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For second straight year, Liberty wins WNBA draft lottery, will pick No. 1

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 08 Women’s Texas at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Liberty have won the WNBA Draft Lottery, earning Joe Tsai’s team the first overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft. This will be the second consecutive first overall pick held by New York as well as the second time the franchise has held the prize in their history.

The Lottery took place on Friday night and was announced during halftime of the DePaul - Louisville women’s game.

“It’s only going to bolster what we’re doing,” New York general manager Jonathan Kolb said of getting the top pick. “This is an exciting night for the Liberty franchise and for our fans. Securing the top selection in the 2021 Draft ensures that we will have the opportunity to add a high character, elite level, player to our core group as we continue our efforts to build a championship-caliber team in Brooklyn.”

The odds were on their side heading into the lottery. The Liberty had the best chance to land the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft Lottery (442 out of 1000). In other words, 44.2 percent. If the balls were not to go New York’s way, the team was guaranteed at least the 3rd overall pick.

Unlike last year’s WNBA Draft when Sabrina Ionescu was the easy choice, there is no clear consensus pick for the 2021 draft. But based on positioning and team needs, Charli Collier, a 6’5” big from Texas, could wind up in Brooklyn come spring. Collier wore No. 35 in Austin, the same number Kevin Durant did during his time as a Longhorn.

Some other names that hover around the top selection are Dana Evans of Louisville, Aari McDonald of Arizona, Rennia Davis of Tennessee, and Michaela Onyenwere of UCLA. The Liberty could also trade the pick.

Along with the No. 1 pick, New York holds Nos. 17 and 29 picks, which were acquired in three-way deals with the Wings and Mystics last year as well as the No. 25 pick in the upcoming draft. Last year, the Liberty wound up with six draft picks while the year before, the Libs took Asia Durr, a wing, with the No. 2 pick. She missed all of last season while recovering from COVID-19.

The date for the WNBA Draft has yet to be set. The WNBA usually starts its games in late spring. After playing in Bradenton, Florida, last season, the WNBA will return to its home arenas. For the Liberty, that will mean finally moving to Barclays Center.