On Friday night, the WNBA has "the opportunity to own the sports landscape."
With the WNBA Draft as the only live sporting event scheduled, Dallas Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb was optimistic.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, with top prospects taking part remotely.
The New York Liberty have the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft for the first time. Head coach Walt Hopkins is expected to choose Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, who he called, "just a phenomenal leader in multiple ways," on a conference call.
The Liberty also have two additonal first-round selections — No. 9 and No. 12. The team acquired the ninth pick as part of a three-team trade with the Wings and the 2019 champion Mystics that sent seven-time All-Star and 2012 MVP Tina Charles from New York to Washington.
The Wings have three of the first seven selections — picks No. 2, No. 5 and No. 7. Bibb said Monday his team has been building toward the 2020 draft "for the better part of two years," stockpiling selections with an eye toward this class.
To be eligible for the draft, players must be at least 22 years old, and have no college eligibility left — or, if from overseas, be at least four years out of high school.
"In terms of preparing, those conversations still haven't changed from any previous year. Instead of doing them in person, we're doing them via videoconference," Bibb said. "In terms of Latest news on sports’ coronavirus shutdown delivered to you. Sign up here.
But the fate of the upcoming WNBA season is in flux.
Training camp is scheduled to begin April 26, with games tipping off May 15. The WNBA was supposed to have an all-time high of 36 games per team.
However, everything has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is a crazy situation we're in at the moment," Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello said. "I think we all can say we're staying in close contact with each other and preparing for the season, whenever it does start."
"Even though we will be doing it in a remote, unique fashion because of what's going on in our country right now, the buzz is higher," ESPN women's basketball analyst Holly Rowe said. "Because we don't have sports, people can focus on this. The lead up to this has been good. … I'm really excited people care. The buzz is there. It's filling a hole in my heart with no sports out there. It's even more magnified because we all want something good and positive in sports."
WNBA First Round Draft Order
1. New York Liberty
2. Dallas Wings
3. Indiana Fever
4. Atlanta Dream
5. Dallas Wings (from Phoenix Mercury)
6. Minnesota Lynx
7. Dallas Wings (From Seattle Storm via Connecticut Sun, Phoenix Mercury)
8. Chicago Sky
9. New York Liberty (from Dallas Wings via Las Vegas Aces)
10. Phoenix Mecury (from Los Angeles Sparks via Connecticut Sun)
11. Seattle Storm (from Connecticut Sun)
12. New York Liberty (from Washington Mystics)