The Phoenix Mercury had a tough go of it this past season as they finished with a record of 9-31. This was the worst record in the WNBA last season. It followed the 2022 season where they were 15-21.
The WNBA lottery odds are configured by a combination of the records from the past two seasons. The Mercury had a combined record of 24-52 which landed them the second best odds to get the number one overall pick behind the Indiana Fever.
Phoenix is guaranteed a top four pick in the draft. The draft lottery will be held on Sunday, December 10th. This upcoming draft is projected to be one of the deepest in WNBA history. So, no matter where the Mercury end up they will have a chance to get a franchise cornerstone.
The Mercury could end up with Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, the scoring machine with shooting ability that is reminiscent of Golden State Warriors legend Steph Curry. Stanford center Cameron Brink, who is a dominant force on both ends, currently shooting 50% from the floor and blocking 3.8 shots per game.
Another talented player that may be available for the Mercury to pick is Connecticut forward Aaliyah Edwards who is a very efficient post scorer. She shoots 59% from the floor for her college career so far. Edwards’ teammate Paige Bueckers will also be available. The guard has dealt with major injuries during her college career but when healthy is a dynamic scorer from anywhere on the floor.
The Tiger’s Stripes
The most talked about option for the Mercury is Louisiana State forward Angel Reese. Reese started her collegiate career at Maryland before transferring to LSU. In her first year at LSU, Reese helped lead the Tigers to a national championship. She averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds per game last season while shooting 52% from the floor.
The reason she is the most talked about player in college is not just for her excellent play but her behavior on and off the floor. During the national championship game last season the Tigers were on there way to victory over Iowa when Reese took the opportunity to taunt Caitlin Clark.
ANGEL REESE HIT CAITLIN CLARK WITH THE "YOU CAN'T SEE ME" 👀 pic.twitter.com/Zj3mqIzkk9
— ESPN (@espn) April 2, 2023
This was a big topic of discussion 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 their top players this year. They are one of the favorites to win the national championship. LSU lost their first game against Colorado, 92-78. The Tigers have bounced back with five straight wins but Reese hasn’t played in the last two games.
There have been lots of rumors about why she has not played but nothing has been confirmed. LSU women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey has not said why the star player isn’t playing.
“You always have to deal with locker room issues,” said Mulkey. “That’s just part of coaching. That’s what coaches do. Sometimes, y’all know about them, and sometimes you don’t, and sometimes you want to know more than you’re entitled to know.”
Is it too much?
Now this brings up the question is Reese worth the trouble? Reese is an outstanding player and may be the best in the country. If the Mercury believe that she can help turn the team around and led them back to being a championship contender then she is definitely worth taking. The risk of her being a problem is that same that exists with any player. She has just been put in a spotlight that makes her “problems” seem bigger than they are.
Now, maybe Reese isn’t what the Mercury need. They have an aging future hall of fame guard in Diana Taurasi who is close to retirement. It would seem like the perfect replacement for her would be a guard like Caitlin Clark or Paige Bueckers. It just depends on what the Mercury believe will make them better in both the short and long term.
If they don’t pick Angel Reese strictly because another player is a better basketball fit then that is fine. If they pass on a talent like Reese because of these perceived issues, they will be making a huge mistake.