ESPN WNBA mock draft: Mercury nab Paige Bueckers after Caitlin Clark goes No. 1

Dec 8, 2023, 2:10 PM

Paige Bueckers...

Paige Bueckers #5 of the UConn Huskies looks on following her three-point basket during the second half of the game against the NC State Wolfpack at Reynolds Coliseum on November 12, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. NC State won 92-81. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

The WNBA Draft Lottery will sort out the selection order on Sunday. Most of the top college women’s basketball prospects after this season must opt in or out of going pro. Even with those two items undetermined, the Phoenix Mercury should be in a good spot in April regardless of whether they have the opportunity to nab Iowa guard Caitlin Clark.

There’s more big-name talent atop the potential draft class.

ESPN’s pre-lottery mock draft by Michael Voepel has the Mercury coming away with UConn guard Paige Bueckers with the second pick after the Indiana Fever select Clark first overall.

Phoenix has the second-best odds to land the No. 1 overall (28%) pick behind the Fever (44%).

Who are the top players potentially in the 2024 WNBA Draft?

Bueckers, a junior, is still finding her groove after missing part of the 2021-22 season and all of last year due to two major knee injuries, a fracture and meniscus tear in December 2021 followed by an ACL tear in August 2022.

She’s not far from her freshman form. Bueckers is averaging 19.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game on 49% shooting for a UConn team relatively underachieving at 5-3 so far this young season.

Bueckers, like Clark, has the option to return to school.

Clark, in her fourth season for the Hawkeyes, is averaging 29.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. She’s widely regarded as the top pick should she enter the draft.

The talent behind her isn’t bad if the Mercury slide a spot or two in the draft order via the lottery. Bueckers came out of high school as the top player in the 2020 class.

Beyond that, Stanford forward Cameron Brink viewed as a top-three pick and in Voepel’s mock goes with that selection.

The senior is averaging 18.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 60% overall and 42% from three on just more than an attempt per game.

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ESPN WNBA mock draft: Mercury nab Paige Bueckers after Caitlin Clark goes No. 1