2017 WNBA Draft Primer

NEW YORK, N.Y. – APRIL 11, 2017 – The 2017 WNBA Draft is set for Thursday night at the Samsung 837 Theater in NYC. Coverage of the 1st Round tips off on ESPN2 at 7 PM, followed by 2nd & 3rd Round coverage on ESPNU beginning at 8 PM. New York holds the No. 14 and No. 34 overall picks in this year’s draft as a result of some trades prior to the 2016 season, and by virtue of finishing with the 3rd-best record in the league last year. So how did we get here, and what’s in store?

New York executed a pair of trades during the 2016 preseason that resulted in the Liberty picking at No. 14 this year. First, by sending its 2017 2nd Round pick to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for guard Shoni Schimmel, due to league rules, New York could no longer move its 1st Round pick without getting a 2nd rounder in return, teams cannot trade both their 1st and 2nd round picks in the same draft.

So when the Liberty sent its 1st Rounder to Dallas for 2015 2nd overall pick Amanda Zahui B, Dallas had to send a 2nd rounder back to New York as well. This means that New York, in essence, really only moved down four spots from No. 10 to No. 14 in order to add Zahui B last spring.

The Liberty has posted the best record in the Eastern Conference for two-straight seasons, with back-to-back campaigns of 20-plus victories and WNBA Playoff berths. The goal this season is to reach the WNBA Finals, the same as it was for all of 2016. Selecting at No. 14, it’s likely New York looks for the best available players, but there is an open spot heading into the start of the season due to the retirement of Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright’s decision to rest during the 2017 season.

With an early consensus that the 2018 WNBA Draft is already shaping up to be deep with a number of potentially impact players entering the league, it seems unlikely that any team will part with an early round pick for next year’s edition of the draft.


  • New York has previously held the No. 14 overall pick twice, selecting Erlana Larkins in 2008 and Tyuanna Marshall in 2014.
  • The Liberty will pick at No. 34 because it had the 3rd best record in the league in 2016 (21-13).
  • Last season, New York did not make any draft day trades, and selected Adut Bulgak (No. 12 overall), Ameryst Alston (No. 24 overall), and Shacobia Barbee (No. 36 overall).
  • New York will have two of last year’s draft picks on its 2017 Training Camp roster in Alston and Barbee. Barbee was unable to compete last season due to a broken foot suffered during her senior season at Georgia and will be in a WNBA Camp for the 1st time.