As the COVID-19 pandemic forces professional sports leagues to adjust their normal proceedings, the WNBA has made another first-of-its-kind decision: to hold a virtual draft. The 2020 WNBA Draft, presented by State Farm, will continue on its scheduled date of Friday, April 17 without players, fans or media.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert will announce the draft picks live on ESPN (will also be available on the ESPN App) with the top prospects taking part remotely.
“The WNBA draft is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are realized with their selections in the draft,” said Engelbert. “Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount. With that in mind, we will work diligently with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes.”
The WNBA plans to honor Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester during the draft – three of the nine people who tragically passed away in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash that also took the life of Kobe Bryant, Gianna’s father. There are also plans to honor Kobe, who was a fierce advocate of the league and women’s basketball as a whole, during the draft and throughout the 2020 season.
As of now, the current plan is for the WNBA to begins training camp on April 26, with the regular season starting May 15. The league has been conducting scenario planning regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to monitor the situation accordingly.
2020 WNBA Draft Order—First Round
1. New York Liberty
2. Dallas Wings
3. Indiana Fever
4. Atlanta Dream
8. Chicago Sky
9. Dallas Wings
10. Connecticut Sun
11. Connecticut Sun
12. Washington Mystics