The WNBA is well under way and we have already seen some fantastic performances and records set all around. The picks in this year’s WNBA draft brought in some incredible talent, many rookies have already impacted their teams and the league. Let’s dissect how they are adjusting and rank the top 10 WNBA 2022 draft picks. Here are my personal top picks for the rookies in the WNBA currently:
#1 – Rhyne Howard || Atlanta Dream (16.9 PPG, 2.8 APG, 42.6 3FG%)
It should come as no surprise that the No. 1 spot in the rookie rankings go to Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream. The 6’ 2” guard was the overall No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft and has proven her top spot time and time again. Howard captured headlines from the start of her WNBA career, being just the seventh player in WNBA history to score 100 points in their first five games. Howard also was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier in the season, making her the first rookie to win the award since Tamika Catchings in 2002, and the first Dream rookie to win the award.
#2 – NaLyssa Smith || Indiana Fever (13.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 42.9 3FG%)
The No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft is in our No. 2 rookie ranking spot – the 6’ 4” forward for the Indiana Fever has been consistent and making her presence known on the floor. Smith posted a 12-point, 17 rebound double-double on May 13th against the Liberty. Despite an ankle injury just a few weeks ago, Smith has been dominating on the court and proving to be a vital part of her team’s system.
#3 – Shakira Austin || Washington Mystics (8.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 59.7 FG%)
Center Shakira Austin, former Ole Miss star, has been doing her thing for her team – either starting (over half of the games for the Washington Mystics) or coming off the bench with energy. She is a reliable rebounder and a sizeable defender who isn’t scared to go toe to toe with bigger or more experienced post players.
#4 – Destanni Henderson || Indiana Fever (7.3 PPG, 2.7 APG 54.2 3FG%)
Destanni Henderson – one of my personal favorite rookies and overall players – has been making a name for herself this year starting with helping the South Carolina Tar Heels win a national title before being drafted 20th overall in the WNBA. She is an undersized guard who makes her presence known, with a consistent 3-point shot and playmaking ability. She has seen action in every Indiana Fever game so far and has become an impactful part of their rotation.
#5 – Queen Egbo || Indiana Fever (7 PPG, 7.3 RPG)
Egbo has started 11 out of 12 games for the Indiana Fever and is currently one of the most consistent rookies in the WNBA. The 6’ 4” center was 10th overall from Baylor and is a vital part of the Indiana Fever rotation. She has a strong and very athletic build, a great attitude and is extremely coachable – a perfect player for the Fever to grow with.
#6 – Emily Engstler || Indiana Fever (6.8 PPG, 7 RPG)
Indiana has definitely hit the rookie jackpot as Emily Engstler – a forward for the Fever – takes spot number five in the rookie rankings. Engstler has seen action in all twelve games for the Fever, started four and has been a dominate presence in the post. She was hailed for being a fantastic defender in college at Louisville and is the fifth Louisville player to be selected in the 1st round of the WNBA draft.
#7 – Nia Clouden || Connecticut Suns (2 PPG, 50 3FG%)
Nia Clouden is another undersized guard who was drafted 12th overall to the Connecticut Sun – one of the best teams in the WNBA currently. Clouden is holding her own, having seen action in seven of the Sun’s games. She has quick hands, quick feet and is showing a lot of signs of growth already this season.
#8 – Naz Hillmon || Atlanta Dream (2.7 PPG, 0.9 APG, 53.8 FG%)
Joining the rookie rankings top 10 is Naz Hillmon of the Atlanta Dream – teammate to Rhyne Howard. Hillmon has seen action in seven games and has the potential to begin a consistent post player for the Dream.
#9 – Kierstan Bell || Las Vegas Aces (2 PPG, 0.7 RPG)
No. 9 on the rookie rankings goes to Kierstan Bell – a good-sized guard from Florida Gulf Coast. The Las Vegas Aces are currently one of the best WNBA teams in the league and have a dominant starting five, so it is tougher for rookies to see action, but Bell has contributed to seven games so far. She was 11th overall, but may not become a major contributor for the Aces until future seasons.
#10 – Lexie Hull || Indiana Fever (1.7 PPG, 0.9 RPG)
Concluding our list is yet another Indiana Fever rookie – Lexie Hull. Hull has seen action in nine of the games for the Fever and has a great defensive background due to her wingspan and small, athletic build. She has shown the ability to connect from 3, but still has a lot of growth needed before she’s ready to be an impactful player.