It had been 11 years since Seattle had been in the WNBA draft lottery. Coach Brian Agler and the Storm made the most of their return, walking away with the No. 1 pick Thursday night.
”We fought hard to try and not be here down the stretch, as did Tulsa,” Agler said. ”If you can’t be in the playoffs you come here and make the best of it. We were going to leave here with a lot of optimism and direction. That’s why I like the lottery being held this close to the end of the season. You can put that behind you and move forward.”
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Unlike some of the previous years, when there was a definite choice for the top pick, Agler said he sees a lot of college seniors who could potentially help teams.
”I don’t know if there is a clear cut decision as far as who will go No. 1 and No. 2,” Agler said. ”There will be multiple players who will make a roster.”
Seattle won the initial draft lottery in 2002 and drafted Sue Bird. The Storm also were in the next two lotteries but didn’t get the No. 1 pick.
The Tulsa Shock will pick second with Connecticut getting the third and fourth choices. The Sun acquired the Liberty’s pick on draft night this past April in part of a package for Tina Charles.
”We’re hopefully not going to be here next year,” Shock president Steve Swetoha said. ”We have a really good young nucleus and this pick will help add to it.”
The Shock have never had the No. 1 pick.
The Storm finished tied with Tulsa for the league’s worst record at 12-22 and each had a 35.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. Connecticut, which finished a game better, had a 28.2 percent chance when combining its chances with those of the New York Liberty, who finished 15-19.
It was the second straight year that the team with the worst record won the lottery. Connecticut won the No. 1 pick last year and took Chiney Ogwumike. Before that it hadn’t happened since 2009.
”I didn’t have as good a feeling as last year,” said Mitchell Etess, who is the CEO of the Sun. ”Looking at the board and seeing 10 percent chance from the Liberty and 18 percent chance from us didn’t really seem like 28 percent.”
The rest of the 2015 first round will be Chicago, Indiana, Los Angeles, Washington, San Antonio, Atlanta, Minnesota and Phoenix.
This was the third straight year that the lottery was shown on television as it was at the half of the Indiana Fever-Washington Mystics playoff game. In the past it was done at the league meetings.