2022 WNBA draft shakeup: Atlanta Dream acquire No. 1 overall pick from Washington Mystics

Five days before the 2022 WNBA draft, there's a new team picking at the top. 

The Atlanta Dream acquired the No. 1 overall pick from the Washington Mystics on Monday in a deal that sent the third overall pick and the 14th (second round)  from Atlanta to Washington. The Mystics also hold rights to swap picks with the Dream in the 2023 draft as part of the blockbuster. 

The Dream have had the top pick once before in the WNBA draft, in 2009, when Atlanta selected former Louisville star Angel McCoughtry, the most accomplished player in franchise history, who led the Dream to the WNBA Finals in 2010, '11 and '13. McCoughtry, a five-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold me, now plays for the Minnesota Lynx.

The Dream's Twitter account posted a video featuring two potential No. 1 picks, Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard and Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith, after announcing the trade. In ESPN's most recent mock draft before the trade, Smith went first to Washington and Howard second to the Indiana Fever. 

Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft. The Atlanta Dream acquired the pick from the Washington Mystics.

The league announced Wednesday that Smith, Howard and Ole Miss center Shakira Austin headline a list of 12 prospects who will attend Monday's draft in New York City.

Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault reasoned that the depth in this year's draft allowed the team to feel comfortable moving down. 

“We feel that this trade gives us the opportunity to have more options in both the 2022 and 2023 drafts,” Thibault said in a statement. “We are very comfortable with all three players that we have ranked as the possible top three picks in the draft. Whichever player comes to us will add to the depth of this year’s team and will have the chance to grow into a very important role over the next few years. We didn’t have any other picks in this draft and now we have No. 14 to try to find another good young player that can be a part of our future." 

New WNBA draft order 

The draft will air Monday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

  • 1. Atlanta Dream 
  • 2. Indiana Fever
  • 3. Washington Mystics 
  • 4. Indiana Fever (via Los Angeles) 
  • 5. New York Liberty
  • 6. Indiana Fever (via Dallas)
  • 7. Dallas Wings (via Chicago)
  • 8. Minnesota Lynx (via Phoenix)
  • 9. Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle)
  • 10. Indiana Fever (via Minnesota)
  • 11. Las Vegas Aces
  • 12. Connecticut Sun 

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.