The Las Vegas Aces are the winners of the 2019 WNBA Draft Lottery. Entering the lottery with the second-best odds of securing the top pick, the ping pong balls bounced Las Vegas’ way. Now, for the second year in a row, the Aces will select atop the WNBA Draft with the hopes of hitting a home run at No. 1, which they did last year when they selected A’ja Wilson with the top pick.
Here’s how the 2019 WNBA Draft will break down:
1. Las Vegas
2. New York
7. Los Angeles
Despite missing the WNBA Playoffs by one game during their inaugural season in Las Vegas — the team has actually had the top pick in three straight drafts when you factor in San Antonio Stars pick Lindsay Plum in 2017 — the Aces were able to come out on top. This is because the WNBA weighs lottery odds by the past two years, and despite being the first team to miss the postseason in 2017, their record over the past two years was still the second-worst in the league.
As for why the Aces missed the playoffs by one game, well, that’s another story. Las Vegas forfeited a game earlier this month against Washington, citing health and safety concerns after 26 hours of travel that led to them getting to the team hotel approximately three hours before the game’s originally scheduled tip time of 7 p.m. While the game’s tip was pushed to 8, the Aces decided the situation was untenable, said they would not play, and things were canceled.
However, the league decided to consider this a forfeit and, ultimately, a loss for the Aces. It was a harsh decision by the league — being asked to play a game so soon after being in traveling limbo for 26 hours is brutal — one that might have kept Las Vegas from making the postseason during its inaugural year in the city. While a playoff appearance would have been the ideal outcome, this isn’t a bad consolation prize for the Aces.
Indiana entered the draft lottery with the best odds to get the No. 1 pick, followed by Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York.