Seattle Wins First Overall Selection in WNBA for Fourth Time in Franchise History
“Today is an exciting day for our franchise, fans and city,” said Storm President & GM Alisha Valavanis. “Back-to-back number one draft picks propel our efforts to rebuild and return championship caliber basketball to Seattle. Together we rise.”
The last time the Seattle Storm had back-to-back number one overall selections the organization drafted three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson in 2001 and nine-time WNBA All-Star, and arguably the best point guard in women’s basketball history, Sue Bird. The duo went on to lead Seattle to two WNBA Championships.
Seattle owned 44.2 percent of the odds for winning the draft lottery after finishing 10-24 on the 2015 season, combining with the franchise’s 12-22 record in 2014 for the worst two-year combined record. Following Seattle in the lottery: San Antonio, Connecticut and Atlanta.
Following a 12-22 season in 2014, Seattle won the 2015 Draft Lottery, being awarded the first overall selection in the 2015 WNBA Draft presented by Boost Mobile, which the franchise used to select then-Notre Dame guard Jewell Loyd. Loyd finished her rookie year in the WNBA as the only rookie to finish in the Top Five among all rookies in points, rebounds and assists. She led the Storm in scoring 10 times, and finished averaging 10.7 points per game, first among all rookies. She was also named the 2015 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
Prior to 2015, Seattle has a scarce history with the WNBA lottery. Following a 10-26 season in 2001, Seattle landed the first overall selection in the WNBA’s inaugural draft lottery in 2002. Then-head coach Lin Dunn selected Bird out of Connecticut with the selection. After failing to qualify for the playoffs in 2003, Seattle landed the 6th overall pick in the lottery system in 2004, but traded the selection and forward Amanda Lassiter to Minnesota in exchange for Sheri Sam and Janell Burse. Although Shekinna Stricklen was selected second overall in 2012, Seattle did not qualify for the lottery, but traded up for the selection, dealing Swin Cash and Le’Coe Willingham to Chicago in exchange for the pick.
A representative from the accounting firm of Ernst & Young was in attendance to oversee the lottery process. The lottery established the first four picks of the draft. The new format guaranteed that the Lottery team with the worst two-year cumulative record will end up with at least the third pick. Under the previous format, the Lottery team with the worst single-season record was guaranteed to pick no worse than fourth.
The order of selection for the remainder of the first round as well as the second and third round is determined by inverse order of the teams’ respective regular-season records solely from 2015.