The 2023 WNBA Draft has arrived, 112 draftees have entered but only 36 will be picked. Out of these 36 spots, only one will take the title of the No. 1 draft pick of the 2023 WNBA Draft. This year's draft class is stacked with amazing players such as Diamond Miller, Maddy Siegrist, Haley Jones, and the unanimously projected No. 1 pick Aliyah Boston. With this draft class being filled with such amazing players it's no doubt that no matter what number some of them are drafted they’ll go far in the league. The No. 1 draft pick tends to be the most iconic pick of the night and historically goes on to have amazing careers like the five past No. 1 picks below.
Top No. 1 Draft Picks
A’ja Wilson (2018)
After leading the University of South Carolina to its first NCAA title in Women’s Basketball in 2017 it was no doubt A’ja would be the first pick when she declared for the WNBA draft. In college, Wilson was the SEC Player of the Year in 2016, 2017, and 2018 along with being named an All-American the same three years. She was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and 2018.
Wilson’s WNBA career has been nothing short of iconic, especially in 2022 when she swept award categories in helping bring the Las Vegas Aces their first championship. Wilson was awarded the MVP award, the Defensive MVP award, All-WNBA First team, All-Defensive First team, and WNBA All-star, as well as leading the league in blocks.
Maya Moore (2011)
Maya Moore’s list of accolades is longer than a CVS receipt; before even making her collegiate debut at the University of Connecticut. Moore was unanimously voted as the Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year.
She did not disappoint in her freshman season, scoring 678 points, winning Big East Freshman of the Year, and becoming the first freshman to win Big East Player of the Year. The awards kept rolling during the rest of Moore’s college career where she won two NCAA Championships, was named Big East Player of the Year again in 2009 and 2011, AP College Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011; making her the first sophomore to win in. Moore also won the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011. At the end of her college career Moore had won 150 games and only lost four, she also ended her career with 3036 points.
After being drafted to the Minnesota Lynx, Moore got right to business in helping lead the team to her first of four WNBA Championships. In her rookie season, Moore was named Rookie of the Year, WNBA All-Star, and WNBA All-Rookie team. Moore finished her WNBA career with one Finals MVP award, one WNBA MVP award, six All-Star nominations, three All-Star Game MVP awards, five All-WNBA First Team nominations, and many more awards.
Candace Parker (2008)
During college, Candace Parker was sure to make a name for herself at the University of Tennessee. In her first season playing for Tennessee Parker became the first female player to dunk in an NCAA Tournament, was named SEC Rookie of the Year, and hit the game-winning shot in the SEC Championship game.
Parker’s college career continued to excel the next few seasons leading her team to win the NCAA Championship in 2007 and 2008, where she was named Most Outstanding Player in these consecutive tournaments. This recognition put her next to the likes of Diana Taurasi, Cheryl Miller, and Chamique Holdsclaw, the only other women to also have this accolade.
Parker was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008, in her rookie season she was named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, All-WNBA First Team, and WNBA All-Rookie Team. In 2016, Parker helped lead the L.A. Sparks to their third WNBA Championship in 2016. In 2021, after an off-season trade to the Chicago Sky, Parker helped carry them to their first championship.
Sue Bird (2002)
With a career longer than some of the draft picks' lives, it’s no doubt that Sue Bird has had an impactful career.
After playing eight games in her freshman season Bird tore her ACL forcing her season to an end. The next year Bird came back and helped lead the University of Connecticut to a 36-1 season, a Big East title, and the NCAA Championship. Bird’s second NCAA Championship came in her senior season where the team went 39-0, in the same season Bird was given the Honda Sports Award, the Wade Trophy, the Naismith College Player of the Year award, the AP College Player of the Year award, and the Nancy Lieberman award.
After being drafted to the Seattle Storm in 2002, Sue Bird never left them. She played all 21 seasons with the Storm bringing home four WNBA Championships, 13 WNBA All-Star nominations, five All-WNBA First Teams nominations, and USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2021.
Tina Thompson (1997)
Tina Thompson was the very first draft pick in WNBA history, this accolade along with her long list of others makes her an iconic pick.
Not only did Thompson go on to win 4 consecutive WNBA championships in her first 4 years in the league she was named a WNBA All-Star 9 times, All-Star MVP once, All-WNBA First Team three times, and All-WNBA Second Team five times.
Thompson not only excelled in the WNBA but also had an amazing international career with two Olympic gold medals along with a gold and bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup.