The 2020 WNBA Draft took place virtually, without any players or teams in attendance. ESPN televised the entire draft.
The 12 teams that comprise the WNBA picked 36 players in the 2020 edition of the draft. The draft lasted three rounds and saw four players of foreign nationality and 32 American players picked on the night.
The WNBA honored Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, and Gianna Bryant, daughter of Kobe Bryant, who all died in a tragic helicopter crash, with honorary draft picks.
The WNBA honors Alyssa Altobelli, Gigi Bryant and Payton Chester before the 2020 draft 🙏 pic.twitter.com/fmL9cIUX1R
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 17, 2020
The draft got underway soon, and Sabrina Ionescu, as expected, was the number one pick in the draft.
The New York Liberty, who won the lottery last year, were eligible to make the first overall pick. They were quick to cash in on 22-year-old Ionescu who has been a major game-changer for women’s basketball.
With the 1st pick in the 2020 #WNBAdraft … @sabrina_i20 is heading to the @nyliberty 😉 pic.twitter.com/SEjVrpKrhE
— ESPN (@espn) April 17, 2020
Her all-around abilities and the capability of scoring triple-doubles in tremendous fashion makes her the one to watch out for.
Number one pick in the 2020 #WNBADraft
The Bay’s own – @sabrina_i20 pic.twitter.com/I6NZevflpZ
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 17, 2020
Ionescu’s teammate at Oregon, Satou Sabally, was the second pick of the night. 2008 Champions Dallas Wings picked up the talented power-forward for their roster in the upcoming season.
NBA stars react to draft
A lot of NBA stars were proud of the WNBA for pulling off the draft amid the pandemic crisis. Twitter is still rife with messages from NBA players in praise of the newly picked WNBA candidates.
LeBron James tweeted his message to the girls and applauded everyone who had their dreams come true.
Watching @WNBA draft! Lot of women dreams coming true. Salute and congrats to you all! 🙏🏾💪🏾👑 #StriveforGreatness🚀
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 17, 2020
Kevin Durant posted a tweet welcoming Sabrina Ionescu to Brooklyn.
Welcome to Brooklyn @sabrina_i20!! https://t.co/MbMRJp6fPV
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) April 17, 2020
Dirk Nowitzki, former Dallas Mavericks veteran, welcomed Satou Sabally to Dallas by posting “Dallas is a great spot to be. Let’s go!”
Welcome @BallySatou. Dallas is a great spot to be!!! Let’s go!!
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) April 17, 2020
Atlanta Hawks’ point guard Trae Young welcomed 4th pick Chennedy Carter, who signed with WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
WELCOME TO THE ATL❤️ @ChennedyCarter
BRING THEM BUCKETS WITH YOU😤💯 #LetssssGooooooo
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) April 17, 2020
Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell congratulated Kylee Shook from Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball team, who was the first pick of the second round.
Louisville got a trio in Ny!!! Congrats @kylee_shook #L1C4 @UofLWBB https://t.co/V5asrRmtvN
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 18, 2020
WNBA accused of drafting players during commercial breaks
Although the draft is a major stepping stone for every female basketball player out there, the WNBA is under the hammer for continuing with the draft process when commercial breaks interrupted the telecast.
Consider that the entire draft is virtual, the WNBA lost its standing among a few viewers for not stopping with the draft process during the breaks. For the girls who were drafted during the TV breaks, it must have been a disappointment.
Jonquel Jones, a WNBA player for previous year finalists Connecticut Sun, took to Twitter to post her response about how the girls don’t deserve it when they get drafted during the commercials.
Damn they drafted people during the commercial break? 🤦🏾♀️ These ladies only worked their entire life for this moment 🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️
— Jonquel Jones (@jus242) April 18, 2020
However, people were not complaining to the WNBA about the duration of the draft or the quality of it. The timing of the virtual draft was spot-on as everyone is being quarantined in their homes.
But with sufficient time on everyone’s clock, the WNBA could have chosen to not move forward with the draft when the telecast was cut for commercials. This again brings in the topic of discrimination among male and female players.