Las Vegas-based Stars win No. 1 pick in WNBA draft lottery
Las Vegas will receive top overall pick in WNBA draft
For the second year in a row, the former San Antonio Stars organization -- now based in Las Vegas -- will have the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft.
The WNBA held its draft lottery Monday night, and the Stars -- as they are still named, at least for now -- came out on top.
The Stars franchise was recently purchased by MGM Resorts International and will relocate to Las Vegas for next season. Las Vegas will announce a new logo later this month.
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The WNBA's new Las Vegas franchise had the best odds in Monday's draft lottery and ended up with the No. 1 pick. Now Bill Laimbeer will have to decide between players such as South Carolina's A'ja Wilson and 19-year-old Russian post player Maria Vadeeva. Story
"Having the first pick will help to grow a fan base and this will go a long way towards that," Bill Laimbeer, who will be the head coach and president of the Las Vegas team, told the Associated Press in a phone interview. "I'm excited that we'll add a great piece to the puzzle."
The Indiana Fever will select second in the draft. The Chicago Sky, who had both their pick and that of the Atlanta Dream, obtained via trade, will pick third and fourth.
It's just the second time in Fever franchise history that they own one of the top picks in the draft. Indiana saw its record run of 12 straight playoff appearances end this year.
"We have the opportunity to bring in one of the top two available who we can develop and build around for years to come," Fever president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf said. "There is a lot of talent in this draft. It is an exciting time for our franchise and our fans."
The draft lottery involved the four teams that didn't make the playoffs in 2017. The Stars had the greatest odds to get the top pick at 44.2 percent. As the team with the worst combined record over the previous two seasons, the Stars also were guaranteed to pick no lower than third.
Indiana's odds for the No. 1 selection were 27.6 percent, and Chicago's were a combined 28.2 percent. The draft order for the rest of the first round and for the second and third rounds will be determined by inverse order of the WNBA teams' 2017 regular-season records.
The 2018 draft will be held in April.
In the 2017 draft, the Stars chose Washington guard Kelsey Plum with the No. 1 selection. Among the candidates to go No. 1 in 2018 are South Carolina forward A'ja Wilson, UConn forward Gabby Williams, former Tennessee guard Diamond DeShields (who bypassed her final year of eligibility and is playing overseas), Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell and Russian star center Maria Vadeeva.
"Consensus is she's the No. 1 pick," Laimbeer said of Wilson. "Time will tell. In our league, there's some really big players."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.