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WNBA mock draft: Charli Collier holds top spot; Aari McDonald makes splash

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The 2021 WNBA draft is Thursday, and will be held virtually for the second straight year. The Dallas Wings hold the top two picks and four total in the first round. 

ESPN will air the three-round draft starting at 7 p.m. ET, with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announcing the picks and players appearing virtually. The 25th season is expected to tip off in May.

Here is Yahoo Sports' WNBA mock draft.

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)
(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

1. Dallas Wings

Charli Collier, Texas

Collier has been at the top of draft boards since she declared in March. The 6-foot-5 center was vital for Texas’ Sweet 16 upset of Maryland, and she improved her entire Longhorns reign. Her 3-point game has added a new element and her midrange jump shot has also elevated in the last year. She’s a natural fit with Dallas.

2. Dallas Wings

Awak Kuier, Finland

At only 19, Kuier is younger than the majority of the draft. She’s also projected by some to be a franchise type of player. The Wings have so many options in the first round with four picks and two roster spots, and Kuier helps them get someone of value who might not join the team right away as she develops in Europe. Getting her rights now while they have the chance and can work out the roster is probably the best way they can go about it.

3. Atlanta Dream

Rennia Davis, Tennessee

The Dream need depth and defensive help and Davis checks those boxes. She’d have a chance to become more consistent offensively with the Dream as well with Chennedy Carter getting healthy for this season.

4. Indiana Fever

Aari McDonald, Arizona

Perhaps McDonald raised her stock enough to go in the top three. If not, she feels like a lock for the top five. The Arizona star made waves as a strong defensive player and someone who can take over on offense to lead the Wildcats to their upset over UConn and to the national title game. The Fever need another scorer after dropping to eighth in the league last year. Feels like a natural fit.

Aari McDonald with the ball in one hand staring down the court.
Arizona guard Aari McDonald raised her draft stock with her outstanding performance leading the Wildcats to the national championship game. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

5. Dallas Wings

Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State

Dallas has room to tackle almost every area with its four draft picks, and Mack’s solid defensive play — averaging four blocks a game — makes her interesting. She’s the kind of player who could earn her way into a bigger role quicker than expected.

6. New York Liberty

Dana Evans, Louisville

The Liberty could use another guard here, and at this point, it would be a toss up between Evans and Rutgers’ Arella Guirantes. Evans may have raised her stock just a tad more in the tournament. It’s tough to see her falling further than this, at least.

7. Dallas Wings

Jasmine Walker, Alabama

The 6-foot-3 Walker averaged a double-double this season. The Wings were last in the league in defensive rebounds last season. She could have a legitimate shot at playing right away.

8. Chicago Sky

Arella Guirantes, Rutgers

The Sky need a guard and that’s no secret. They need depth behind Courtney Vandersloot and whoever the best available guard is here is likely to be that depth. Guirantes could end up going earlier, and then they’d have to hope Evans falls. The Rutgers guard loves to shoot, so she could be dynamic off the bench.

9. Minnesota Lynx

Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA

Onyenwere may someday be viewed as the steal of this draft. She’s one of the best all-around athletes in the draft, and she’s versatile. The 6-foot forward can play multiple positions, which might not slot her into specific projected roles, but also gives her a chance to evolve wherever she fits best.

Michaela Onyenwere shoots the ball during a game.
UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere is an all-around and versatile athlete who could be the steal of this year's draft. (Kyusung Gong/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

10. Los Angeles Sparks

Kiana Williams, Stanford

National championship with Stanford to California pipeline. Williams has already taken a title home with the Cardinal, and it makes sense for her to be in demand locally. She’s a smart point guard who could be a solid pro playmaker.

11. Seattle Storm

Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas

If Dungee is still here, she feels like a no-brainer. Strong 3-point shooter, can make things happen on defense with 1.5 steals per game last season — good for 15th in the nation — and tremendous on the defensive boards.

12. Las Vegas Aces

DiJonai Carrington, Baylor

Carrington is a versatile guard who got some more notoriety in this year’s tournament. She, like Dungee, is strong on defense earning steals and rebounds, plus she has the potential to take over offensively. That might not happen as often for Las Vegas as it did for Baylor, but she always has that breakout ability.

Second- and third-rounders to watch

Shyla Heal, Australia: Heal, like Kuier, is younger than most draft-eligible players. The 5-foot-6 guard could sneak into the first round if there’s a need, but she projects most likely in the early second. With the Townsville Fire, she averaged more than 25 points per game this season and 7.3 assists.

Unique Thompson, Auburn: A lock for the early second round, Thompson finished her career with Auburn averaging a double-double. Her 57 career double-doubles are also the most in SEC history. She might be a solid pick at No. 20 for Connecticut, its first pick, as the Sun try to replace production from the injured Alyssa Thomas.

DiDi Richards, Baylor: Richards recovered from injury to average 6.3 points per game for Baylor on its way to the Elite Eight. The 2019-20 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year collided with her teammate in practice to start the season and dealt with a spinal cord injury that left her temporarily partially paralyzed. In less than a month, she was already shooting at practice.

Tiana Mangakahia passes the ball.
Syracuse guard Tiana Mangakahia survived breast cancer, finished her college career as one of the most dominant players in program history and is an intriguing draft prospect. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse: The all-time assist leader in Syracuse history is one of the most intriguing second-round options. The 25-year-old is the oldest player in the draft class after she survived breast cancer to return and be one of the most dominant players in program history.

Aaliyah Wilson, Texas A&M: Wilson is one of the more exciting third-round options. She was a big part of the Aggies’ surprising run to being ranked the top team in the nation at one point this season. The 5-foot-11 shooting guard averaged 12.7 points and 5.9 rebounds last season.

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