WNBA Teams Can’t Afford To Let Angel Reese Drop Past Third Pick | She Can Ball and Has More IG Followers Than Caitlin Clark and NBA Star Anthony Edwards

Angel Reese has built a brand almost as big as Caitlin Clark’s. They both have become the voice of a new generation, NIL money blessed them in college, and at this very moment, both are raking in money with brand collaborations as they stand just hours from becoming pro players.

Angel Reese came through with the most elegant fits at 2024 WNBA Draft, once again understanding the magnitude of the moment. (Photo: WNBA/IG)

There aren’t five WNBA players more popular than Angel Reese right now, so how can she be projected to go any lower than Top 3?

Angel Reese Should Be A Top 3 Pick In WNBA Draft For Many Reasons

As the women’s game tries to capitalize on this current wave of interest, you can’t do that by putting one of the women who made it happen on the back burner.

The WNBA has basically announced that it is putting all of its money behind Clark because of the fan base she’s accumulated. In addition to her skills, she’s moving the needle as a transcending personality.

Same can be said for Reese, even if on a slightly smaller scale. The audience that she resonates with might not be the same mainstream, middle America audience that elevates Clark, but they spend money, attend games and drive the game all the same.

Angel Reese is no slouch when it comes to being popular and having a fan base that she travels with. Her 2.9 million Instagram followers are nothing to sneeze at. In comparison, NBA star Anthony Edwards has 2 million. Clark only has 1.9 million followers. You do the math.

Angel Reese Considered Early WNBA Draft Projections Disrespectful

Back in December of 2023, nine months after she won Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament and led LSU to a national title, a WNBA mock draft on ESPN, had “Bayou Barbie” projected to be selected eighth overall. 

At that time, Reese stepped away from the team for personal reasons and the media went wild with the narrative, especially since the cause of the absence was a perplexing mystery. Also, the Caitlin Clark Effect was just getting started, and Reese was still recognized as a contender for top player in the country and top pick in the 2024 WNBA draft entering 2024. 

So the mock draft was considered a snub to some, certainly to Reese and her coach Kim Mulkey. 

“That was an insult to her. We talked about the things she needs to work on. Whether she gets picked higher than that or not, it still motivates her. She gets motivated in practice with someone going head-to-head with her or talking trash back at her. She’s a competitor,” Mulkey said when the mock draft debuted.

Reese went to her X account at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning, feeling froggy again, tweeting a message to anyone who doubted and disrespected her along the way, telling them to “make sure that apology is as loud as the disrespect.”

Recent Mock Draft Has Angel Going To Minnesota Lynx At No. 7

Fast-forward to this April’s draft, and Reese would be lucky to be taken in the Top 10. ESPN has her landing at No. 7 to the Minnesota Lynx.

ESPN: “With the personnel they already have, the Lynx seem likely to look for the best player available with this pick. The big question: Will they think that player is Reese? Rebounding is her top strength; she’s exceptional there.”

The concern is whether her offensive skills can grow to the point where opposing teams think they have to guard closely even when she is not in the paint.

If anyone knows how to elevate Reese’s game and maximize her current skill set, it’s Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeves, entering her 12th season at the helm. Reeves has won four championships coaching and meshing players of all sizes, skill sets and talent levels from Maya Moore to Seimone Augustus to Lindsay Whalen and Sylvia Fowles. She’s coached MVPs and Hall of Famers.

An April 15 mock draft has Reese falling to No. 8 to the Atlanta Dream.

Michael Voepel, ESPN.com on Reese:

“There isn’t a more polarizing player in the draft regarding how her talent projects to the pro game,” ESPN added. “Some think her quickness and length will help her as a defender, something Dream coach Tanisha Wright excelled at herself as a player. Others say Reese lacks offensive versatility and will struggle against the WNBA’s paint protectors. Reese (20.1 PPG, 11.5 RPG) doesn’t have a lot of range. But she’s solid at what she does, plus she has a nose for the basketball as a rebounder.”

So while players such as Caitlin Clark are seen as lead offensive players, Reese is more of an exceptional piece to a strong team. Problem is that her star shines as bright as all of the others projected to be chosen before her.

Franchises in need of publicity and craving to be more visible to the casual hoops fan would be fools to ignore Reese. The charismatic power forward, who already has a Sport Illustrated spread on her résumé, incites a flurry of emotions and opinion from people who want to see her, win or lose. That’s great for the WNBA.  

Rickea Jackson, Aaliyah Edwards and Alissa Pili can ball, but let’s be real. They aren’t that much better than Reese that you’d risk half the publicity, fans at the game and prime time attention.

Fortunately for Reese, with her brand and marketability still high, her deal with Reebok in place and her popularity coming out of college, she will still be one of the immediate and most recognizable faces of the WNBA, regardless of draft position or how the league manipulates the narratives.

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