How Angel Reese projects in the 2024 WNBA Draft after leaving LSU to turn pro

Angel Reese was already one of the best players in women’s college basketball when she suddenly became one of the most famous women in sports in the world. The LSU big’s back-and-forth with Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark in the 2023 national championship game fueled discourse for weeks and made Reese an overnight celebrity. Now Reese is jumping to the WNBA.

Reese declared for the 2024 WNBA Draft in a Vogue cover story. She leaves LSU as one of the most accomplished women’s college players of her era: she’s a national champion, the 2023 Most Outstanding Player from the women’s NCAA tournament, an AP First-Team All-American as a junior and an AP Second-Team All-American as a senior, and the 2024 SEC Player of the Year. The Tigers’ season ended in the Elite Eight this year when they lost the heavily anticipated rematch with Clark and Iowa that drew more than 12.3 million viewers — making it the most watched women’s college game ever.

Reese is widely known for her unapologetic personality, but the 21-year-old told Vogue she’s turning pro with a level of humility.

“I want to start at the bottom again,” she says. “I want to be a rookie again and build myself back up; I want to be knocked down and learn and grow at the next level.”

Where will Reese go in the WNBA Draft? How does her game translate to the pros? Let’s dive in.

Angel Reese’s WNBA mock draft projections have her as a first round pick

Reese is unlikely to be one of the first picks in the 2024 WNBA Draft, but she’s still tracker as a first rounder. Clark is going with the No. 1 pick to the Indiana Fever. After that, the Los Angeles Sparks are expected to select Stanford big Cameron Brink at No. 2 overall. The Chicago Sky hold the the third pick, with Tennessee wing Rickea Jackson currently being viewed as the front-runner.

Reese’s draft range seems to start in the second half of the first round, from pick No. 6 to pick No. 12. Here’s where some mock drafts have her right now:

The WNBA Draft is significantly more unpredictable than the NBA or NFL Draft. You never know what’s going to happen until a team makes their pick. The top-2 might be set in stone, but everything after that is fair game.

How does Angel Reese’s game translate to the WNBA?

Reese’s pro appeal starts with her size. She’s listed at 6’3, 165 pounds and appears to have long arms.

Reese is something of an old school big. She attacks the glass aggressively as a rebounder on both ends of the floor. She finished No. 2 in the country in rebounds per game each of the last two seasons. She’s particularly aggressive on the offensive glass, where he can get easy buckets on putbacks.

Reese does not shoot three-pointers. She made only two total three-pointers with LSU the last two seasons combined. She ends her college career 5-of-32 from three-point range. She’s a 70 percent shooter from the foul line for her career.

The WNBA has modeled the NBA in its desire to find bigs who can shoot. WNBA teams continue to attempt more threes than ever before, and there’s also a massive benefit to shooters opening up the floor to create driving lanes for guards. Reese is not a floor spacer or shooter, and that’s the biggest drawback in her WNBA translation right now.

Reese was an outstanding defender at the college level. She posted a 3.1 percent steal rate and 3.1 percent block rate as a senior at LSU, both impressive numbers. The big question for her WNBA translation is whether she’s going to play the four or the five. Reese is a bit undersized for a WNBA center. She primarily played drop coverage at LSU, but that’s harder to do in the pros without a great size advantage. Is she quick enough to defend opposing fours who can shoot in space? That’s a big question WNBA GMs need to ask themselves.

There’s no arguing with Reese’s college production. She put up astounding per-game stats at LSU each of the last two years. As a junior, she averaged 23 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. She followed that up with another wonderful season as a senior, averaging 18.6 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.

Reese’s lack of outshot shooting ability and lack of elite pro size will be a hurdle for her WNBA translation. She will need to play with another shooter in the front court. She still has an easy role as an interior scorer, rebounder, and paint protector defensively.

Angel Reese is making the right move entering the WNBA Draft

Reese could have returned to school for a fifth year. Instead, she’s turning pro. It feels like the right move. After a star-studded college career at Maryland and LSU, Reese is ready for the next level. Any team looking for an athletic big who can crush the glass needs to consider Reese in the first round.

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