Mechelle Voepel

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Sunday, April 27
Updated: April 29, 7:50 PM ET
Shock value headlines draft

By Mechelle Voepel
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So Marion Jones got drafted by the WNBA ... why not Annika Sorenstam? She's in better shape currently -- MJ's due to deliver what might be the world's fastest baby in July -- she has been getting a lot of publicity lately, and she'd have about as much chance to make a roster as some of the other draftees.

Cheryl Ford
Cheryl Ford will combine with Swin Cash and Ruth Riley to create an exciting inside trio for Detroit.
Not that it was unexpected, but this was kind of a ho-hum draft. It's hard to gauge how many of the picks even in the first round will stick, let alone beyond that. By the same token, there might be someone who was taken late or not at all who might just surprise everybody but herself.

Marion Jones did say last year at the USATF Outdoor Championships that she would actually like to give basketball another chance -- when she retires from track following the 2008 Olympics. So, Phoenix Mercury fans, don't go looking for her to be beating everybody down the court any time real soon.

The fact is, it's impossible to be sure how any of the draftees will turn out. The NFL spends a ton more money evaluating players than the WNBA does, and they're still just guessing and hoping a lot of the time.

The WNBA didn't even have a draft combine this year because of its prolonged labor negotiations, meaning there was even more margin for error.

All that said, who came out well? I like what Detroit did. The Shock picked up Cheryl Ford, Kara Lawson and Syreeta Bromfield on Friday, and got Ruth Riley in the dispersal draft on Thursday.

Detroit traded the draft rights to Lawson to Sacramento for Kedra Holland-Corn and a 2004 draft pick Tuesday.

Riley, Ford and Swin Cash inside -- that's an exciting trio there. They're all players who are young, have stayed healthy and combine great individual talent with a team-focused mind set.

Sacramento got Chantelle Anderson in the main draft and DeMya Walker in the dispersal draft. Walker was one of the league's most improved players last season. Anderson will be surrounded by lots of talent as she adjusts to the pro level. The Monarchs, if they're healthy all year, are a team to be reckoned with -- as the second half of last season showed.

Defending champion Los Angeles did well with where it picked -- and considering it didn't need much. Schuye LaRue was worth the Sparks taking a chance. She's very talented. And it's reasonable to think that just like with the NBA, there will be WNBA players who have problems in college that they won't have in the pros.

Jackie Stiles, who L.A. got in the dispersal draft, is still not 100 percent after offseason surgeries on her wrist and foot, but she feels better than she has in a long, long time. If Stiles gets a decent amount of playing time and touches on this team, she can do well for the Sparks.

Finally, the Lynx got one of the best guards ever in Teresa Edwards. She's 38, but in great shape and apparently is committed to playing in the WNBA this year. Which will be so good to see. Hard feelings left over from the demise of the ABL shouldn't keep Edwards from playing here in the U.S. any longer than they already have.

Mechelle Voepel of the Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to She can be reached at

WNBA Draft's
2003 draft coverage

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