2022 WNBA Draft: Full results, grades as Rhyne Howard moves to No. 1 at Atlanta Dream

The 2022 WNBA Draft is in the books and, as expected, the Atlanta Dream started the night by selecting Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard with the No. 1 overall pick. A great athletic two-way winger, Howard is the best player in this class and will help kick-start the Dream’s rebuild.

To complete the lottery, the Indiana Fever picked NaLyssa Smith of Baylor at No. 2, the Washington Mystics went with Shakira Austin of Ole Miss at No. 3, and the Fever picked Emily Engstler of Louisville at No. 4. These choices largely went as planned, but there were plenty of surprises afterward.

Now that the action is over, here are the full results along with the breakdowns and ratings for each first-round pick.

1. Atlanta Dream: Rhyne Howard, G, Kentucky

As expected, the Dream selects Rhyne Howard with the No. 1 pick overall. Howard is a big, athletic wing from Kentucky who can impact the game on both sides of the ball. She’s an elite scorer who can shoot from the outside and get to the basket, and will be able to defend multiple positions. Best player in the draft and a great move for the Dream as they begin their rebuild.

Grade: A

2. Indiana Fever: NaLyssa Smith, F, Baylor

The Fever rebuild has four first-round picks and uses the first to knock out Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith. No surprise here either, as Smith is the top big prospect in this draft. She is extremely athletic and excels on the glass and defensively. If she continues to polish her offensive game, she has a real shot at being a star in this league.

Grade: A

3. Washington Mystics: Shakira Austin, F/C, Ole Miss

The Mystics fell back in the draft, trading the No. 1 overall pick for the Dream largely because they believed it was a three-man draft, not a one- or two-man draft. players. The third player they trusted was Shakira Austin, the 6-foot-5 Ole Miss big. Austin is a formidable defender, moves with fluidity and has interesting potential on the offensive end.

Grade: A-

4. Indiana Fever: Emily Engstler, F, Louisville

Indiana acting general manager Lin Dunn has talked endlessly about getting better defensively, so it was no surprise to see them target Emily Engstler with their second lottery pick. Engstler jumped to the draft boards after a terrific season at Louisville, where she had a major impact defensively. She works extremely hard and has the size and athleticism to keep multiple positions at the next level.

Grade: A

5. New York Liberty: Nyara Sabally, F/C, Oregon

The New York Liberty’s biggest weakness last season was in the frontcourt, and they tried to address that in the draft with Nyara Sabally. There’s a potential risk with this pick given Sabally’s brutal injury history (two torn ACLs), but she’s clearly a first-round talent if she can stay healthy. She’s big enough to bang into the paint, but mobile enough to move around the perimeter.

Grade: A-

6. Indiana Fever: Lexie Hull, G, Stanford

This is the first major shock of the night. With their third first-round pick, the Fever decided to remove Lexie Hull from Stanford. She’s a solid 3-point shooter and plays very strong on the defensive end, but one wonders if she has the athleticism to fit into the WNBA. Looks like the fever could have had it later.

Grade: VS

7. Dallas Wings: Veronica Burton, G, Northwest

The Dallas Wings were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last season and tried to solve that problem by removing Veronica Burton from Northwestern. She was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year three times during her college career and will instantly improve their perimeter defense. However, there is a bit of a stalemate in their backcourt now, so it will be interesting to see how their roster develops.

Grade: B+

8. Las Vegas Ace: Mya Hollingshed, F, Colorado

The Aces traded their 2023 first- and second-round picks to get the No. 8 and No. 13 picks this year, and were apparently targeting Colorado’s Mya Hollingshed. She’s versatile and can get out and shoot the ball, and should suit new head coach Becky Hammon’s more modern attacking system. However, no one was projecting her as a first-round pick, and it feels like she would have been there later.

Grade: C+

9. Los Angeles Sparks: Rae Burrell, G, Tennessee

The Los Angeles Sparks desperately needed help on the wing, and it was a major win for them that Rae Burrell was still on the board. She has struggled this season at Tennessee, though much of that has been down to a knee injury. If she stays healthy, there’s a very clear path to WNBA success with her size and offensive skills.

Grade: A

10. Indiana Fever: Queen Egbo, C. Baylor

Another big surprise from the Fever. With their fourth and final first-round pick, they take Queen Egbo, who will reunite with her Baylor teammate NaLyssa Smith. The Fever were clearly looking for frontline players who work hard and can defend, but there are real questions about how Egbo projects offensively. In addition, she had trouble avoiding big problems in college. Another pick where it feels like the fever is on for a player who would have been available later.

Grade: VS-

11. Las Vegas Ace: Kierstan Bell, Florida Gulf Coast

After taking a big one with their first-round pick, the Aces turned to the perimeter at No. 11, taking Kierstan Bell out of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Bell still being on the board at this point was a bit of a surprise so that’s a great chance for the Aces. Bell can really score the ball and is the type of big athletic wing you need to be successful in this league.

Grade: A

12. Connecticut Sun: Nia Clouden, Michigan State

The Sun has failed in the playoffs for the past few years because they struggle to create a good appearance and score when play slows down. They clearly set out to fix that, first by signing Courtney Williams in free agency, and now by signing Nia Clouden out of Michigan State with the No. 12 pick. She’s a little too small but she’s super sneaky and can score from anywhere on the pitch.

Grade: B+

Second round results

13. Las Vegas Ace: Khayla Pointer, LSU

14. Washington Mystics: Christyn Williams, UConn

15. Atlanta Dream: Naz Hillmon, Michigan

16. Los Angeles Sparks: Kianna Smith, Louisville

17. Seattle Storm: Elissa Cunane, State of North Carolina

18. Liberty of New York: Lorela Cubaj, Georgia Tech

19. Los Angeles Sparks: Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn

20. Indiana Fever: Destanni Henderson, South Carolina

21. Seattle Storm: Evina Westbrook, UConn

22. Minnesota Lynx: Kayla Jones, North Carolina State

23. Las Vegas Ace: Aisha Sheppard, Virginia Tech

24. Connecticut Sun: Jordan Lewis, Baylor

Third round results

25. Indiana Fever: Ameshya Williams-Holliday, Jackson State

26. Phoenix Mercury: Maya Dodson, Notre Dame

27. Los Angeles Sparks: Amy Atwell, Hawaii

28. Minnesota Lynx: Hannah Sjerven, South Dakota

29. Liberty of New York: Sika Koné, Mali

30. Dallas Wings: Jasmine Dickey, Delaware

31. Dallas Wings: Jazz Bond, North Florida

32. Phoenix Mercury: Macee Williams, IUPUI

33. Seattle Storm: Jade Melbourne, Australia

34. Indiana Fever: Ali Patberg, Indiana

35. Las Vegas Ace: Faustine Aifuwa, LSU

36. Connecticut Sun: Kiara Smith, Florida

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