The 2023 WNBA Draft will return to New York City's Spring Studios, home to Fashion Week and the Tribeca Film Festival, as announced by the league Thursday.
The draft will take place April 10 and air on ESPN from 7 to 9 p.m. ET. The Indiana Fever, led by new head coach Christie Sides, have the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to take South Carolina champion Aliyah Boston. The Fever are followed by the Minnesota Lynx, Dallas Wings (via a trade with the Atlanta Dream) and Washington Mystics.
Mark your calendars 🗓️
The 2023 #WNBA Draft presented by @StateFarm will take place April 10th at Spring Studios New York 📍
Tune into the live broadcast on @espn from 7pm to 9pm/ET to watch the full slate of draft coverage pic.twitter.com/qRTNebxxoN
— WNBA (@WNBA) February 23, 2023
The festivities will begin earlier that day when prospects will visit the Empire State Building for a lighting ceremony and later with the standard "Orange Carpet" entrances. The league will provide fans a "Draft Central" feature on its website and push content on its social profiles that include a Twitter Spaces Mock Draft debate.
The WNBA hosted its draft at Spring Studios for the first time last year in what was the first in-person draft since 2019. ESPN producers and directors said the location gave their cameras the ability to show viewers the walkthrough of the venue from the draftees' perspective and highlight the life of a draftee in the minutes and hours after they hear their named called. Rhyne Howard went No. 1 to the Dream.
It's also another way for the league to crossover into cultural relevancy given the iconic events held at Spring Studios. Players are increasingly doing more stateside in the league's offseason from broadcast work to sponsorship activations and commercials. There are 10 players on league marketing agreements that are designed to amplify WNBA players and the league while games aren't being played.
Part of their front-facing activities has been New York's Fashion Week, which featured New York Liberty wing Betnijah Laney and Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier in attendance in February 2022. Didi Richards of the Liberty walked in the fall fashion week and Katie Lou Samuelson of the Sparks did the same.
— GQ Sports (@GQSports) February 15, 2022
Previous drafts were held at the Nike headquarters and Samsung 837 in New York City. Prior to that there were drafts at the Sun's Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, and at ESPN Studios in Bristol. Deep into its third decade the WNBA can now branch out to locations that aren't one of its team's arenas or the broadcaster that airs it.
The draft is scheduled for a tight two-hour window that has been too speedy to properly celebrate young talent by flying by or ignoring picks in the second and third rounds. The WNBA Draft is three rounds of 12 picks each. Players can enter early if they turn 22 the calendar year of the draft.
WNBA mock drafts lead with Aliyah Boston
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina's reigning national player of the year, is the likely No. 1 overall pick. Boston, a 6-foot-5 pro-ready senior center, could choose to use her extra year of eligibility allowed by the NCAA after the 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled.
South Carolina (27-0, 14-0 SEC) is the favorite to repeat as national champion, which would put them into an elite group. Boston is averaging nearly a double-double of 13.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. She has often been double- and triple-teamed, and the Gamecocks haven't had to rely on her as much with improved depth.
Diamond Miller, a 6-3 senior guard for Maryland, and Haley Jones, Stanford's 6-1 senior guard, are favorite lottery picks. Miller is averaging 19.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. Jones is averaging 13.3 points, nine rebounds and 3.9 assists.
The Tennessee duo of 6-2 forward Rickea Jackson and 6-2 guard Jordan Horston, who go up against Boston and South Carolina on Thursday night, are top picks. Villanova's Maddy Siegrist, a national player of the year contender, has moved up many mock drafts. The 6-2 forward leads Division I averaging 29.1 points with 9.4 rebounds and shooting 55.1%. She scored 50 points on a 20-of-26 outing against Seton Hall on Feb. 11 and holds the Big East career scoring record.