WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge Winner Is…. + Final Thoughts from the Selection Committee.

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

 

Congratulations are in order for the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time Bracket Challenge winner Diana Taurasi! She won over Maya Moore who was the runner up. View the updated and final bracket here.

Diana Taurasi was placed in the first region, Region W. She beat out #16 seed Jewell Loyd in the Round of 64, #8 seed Dawn Staley in the Round of 32, #4 seed Sylvia Fowles in the Sweet 16, #2 seed Sheryl Swoopes in the Elite 8, #1 seed Lauren Jackson (from Region N) in the Final Four. She beat out several high profile players with terrific resumes of their own and it speaks to her popularity that she is the winner of this WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge.

Listed below are the final thoughts of the committee members who helped shaped the process of making the bracket, selecting the players and shaping the overall bracket.

Committee Member: Kevin Brown | Twitter @over_short

Final Thoughts:  We must have done pretty well with the seeding, given how few upsets there were.  The Final Four are not the four I would have chosen, but I’ve never been one to share popular opinion.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  In a popularity contest, she was the inevitable choice.  Fans love scoring, and nobody did more.  Fans love swagger, and nobody had more.  All the quibbles about defense and only having one MVP fall to the side in the face of her iconic bun.

Committee Member: Nathan Hiatt | Twitter @NATE_HIATT 

Final Thoughts: It was definitely an interesting process. As a person that loves sports and the WNBA in general, I thought that this would be a fun way to be creative and cope without any sports because of COVID-19. As a committee, we looked to make the bracket challenge as fair and as simple as possible, and I think we did pretty decent at that, though there was always bound to be debates throughout the process. It was certainly interesting to see how everything has panned out with some upsets, but for the most part this challenge went about as I expected as players now are more popular within the media and social media.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: Diana Taurasi has definitely been an unbelievable player for many, many years and extremely popular with fans. As the WNBA all-time scoring leader, her three WNBA Championships rings, basketball talent and her on-the-court and off-the-court personality and popularity with fans, it is easy to see why she won the bracket challenge as the Greatest Player of All-Time.

Committee Member:  Aneela Khan | Twitter @whoopsblogger

Final Thoughts: It was an interesting process. We tried to make it fair and try to make something enjoyable for all of us during these uncertain times. We did try to make the seeds fair and balanced but unfortunately, people seemed to disagree. Which is ok, when you build a bracket, because that usually happens. It is interesting how far some players got ahead of others because certain players are more visible in the media than the other players or that they simply do not or were not aware of some WNBA historical legends.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  Diana Taurasi is just fun to watch. Her ability to score points, her ability to lead her team when she needs to, her ability to help build up her team mates, her personality shines through. She is larger than life. As the all time WNBA scoring leader, she is truly remarkable and for that is she is the WNBA Greatest Player of All Time.

Committee Member: Michael Olsen | Twitter @colombianmikey

 

Final Thoughts:  I am so thankful for this opportunity.  As I begin to embark on my journey with college and figuring out what I want to do with my life, this tournament was an eye opener. I realized that whatever happens, I want to make basketball apart of it. I think the tournament turned out really well! Obviously, nothing is ever perfect and I wish some people would’ve won over others, but that’s the nature of voting. I hope that this tournament was a way for basketball fans to get a taste of basketball that they were missing. 

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  I was not  surprised. Many people have often said that she is the GOAT. Her career is none other than spectacular. I hope that we will continue to see her greatness for the next couple of years. She is getting up there in age, but I truly think that her desire will keep her playing for longer than people expect. She is impossible not to watch when she is on the basketball court and I know that she is an inspiration for any kid growing up with a basketball in their hands.

Committee Member: Lamar Smith | Twitter @inside380

 

Final Thoughts:  Despite, some players advancing based on their strong fanbase or controversy over some lower seeds,  I think the bracket was well done. The last two players in mind are the two best WNBA players right now. I had Maya ranked No. 2 and Taurasi No. 1 so I’m not surprised they are in the final.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: She’s the most fierce competitor and best scorer in the history of the league. She is what Kobe Bryant was to the Lakers or Tim Duncan was to the Spurs and that’s the embodiment of a franchise. She set the precedent for the culture, she’s won three rings and the Mercury consistently have one of the best attendances records every year. She’s simply MUST SEE TV.

Committee Member: Glen Starkey |Twitter @Starkman55

Final Thoughts: It was a long bracket and a tough process. Honestly, there were lower seeds worthy of more votes and high seeds who could have been knocked off early. But the chalk was fair and the final lineup despite some recency bias was how I judged the Final Four. Maya Moore vs Diana Taurasi is a terrific match up for the final (despite being an all UCONN final). I also thought Tamika Catchings deserved a place in the Final Four. But it is certainly a fair representation of the WNBA’s greatest players. That said, forgetting Yolanda Griffith still bothers me. She was a beast and one of the best pure defensive posts in the game.

Cynthia Cooper made it to the Final Four but to win 4 titles in the twilight of your career and be Finals MVP in all of them from ages 34 to 38 after spending a decade overseas is one feat I hope never gets forgotten as the WNBA grows a new generation of players.

Sue Bird may have gotten more of a push to the Final Four than expected but to be honest, her current notoriety and her reputation as a great clutch player overcomes any statistical shortcomings.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: Diana Taurasi certainly has the credibility throughout her career. Each of her three titles were earned and she was the key cog in all of them. In addition, when she plays, Phoenix wins. Period. While the end seems to be near with a very serious back injury, Diana Taurasi’s career is one of the finest. She has earned the right to be named the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time.

 

WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge – The Final Four

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

By now, you have heard of the WNBA Greatest of All Time Bracket Challenge. This bracket challenge was designed as a way to help recreate the March Madness feel that was missed this year. We started voting last month and now it has come down to the Final Four. The Final Four players left are Diana Taurasi (from Region W), Lauren Jackson (from Region N), Maya Moore (Region B) and Sue Bird (Region A). You can view the updated bracket here.

Each has their own respected WNBA resume and has left quite a mark on the WNBA. Diana Taurasi is the WNBA’s leading scorer and one of the most thrilling players to watch in the WNBA.  Lauren Jackson is one of the WNBA’s first international superstars who helped change the game for forwards/centers with her versatile style of play. Maya Moore won often and early in her WNBA career and all of it was accomplished before she was 30 years old. Sue Bird is a WNBA legendary guard and the all time WNBA assists leader.

The Final Four players beat out great players along the way and in three regions (Region W, N, B) all the #1 seeds advanced. But, in the last region (Region A), #2 seed Sue Bird beat out the #1 seed Lisa Leslie by a narrow vote.

The Final Four voting will begin on Saturday, April 25th at 10 am EST with the first two regions, Region W and Region N facing off. Diana Taurasi vs Lauren Jackson. On Sunday, April 26th at 10 am EST,  the other two remaining regions, Region B and Region A will face off. Sue Bird vs Maya Moore. The “championship” vote will be voted on April 28th at 10 am EST. The winner of the G.O.A.T WNBA Bracket Challenge will be announced officially on Wednesday, April 29th.

WNBA Virtual Draft Recap — A Honest Review

wnba draft, wnba, women's basketball

The WNBA Draft took place tonight on ESPN. It was held virtually, due in part to the global pandemic and taking social distancing seriously. It was going to be an experiment for other sports leagues to see if they could also pull it off. Pulling this off was not going to be easy because of technological glitches, different WiFi structures, delays, etc.

The virtual WNBA Draft actually started off really well. They had a great introduction, honoured Gigi Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester in a nice tribute, had great studio integration with Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Ruocco and Sue Bird had intelligent insight into certain players. She would make a fantastic head coach or TV analyst, she’d be great at both. It is absolutely normal for the #1 pick to have a ton of TV air time and to take up around the first 15 minutes of draft coverage. Sabrina Ionescu does deserve that coverage. She shined in college, she deserves that spotlight.

As a matter of fact, the first couple of picks were just fine. It’s when they got to the 4th pick in Chennedy Carter, and she did not have a proper microphone. The TV viewer can hear the conversation echo back and forth between her and Holly Rowe which is not great. By the way, Chennedy Carter is going to be a fantastic WNBA player. She’s going to be electric. Moving onto the 6th pick in Mikiah Herbert Harrigan in which they did not even interview her. I don’t even think ESPN realized that they missed her interview completely. I know that they acknowledged that that the 8th pick Ruthy Hebard was having some technical delays in terms of TV interview but that’s it. They never circled back.

I think ESPN’s coverage of the WNBA first round was actually pretty good. Minor problems. The issues that arose happened right around the 13th pick. We got the announcements from the commissioner on picks 13, 14, and 15 but after that, we just got them on the bottom of our screens. No offense, but when it is on TV commercials, that is when people look away, or reply to texts, emails, etc. No one is looking at the bottom of their TV screens.

On a personal level, when I am trying to tweet about certain players and how they fit or don’t fit on that team, another bunch of players would crop up. I barely had time to process it and then they never even bothered to say that was the end of Round 2. Or that the final round had started. I can’t even imagine what it was like for the players. They were robbed of their moment and the draft was swiftly finished at 8:45 pm. Not even 9 pm. We barely got acknowledgement of some of the second and third round picks. I should note, that some of the third round picks fell and can probably make a WNBA roster.

Overall, it was a mess. A hot mess. I’m so tired of women’s basketball and this is professional women’s basketball being treated like this. ESPN could have given the draft another hour. They should have slowed down their picks. Talked about a few of the second round and third round picks. They should have interviewed some more players. This was the perfect opportunity to bring in more WNBA fans as the sports world has essentially shut down and more eyes were on this draft than ever before. But, nope. That did not happen. ESPN let the WNBA down. They did them a disservice. I was severely disappointed and I know that I am not the only one.

I would say, I hope for a better WNBA Draft next year, but I think that’s hoping for too much. I think they will deliver a great first round but let us down again for the second and third rounds. Maybe one day, we will have a dedicated women’s sports channel that will get it right and deliver us the stories all of us want. Maybe one day

WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge – Selection Committee weighs in on Sweet 16

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

Our selection committee has come together once again to discuss the WNBA G.O.A.T Sweet 16. We shared our thoughts and opinions on the various players that made it into the Sweet 16. The updated bracket can be viewed here.

Just as a reminder, the selection committee members are: Kevin Brown, Nathan Hiatt, Lamar Smith, Michael Olsen, Aneela Khan and Glenn Starkey. We discussed our thoughts & opinions below. Enjoy!

Q: What were your initial thoughts on the Sweet 16?

Aneela: It’s an interesting field. All of the 16 WNBA players that have been voted in by WNBA Twitter users have great resumes and only one of them is under 30 years old. I would say that the variety of different players left that could be called the WNBA Greatest Player of All Time is definitely intriguing.

Glenn:  So the sweet 16 is set and so far, there are few surprises.  Voting did skew a bit towards the present players but aside from Yolanda Griffith not making it, I was not as taken aback by the finalists as others.

Kevin: Not many surprises in the S16, as there have been few upsets.  Brittney Griner as a #6 is the underdog, but she was seeded too low to begin with so it isn’t really a surprise.

Lamar: I’m very surprised Brittney Griner beat out Seimone Augustus. I think overall, Seimone is a better player and has had a better career overall. I feel Griner upset Seimone because she’s one of the more known WNBA players and has a strong fanbase.

Michael: I expected the sweet 16 to look something like this if I’m being honest. I think that all these women have earned their spots on this list.

Nathan: I think that the Sweet 16 has a really decent mix, and I believe that there are some extremely interesting matchups. There are a few matchups that I personally could see going either way for a Final Four spot. I think I am most intrigued for the matchup winner between Lauren Jackson and Elena Della Donne in Region N.

Q: What are your thoughts on both the Round of 32 and the Round of 64?

Aneela: There were some interesting match ups and there were some definitely some hard ones to vote for. Cash vs Vandersloot, Griffith vs Cash, etc. Breanna Stewart vs Maya Moore was the closest for the #1 seed in in terms of voting, all the #4 vs #5 matchups in the second round were too close to call.

Glenn: There were some players who were under seeded and Yolanda Griffith not advancing past round 1 was a crime, both in terms of seeding and many people not knowing how much of a presence Yolanda Griffith was in early history.

Kevin: The one major upset was Courtney Vandersloot over Yo Griffith.  Comes from the nature of the voting, I suppose.  Lots of newer fans who either never saw Griffith or only saw the over-the-hill version in Seattle and Indiana wouldn’t vote for her. Add in a little projection of what Vandersloot might do in the rest of her career and her also being seeded too low and it’s a shocker.

Lamar: Their weren’t many upsets but both were surprising upsets. Courtney Vandersloot and Skylar Diggins-Smith surprisingly advanced to the next round, I think decency bias had a lot to do with it. Especially in the case of Vandersloot because most people probably didn’t see Yolanda Griffith play. Everything else was very predictable.

Michael: I thought the voter turnout for the first two rounds was amazing! I am super excited to see what happens with the next rounds.

Nathan: I thought that the Round of 64 and Round of 32 went pretty straight-forward, but there were a few upsets. I was certainly the most shocked with the Yolanda Griffith loss against Courtney Vandersloot in the Round of 64. With Courtney Vandersloot currently a big name in the WNBA and many fans might not remember Yolanda Griffin, so that makes some sense.

Other than that, I was a little surprised with the Brittney Griner win against Seimone Augustus in the Round of 32 and the Skylar Diggins-Smith win against Deanna Nolan in the Round 64. I might have honestly picked Brittney Griner, as well, but definitely would have been a hard decision. It was a similar situation with Yolanda Griffith and Courtney Vandersloot and, then, Deanna Nolan and Skylar-Diggins Smith as Skylar Diggins-Smith has been extremely popular with fans since she was at Notre Dame.

Q: Who do you think will advance to the Final Four?

Aneela: I think Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson and Lisa Leslie narrowly make the Final Four. Although I expect it to be really tough.

Glenn: Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, Tamika Catchings and Sue Bird.

Lamar: Cythnia Cooper, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Tina Thompson

Michael: I think the final four will be Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Tamika Catchings, and Lisa Leslie.

Nathan: Diana Taurasi vs. Lauren Jackson and Maya Moore vs. Lisa Leslie. All chalk.

Q: Any surprises or extra comments you would like to make on the tournament so far?

Aneela: Popularity definitely helps. Although, a ton of younger voters may not have had the pleasure of seeing some of the earlier players, so that’s why the voting could be skewed. But I think they did a pretty good job. I would I say agree with a large majority of their choices.

Glenn: The sweet 16 really shapes up for some close polls. In the  W region any one of the 4 remaining can be considered the GOAT based on the metric and DT and Swoopes who are my Elite 8 picks is a tough decision. It’s the  best of the first generation vs the best of the 2nd. In the N region, it is old vs new.  Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner surely will have their places in history but against Cynthia Cooper and Lauren Jackson, it gets pretty tough. In the B region, I sure hope Tamika Catchings gets her due but it will be tough against Maya Moore. In the A region, there are a variety of difficult choices to decide on who moves forward between Sue Bird, Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie. 

Kevin: Region N should have the closest matchups in the S16.  Delle Donne is a tough #4 seed with her two MVPs.  In the other matchup, Cynthia Cooper’s best years happened two decades ago.  Easy to see the low seeds making both those races tight.  Regions W & A should also be competitive.  Region B…not so much.

Lamar: I think it’s been interesting to see how close a lot of the votes have been thus far. I think recency bias has played a lot in some of the voting. A lot of the players that played in the early stages of the WNBA were hurt by the lack of marketing and publicity. That’s why I think most of the Sweet 16 consists of players that played during an era where the WNBA started to establish footing.

Michael: I was a little shocked that Britney Griner beat out Seimone Augustus if I’m being honest. Personally, I’m hoping for more upsets because it creates more drama and draws more attention to the tournament as a whole!

Q: Final question, do you see any potential upsets happening? Do you see a #1 seed falling?

Aneela: Yes. I forsee that in the Region B where I can see the #1 seed falling to the #2 seed. Other than that, it will be very close. It will be very tough, no doubt about it.

Lamar: I think Lauren Jackson has the best chance of getting upset in her side of the bracket. Both EDD and Coop have big fanbases and are very accomplished players. EDD just won a championship last year and arguably is pretty comparable in talent to Jackson.

Michael:  I could see Tina Thompson beating out Sue Bird. I also think that Tamika Catchings will upset Maya Moore.
Nathan:  I personally wouldn’t pick any No. 1 seeds to get upset, but I think I could see a case with a Lauren Jackson loss to Elena Delle Donne and a Lisa Leslie loss to Sue Bird because current popularity in the WNBA.

2020 FINAL WNBA Mock Draft

Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M is a top draft prospect.

*Update: I have now updated the mock draft one last time due to the Tina Charles trade to DC. The order has now changed*

We have now reached the month of April and so has much changed since a month ago. The world has stopped due to a global pandemic yet the WNBA has decided on a virtual WNBA draft this year. It will take place on April 17th on ESPN. Make sure to tune in to see who will get their names called.

We also have all the information on all of the potential WNBA draftees. Chennedy Carter is the latest early entrant, joining both Megan Walker and Satou Sabally. Aarion McDonald is staying back at school for her senior year,  Arella Guirantes is also staying in school, Ciara Duffy is no longer interested in a pro career, Erica Ogwumike may or may not go to medical school and that is just the gist of some of the top college players this year.

Alot has changed in my mock draft from last month. Some players have moved up, some have moved down and some are no longer there. The draft has gotten deeper since November and now there are some stars in this draft class. We still do not know if the WNBA will have a season or if it will be cancelled. Also, keep in mind that this is just a mock draft and the real draft always comes with surprises and twists as I have seen in previous years.

Without any further ado, listed below is my 2020 FINAL WNBA Mock Draft. You can view Version 1.0 here, Version 2.0 here and Version 3.0 here. I have also listed a couple of other WNBA mock drafts that you can view and compare to.

ROUND ONE

  1. New York – Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon
  2. Dallas – Satou Sabally – Oregon
  3. Indiana – Lauren Cox – Baylor
  4. Atlanta – Chennedy Carter – Texas A&M
  5. Dallas – Megan Walker – Connecticut
  6. Minnesota – Tyasha Harris – South Carolina
  7. Dallas – Ruthy Hebard – Oregon
  8. Chicago – Crystal Dangerfield – Connecticut
  9. New York – Beatrice Mompremier – Miami
  10. Phoenix – Mikiah Herbert Harrigan – South Carolina
  11. Seattle – Te’a Cooper – Baylor
  12. New York – Bella Alarie – Princeton

ROUND TWO

  1. New York – Kiah Gillespie – Florida State
  2. Indiana – Jocelyn Willoughby – Virginia
  3. New York – Joyner Holmes – Texas
  4. Minnesota – Mikayla Pivec – Oregon State
  5. Atlanta – Kathleen Doyle – Iowa
  6. Phoenix – Haley Gorecki – Duke
  7. Seattle – Tynice Martin – West Virginia
  8. Los Angeles – Kaila Charles – Maryland
  9. Dallas – Stella Johnson – Rider
  10. Los Angeles – Brittany Brewer – Texas Tech
  11. Connecticut – Shadeen Samuels – Seton Hall
  12. Washington – Leaonna Odom – Duke

ROUND THREE

  1. Atlanta – Peyton Williams – Kansas State
  2. New York – Yuan Li – China
  3. Atlanta – Minyon Moore – Oregon
  4. Indiana – Luisa Geiselsoder – Germany
  5. Phoenix – Abi Scheid – Northwestern
  6. Chicago – Kylee Shook – Louisville
  7. Seattle – Kitija Laksa – South Florida
  8. Chicago – Juicy Landrum – Baylor
  9. Las Vegas – Jazmine Jones – Louisville
  10. Los Angeles – Nadia Fingall – Stanford
  11. Connecticut – Jordan Danberry – Mississippi State
  12. Washington – Sara Rhine – Drake