Whether teams are looking to build depth on their bench or find their next impact player, the road to the WNBA's May 14 tip-off begins Thursday night with the 2021 draft.
Each of the league's 12 teams will make their picks over the course of three rounds, as college and international stars transition into the next phase of their basketball careers. For a second consecutive year, the draft will be held virtually.
“The opportunity for these elite athletes to reach this pinnacle and share this special moment with their families, friends and WNBA fans, even in a virtual format, will make for a truly memorable night especially as we commemorate the league’s 25th season and continue building momentum for the future of the league,” said WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert earlier this month.
To continue their commitment to vaccine education and awareness, the telecast will feature players discussing COVID vaccines with a focus on health equity. To celebrate the league’s 25th season, there will be guest appearances by former WNBA stars, including Tina Thompson, who was the first player to be selected in the first draft on April 28, 1997.
The Dallas Wings own picks No. 1, 2 and 5 in the first round. They will become the first team in league history to make the top two picks in a single draft.
Here's everything you need to know about the 2021 WNBA Draft on Thursday:
What time does the 2021 WNBA Draft begin?
The 25th draft will start at 7 p.m. ET.
What TV channel is the 2021 WNBA Draft on?
The draft will air live on ESPN.
How can I watch the 2021 WNBA Draft via live stream?
You can stream the draft on the watch ESPN app.
On the WNBA App and WNBA.com, fans can interact with digital activations throughout the night including "Pick Your Pick" and "Draft Chat"
Who is expected to be drafted No. 1 overall?
While many of the star-studded names who made a splash during the 2021 NCAA Tournament are not eligible for this year’s draft, there are a number of seniors with high draft stock that could come of the board first, including Texas forward/center Charli Collier.
Which team has the most picks?
Through a series of trades, the Dallas Wings have taken control of the night with three first-round picks along with the first pick in the second round. The Los Angeles Sparks have two first round picks, a late second-round pick and two more in the third round. The Indiana Fever have six total picks, but only one comes in the first round.
Contact Analis Bailey at email@example.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WNBA draft 2021: Live stream and TV info, start time, top-rated player