As the 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm® is one day away, the New York Liberty organization is ready for its 25th draft in franchise history. After winning the WNBA Draft Lottery for the second-straight year on December 4, 2020, the Liberty used the 2021 No. 1 overall pick to acquire three-time WNBA Champion, Natasha Howard, from the Seattle Storm. In the same series of transactions, New York acquired this year’s No. 6 overall pick from the Phoenix Mercury, while also maintaining picks No. 17, 25 and 29.
The 2020 WNBA draft was historic for the New York Liberty as the franchise used its first-ever No. 1 pick to draft Sabrina Ionescu, and five other rookies while also executing two draft night trades; most notably, the acquisition of Jocelyn Willoughby from Phoenix.
This year’s draft will take place on April 15. It positions the Liberty to make history again with the sixth selection— a spot where the team has had success in prior drafts. The Liberty’s previous two No. 6 overall selections proved to be franchise-defining players, as it brought Liberty Ring of Honor member, Sue Wicks (1997), and Crystal Robinson (1999) to the Big Apple.
In more recent history, the No. 6 overall pick was used across the league to acquire several current WNBA stars, including, but not limited to, Candice Dupree, Stefanie Dolson, Dearica Hamby, Jonquel Jones and Napheesa Collier.
The No. 17 overall selection has also produced its fair share of WNBA talent. This list is highlighted by one of the Liberty’s newest members, 2020 WNBA Most Improved Player, and key free agent acquisition: Betnijah Laney. Another notable No. 17 pick is Washington’s Alysha Clark, who helped the Seattle Storm to two WNBA Championships (2018, 2020) alongside current Liberty players Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb.
New York has also had unique success with No. 25 picks, specifically in the backcourt. Leilani Mitchell, who the Liberty acquired via trade from Phoenix following the 2008 WNBA Draft, went on to become a staple in the team’s rotation for six seasons from 2008-2013. During that span, Mitchell led the Liberty in three-point shooting, and still holds the all-time franchise record in three-point field goal percentage (48.6%, 72-148). Another No. 25 pick who the Liberty acquired was Paris Kea. Kea was a steadying presence to the 2020 roster and posted career-highs across nearly all statistical categories during her debut season with the Liberty.
With a star-laden pool of NCAA and international prospects who have declared for the 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm®, there are numerous players who can bolster New York’s roster while also adding to the character-driven identity being built in Brooklyn.
The 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm® will be exclusively televised by ESPN from 7-9 p.m. ET on April 15. For more information, please visit wnba.com.