.
The draft not being open to the public is a shame. I’ve had the privilege of going four times (once as a guest of a contest winner, once as media, twice as a fan) and it’s been an incredible experience each time. (2009: got the VIP treatment and still have the picture of me with Kia Vaughn; 2010: wrote enormous Draft Notes of Doom for Swish Appeal before the change of management; 2015: AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH BILL LAIMBEER IS DOING THINGS MY ADRENALINE IS THROUGH THE ROOF (pretty sure we scared Boyd’s family and definitely got a shoutout from Negandhi); 2016: all my girls are getting drafted in the third round SO MANY FLAGS) I think everyone should get to experience that.