Jack­pot! Las Ve­gas wins WNBA draft lot­tery

The Garden Island - - Morning Briefing -

NEW YORK — Bill Laim­beer and the Las Ve­gas fran­chise hit the jack­pot, win­ning the WNBA draft lot­tery on Mon­day.

“Hav­ing the first pick will help to grow a fan base and this will go a long way to­wards that,” Laim­beer said in a phone in­ter­view. “I’m ex­cited that we’ll add a great piece to the puzzle.”

Las Ve­gas had the best odds (44 per­cent) to win Mon­day’s lot­tery af­ter fin­ish­ing with the com­bined worst record the past two sea­sons while the fran­chise was in San An­to­nio. The team moved to Las Ve­gas last month and hired Laim­beer as its coach and pres­i­dent. It’s the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year that the fran­chise has the top pick. The Stars took Kelsey Plum No. 1 last sea­son.

Laim­beer was happy to have good for­tune in the draft lot­tery. In 2003, he was the over­whelm­ing fa­vorite to get the top pick and his Detroit Shock ended up get­ting the No. 3. It didn’t turn out that badly as Laim­beer took Ch­eryl Ford and the Shock went on to win the WNBA cham­pi­onship that year, go­ing from worst to first.

“You ex­pect the worst, hope for the best,” Laim­beer said. “You don’t know.”

Laim­beer said that he heard that the draft is al­ready planned to be held in New York next spring, but he wouldn’t mind see­ing Las Ve­gas try and host it.

“It’s the league’s call. We’re open for any­thing. It’s a good des­ti­na­tion place,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about it here.”

In­di­ana will pick sec­ond with Chicago get­ting the third and fourth picks. The Sky ac­quired the third pick from the At­lanta Dream in a trade.

“With these two prized draft picks, we can add po­tent im­pact play­ers to our al­ready tal­ent-rich ros­ter,” Sky GM and coach Am­ber Stocks said. ••• Associated Press

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