Shock hopes for top pick
BY LYNN JACOBSEN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
11/02/10 at 7:00 AM
Since going to the draft lottery system in 2002, the WNBA team that statistically had the best chance of getting the overall No. 1 pick has done so 44 percent of the time.
Tulsa, which coincidentally has 44.2 percent (or 442) of the 1,001 ping-pong balls in the lottery for April's 2011 draft, will know its fate around 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Shock coach and general manager Nolan Richardson, along with president Steve Swetoha, will be at the league's headquarters in New York City for the lottery picks.
"Getting that lottery pick would give us a huge lift," Richardson said. "You never know from that No. 1 pick where your program will go - from the standpoint of players who would come and play with that No. 1 player."
Since the lottery system was installed, no team has a worse record after getting the No. 1 pick. Atlanta made the biggest jump, going from just four wins in 2009 to 18 and a playoff berth in 2010.
Tulsa could slip as low as fourth in the lottery draft, which also includes two picks for Minnesota and Chicago. Regardless, the Shock will have two of the draft's top seven picks (stemming from last season's trade that sent Kara Braxton to Phoenix).
Connecticut forward Maya Moore tops a talented class of 2011 players.
"She's the top player without a doubt," Richardson said. "She's the same as (Diana) Taurasi was when she came out (as the top pick in 2004). Maya is very smooth, very strong. She can dunk. She's just a very good player."
Other players of interest include Oklahoma guard Danielle Robinson, 6-foot-8 center Elizabeth Cambage of Australia, 6-5 forward Amber Harris of Xavier and Jantel Lavender of Ohio State.
Tulsa still owns the rights to Deanna Nolan, who elected not to play in the WNBA last season. She has expressed interest in playing in 2011, but has not indicated if she would be willing to play in Tulsa.
If Nolan asks to be traded, the Shock could get another first-round pick.
Lynn Jacobsen 581-8461