- Nancy Lieberman, Basketball analyst / Writer
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WNBA teams get to restock the shelves next week at the annual draft. The Lynx, Mercury, Sting, Silver Stars and Sparks have the top five picks and the most to gain. There are plenty of very talented players out there and it'll be interesting to see who the teams place their faith in. Here is my look at team needs and who might go where.
Charlotte Sting | Picks: 3, 10, 27, 29
But don't be surprised if Charlotte takes Duke's Monique Currie if she's available with the No. 3 pick. Currie is a very versatile player. The Sting could also use some help at the point guard position. Coach Muggsy Bogues will want to play an uptempo game, so Charlotte could use a Megan Duffy out of Notre Dame or Erin Grant from Texas Tech.
Sting 2005 Picks: Janel McCarville (1), Jessica Moore (24)
Chicago Sky | Pick: 6, 20, 34
The expansion team Sky need a lot of everything right now. They would do well to get a shooting guard like Lisa Willis out of UCLA. She is strong. She can shoot and defend. A good, smart point guard like Duffy or Grant will help them, too. It'll be fun to watch them build.
Sky 2005 Picks: None
Connecticut Sun | Picks: 28, 42
The Sun are pretty solid from top to bottom. They don't have a pick until the very end of the second round, so whomever they draft might not even make the team. Look for them to possibly sign a player out of Europe.
Sun 2005 Picks: Katie Feenstra (8), Erin Phillips (21), Megan Mahoney (34)
Detroit Shock | Picks: 17, 35
The Shock are a very exciting and solid team, but they could use a point guard. UCLA's Nikki Blue could help them. Detroit might also look at LSU's Scholanda Hoston to help them with their perimeter defense or Georgia's Alexis Kendrick with their No. 35 pick.
Shock 2005 Picks: Kara Braxton (7), Dionnah Jackson (13), Nikita Bell (20), Jenni Lingor (33)
Indiana Fever | Picks: 9, 26, 38, 40
The Fever's biggest weakness remains in the post. They need added scoring and rebounding to support their star, Tamika Catchings. They could take Khara Smith, the center from DePaul, if she is still available at the No. 9 pick.
Fever 2005 Picks: Tan White (2), Yolanda Paige (16), Ashley Earley (29)
New York Liberty | Picks: 12, 23, 37
The Liberty lost four starters in offseason, so they need to fill some holes. They need scoring and rebounding. New York could take a wing player like Connecticut's Ann Strother or UCLA's Lisa Willis if they are available at No. 12. Another target could be Khara Smith. Again, the Liberty need a lot, so the draft will be very important to them.
Liberty 2005 Picks: Loree Moore (10), Tabitha Pool (23), Rebecca Richman (36)
Washington Mystics | Picks: 8, 19, 33
The Mystics have a great coach in Richie Adubato and a very solid core. In this draft, they could get a slasher like La'Tangela Atkinson out of North Carolina or maybe a talented backcourt scorer like Tamara James of Miami at the No. 8 pick in the first round.
Mystics 2005 Picks: Temeka Johnson (6), Erica Taylor (19), Tashia Morehead (32)
Houston Comets | Picks: 15, 24
The Comets have a solid team, but they could use some help at the power forward position. They don't have a first-round pick so they would do well to get a player like Liz Shimek out of Michigan State at 15. Shimek has size, good counter moves and can make the face-up jumper. Plus, Shimek could develop next to a player like Tina Thompson.
Comets 2005 Picks: Sancho Lyttle (5), Roneeka Hodges (15), Jenni Dant (28)
Los Angeles Sparks | Picks: 5, 22, 36
Coming off a 17-17 season, the Sparks need to improve their defense and solidify their backcourt. Joe Bryant's team could use a player like Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year Candice Dupree out of Temple. Dupree can play "D," rebound and score. They could also use a scorer like Miami's Tamara James.
Sparks 2005 Picks: DeeDee Wheeler (26), Heather Schreiber (39)
Minnesota Lynx | Picks: 1, 7, 31
"With the No. 1 one pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft the Minnesota Lynx select ... Seimone Augustus from LSU." You could very well hear that on draft day. The Lynx need scoring, so Augustus, who scored more than 2,600 points at LSU, is the logical pick. If she's still available, point guard Nikki Blue would be a good pick at No. 7.
Lynx 2005 Picks: Kristen Mann (11), Jacqueline Batteast (17), Monique Bivins (37)
Phoenix Mercury | Picks: 2, 18, 21, 32
New coach Paul Westhead will want to find some players who can make his uptempo style work in the WNBA. If the Lynx take Augustus first, the Mercury could take Cappie Pondexter out of Rutgers with the second pick. They might also take Utah's Shona Thorburn at 18, BYU's Ambrosia Anderson at 21, and Tiffany Stansbury of North Carolina State with the 32nd pick.
Mercury 2005 Picks: Sandora Irvin (3), Angelina Williams (18), Jamie Carey (31)
Sacramento Monarchs | Picks: 13, 14, 41
With DeMya Walker on maternity leave, the defending champs will need some additional help in the post. The Monarchs might be able to get a player like Tye'sha Fluker out of Tennessee late in the first round. They could also use a little depth on the perimeter. La'Tangela Atkinson or Purdue's Aya Traore could be a good pick up.
Monarchs 2005 Picks: Kristin Haynie (9), Chelsea Newton (22), Anne O'Neil (30), Cisti Greenwall (35)
San Antonio Silver Stars | Picks: 4, 16, 30
The Silver Stars had a lot of injuries last year and should be a much stronger team this season. The addition of a player like Baylor's Sophia Young will help them greatly. There's a chance Young will still be available when San Antonio picks at the No. 4 spot. Young does everything. She's quick. She can score. She jumps well and can she can defend. She's a winner and she would be a great addition in San Antonio. Utah's Kim Smith would be a good pick at 16 and Tiffany Porter from Western Kentucky would also be a good choice for the Silver Stars.
Silver Stars 2005 Picks: Kendra Wecker (4), Shyra Ely (14), Cathrine Kraayeveld (27)
Seattle Storm | Picks: 11, 25, 39
The Storm need depth and youth to support Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird. They could use a backup point guard like Erin Grant, Megan Duffy or Sherill Baker from Georgia. That would be their best bet with the No. 11 pick. At 25, they could take Melanie Boeglin from Indiana State. And at 39 they take the best player available, who might be Emily Faurholt, the power forward from Idaho.
Storm 2005 Picks: Tanisha Wright (12), Ashley Battle (25), Steffanie Blackmon (38)
Nancy Lieberman, an ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer, is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. Contact her at www.nancylieberman.com.