Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner second pick in WNBA’s All-Star Draft

Jul 8, 2023, 11:39 AM | Updated: 2:10 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart made the WNBA All-Star draft about picking their current and former teammates.

Wilson took her Las Vegas Aces teammates Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young with her first two picks in the draft Saturday. She drafted Kelsey Plum as her top reserve choice, keeping all four Aces players together for the game that will be played in Las Vegas next Saturday. Wilson’s team will be coached by the Aces’ Becky Hammon.

“I mean, listen, you need to have a great point guard when it comes to games like this and I feel like she is going to be great,” Wilson said of Gray. “She’s going to be dropping dimes everywhere, going to get us in the flow. And that’s what makes a good team great, is a great point guard, so I had to go with Chelsea.”

Stewart took New York’s starting backcourt of Courtney Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu with her top two choices in the reserve draft. She made Brittney Griner her overall No. 1 pick in the draft. Griner is making her return to the All-Star Game a year after she was an honorary pick while she was detained in Russia.

“BG is my pick just because the way that she’s continuing to carry herself on and off the court,” Stewart said. “I think we can all say it’s impressive what she’s doing and she’s a dominant presence inside. We need her dunks, we need her energy, we need her everything.”

Both Wilson and Stewart stuck with choosing players that either they played with or went to the same college as much as possible in the draft. Wilson took South Carolina Gamecocks alumni Aliyah Boston and Allisha Gray.

Stewart drafted her former Seattle teammates Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor. The New York Liberty’s star also drafted former UConn teammate Naphessa Collier.

Other players drafted by Wilson included starter Arike Ogunbowale and reserves Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner, Cheyenne Parker and Elena Delle Donne.

Stewart’s team also includes starters Satou Sabally and Nneka Ogwumike and reserves Kelsey Mitchell and Kahleah Copper.

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