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The History and Evolution of the WNBA Draft

The WNBA draft is an annual event where 36 players are selected to join the 12 teams in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the WNBA draft, from the draft date and rounds to the eligibility requirements and format changes.

We will also delve into the history of the first WNBA draft, including the original teams and the first picks.

Draft Date and Rounds

The WNBA draft takes place in April and consists of three rounds. There are 12 selections per round, making a total of 36 players drafted.

The order of the draft is determined by the inverse standings from the previous season. This means that the team with the worst record in the previous season will have the first pick in the draft.

The team with the best record will have the last pick.

Draft Order and Lottery Picks

In addition to the inverse standings, the WNBA draft also includes a lottery system to determine the top four picks. The lottery picks are based on a random draw that takes into account the cumulative records of the teams over the past two seasons.

The team with the worst cumulative record has the highest odds of winning the first overall selection, while the team with the best cumulative record has the lowest odds.

Draft Eligibility

To be eligible for the WNBA draft, players must meet certain requirements. They must be at least 22 years old in the year of the draft or have their college eligibility exhausted.

Additionally, players who have completed high school but have not attended college can be draft-eligible if they have been out of high school for at least four years. Players who declare for the draft and are not selected may still be signed as free agents by WNBA teams.

Draft Format Changes

The WNBA draft has undergone several format changes since its inaugural draft in 1997. The first draft was known as the player allocation draft, where teams were assigned players based on geographical regions.

This format was replaced by the WNBA Elite Draft in 2006, where teams were allowed to select players who had completed their college eligibility or were international players. The Elite Draft lasted for only one year before the league returned to a four-round draft.

In 2012, the league switched to the current three-round format, where only the top 36 players are drafted.

First WNBA Draft

The first WNBA draft was held on April 28, 1997. The eight original teams in the league were the Houston Comets, Sacramento Monarchs, Los Angeles Sparks, Cleveland Rockers, Utah Starzz, New York Liberty, Charlotte Sting, and Phoenix Mercury.

The draft was a four-round selection process where each team had two picks per round, with the order of selection determined by a coin toss. The first overall selection in the draft was Vicky Bullett, who was picked by the Washington Mystics.

The other notable pick was Dena Head, who was selected by the Charlotte Sting as the second overall pick.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the WNBA draft is an exciting event for basketball fans, where young players have the opportunity to join the ranks of the top professional women’s basketball league in the world. From the draft date and rounds to the eligibility requirements and format changes, there are many factors that go into the selection process.

By exploring the history of the first WNBA draft, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the growth and development of the league over the years. In summary, the WNBA draft is a crucial event in women’s basketball that takes place in April, consisting of three rounds and 36 players drafted.

The draft order is determined by inverse standings, with a lottery system determining the top four picks based on cumulative records. Eligibility requirements include being at least 22 years old or having college eligibility exhausted.

The first WNBA draft in 1997 consisted of a four-round selection process, and the league has undergone several format changes since. The importance of the WNBA draft in shaping the league’s future cannot be overstated, as it is an opportunity for teams to select top talent and build championship-caliber rosters.

FAQs:

1. When does the WNBA draft take place?

The WNBA draft takes place in April every year. 2.

How many rounds are there in the WNBA draft? There are three rounds in the WNBA draft.

3. What determines the draft order in the WNBA draft?

The draft order in the WNBA draft is determined by inverse standings from the previous season, with a lottery system determining the top four picks. 4.

Who is eligible for the WNBA draft? Players must be at least 22 years old in the year of the draft or have their college eligibility exhausted.

High school graduates who have not attended college can also be draft-eligible if they have been out of school for at least four years. 5.

What was the first WNBA draft like? The first WNBA draft in 1997 consisted of a four-round selection process, with each team having two picks per round.

The order of selection was determined by a coin toss.

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