‘Make Sure That Apology Is As Loud As The Disrespect’ | Angel Reese Is Not Projected As Top 5 Draft Pick, But Her Brand Is Worth A Top 3 Pick To Any WNBA Team

With a whirlwind college career behind her, former LSU star Angel Reese now sets her sights on the big fish. The WNBA draft will be held April 15 in New York City, and somebody is going to get a player who is already among the most popular and polarizing.

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 am 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. The pre-draft process is not as extensive for the WNBA as the NBA draft, but you’d have to think that her current projected position can change based upon how she interacts during any meetings with any of the 12 WNBA clubs. 

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 the Lynx believe they can help her expand her game with the talent she has, they might go with Reese.

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. Now she’s the head coach of the USA Women’s National Team. 

Reese would be fortunate to get drafted by a winning franchise led by Reeves, who is comfortable with coaching star power, swag and passion. The lessons she can share, along with veterans such as Kayla McBride, Courtney Williams, and Napheesa Collier would elevate Reese, who says she’s ready for the next level. 

Reese’s Game Is Old School But Her Brand Is New

As the game shifts more towards tall guards such as Caitlin Clark and Paige Bueckers and JuJu Watkins, who dominate the ball, eat on the perimeter and leave the rebounding to the big dawgs like Angel Reese, the former LSU star will have to expand the range on her jump shot and get stronger and faster  in order to deal with an upgrade of power and strength and quickness at the WNBA level.  

So while players such as Caitlin Clark are seen as lead offensive players, Reese is more of an exceptional piece to a strong team, preferably with championship aspirations, because her clutch gene and leadership ability have already been proved in college. 

Making a WNBA roster is a big challenge: The maximum roster size is 12, but many teams carry just 11 players for salary cap reasons, so there are typically fewer than 144 roster spots.

This draft season is especially crowded with several fifth-year seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and now hope to continue their careers in the WNBA. 

So franchises in need of publicity and craving to be more visible to the casual hoops fan will take 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.  

There’s no guarantee that every first-round pick will even make a team. That’s how competitive a spot in the league is right now.

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, attracting media and social media attention, before she ever steps on the court.

There aren’t five WNBA players more popular than Angel Reese right now, and 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.

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