Stars Receive #1 Draft Pick at WNBA Draft Lottery, 9/28

The San Antonio Stars were awarded the first overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft tonight during the WNBA Draft Lottery that aired live on ESPN2 at halftime of Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to add the No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft to our talented, young core,” Stars General Manager Ruth Riley said. “The evolution of the WNBA over the last 20 years has been significantly impacted by the contributions of the top players in the draft. Without a doubt, having the top pick adds an element of excitement and anticipation for our team, organization and fans this offseason.”
View full press release

The No. 1 Path to Success
Just how important has the No. 1 pick been during the WNBA’s first 19 seasons? The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 10 of the 19 players won Rookie of the Year, including seven of the past eight.
  • No. 1 picks have captured eight of the 19 MVP Awards.
  • Seven of the 19 went on to win a title with the team that drafted them.

That last figure is what gives WNBA general managers reason to bite their nails even harder than their NBA counterparts on lottery night. In the 30 years since the advent of the NBA’s draft lottery, just two top picks (David Robinson and Tim Duncan) have led their original team to a title – 6.7 percent compared to 37 percent in the WNBA.

It’s been said many times that basketball is a game where superstars reign. But their value is multiplied in the WNBA, where 1) there are only 12 teams; and 2) a can’t-miss college star has seemingly come around every few years.

When it comes down to it, landing that tide-turning player really can come down to luck – not only luck in the lottery, but also the good fortune of being in the lottery during the right year.

Top picks haven’t just changed the long-term trajectory of WNBA franchises; they’ve made an immediate impact, especially in recent years. The team that selected No. 1 has improved its record by an average of 7.6 wins over the last eight seasons and reached the playoffs in five of those years.

Read: “Stars Win The Lottery” by Lorne Chan