The Phoenix Mercury struggled last season as they finished with a 9-31 record. This was the worst record in the WNBA last season. This followed the 2022 season where they had a 15-21 record.
The WNBA Lottery odds are configured by a combination of records from the past two seasons. The Mercury had a combined record of 24-52, giving them the second-best odds to secure the number one pick behind the Indiana Fever.
Phoenix is guaranteed a top-four pick in the draft. The draw will take place on Sunday December 10. This upcoming draft is expected to be one of the deepest in WNBA history. So no matter where the Mercury end up, they will have a chance to land a franchise cornerstone.
The Mercury could end up with Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, the scoring machine with shooting ability not unlike Golden State Warriors legend Steph Curry. Stanford center Cameron Brink, who is a dominant force on both ends, is currently shooting 50 percent from the floor and blocking 3.8 shots per game.
Another talented player who could be available for the Mercury is Connecticut forward Aaliyah Edwards, who is a very effective post scorer. So far, she is shooting 59% from the floor for her college career. Edwards’ teammate Paige Bueckers will also be available. The guard has suffered some serious injuries during her college career, but when healthy, she is a dynamic scorer all over the court.
The most talked about option for the Mercury is Louisiana State forward Angel Reese. Reese began his college career at Maryland before transferring to LSU. During his first year at LSU, Reese helped the Tigers win a national championship. She averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds per game last season while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
The reason why she is the most talked about player in college is not only for her excellent play, but also for her behavior on and off the court. In last season’s national championship game, the Tigers were on their way to victory over Iowa when Reese took the opportunity to taunt Caitlin Clark.
ANGEL REESE HIT CAITLIN CLARK WITH THE “YOU CAN’T ME ME” 👀 pic.twitter.com/Zj3mqIzkk9
–ESPN (@espn) April 2, 2023
This was a big talking point in the sports world, as some fans thought it was fair game for Reese to use Clark’s “you can’t see me” taunt on her. Others saw this as classless on Reese’s part.
After winning the national championship, LSU brought back most of its best players this year. They are among the favorites to win the national championship. LSU lost its first game to Colorado, 92-78. The Tigers bounced back with five straight wins, but Reese didn’t play in the last two games.
There have been a lot of rumors about why she hasn’t played, but nothing has been confirmed. LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey did not comment on why the star player is not playing.
“You always have to deal with locker room issues,” Mulkey said. “It’s just part of coaching. That’s what coaches do. Sometimes you know them all, sometimes you don’t, and sometimes you want to know more than you have any right to know.
Is it too much?
Now that begs the question: Is Reese worth it? Reese is an exceptional player and perhaps the best in the country. If the Mercury believes she can help turn the team around and return them to championship contender status, then she’s definitely worth taking. The risk of her being a problem is the same as that with any player. She’s just been thrust into the spotlight, which makes her “problems” seem bigger than they are.
Now, maybe Reese isn’t what Mercury needs. They have an aging future Hall of Fame guard in Diana Taurasi, who is nearing retirement. It would seem that the ideal replacement for her would be a guard like Caitlin Clark or Paige Bueckers. It just depends on what Mercury thinks it can improve both in the short and long term.
If they don’t pick Angel Reese just because another player is better suited for basketball, then that’s not a problem. If they pass on a talent like Reese because of these perceived issues, they will be making a huge mistake.