The NBA season is currently suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2020 WNBA Draft, which is scheduled April 17, is still expected to take place.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement the league would “continue our scenario plan around our upcoming events and season.” Englebert added that further details would come later this month.
In a mock draft released by ESPN’s Michelle Voepel, Ionescu is still the anticipated first-overall pick by the New York Liberty.
Here’s what Voepel had to say about the Oregon guard:
Ionescu said in an Instagram post Monday that this has been the toughest year of her life. She won't get a last chance to try to win an NCAA tournament title, and her first season in the WNBA might be delayed. But safe to say when she does get back on the court, which is expected to be with the Liberty, she's a player everyone is eager to see transition to the pro game. She averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists this season.
As Voepel mentioned, these past few weeks have been challenging for the triple-double queen, who didn’t have the opportunity to take care of her “unfinished business” and lead her Ducks to a college women’s basketball championship. The tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving Ionescu with a final chapter of “what ifs.”
What if Ionescu, who was anticipated to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, never returned to Oregon? What if she never became the first NCAA Division I player, male or female, to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists? What if never passed Gary Payton as the Pac-12’s all-time leader in assists?
Ionescu chose Oregon, and in the end, she thrived to become one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. No matter what challenges arise in the next few days or months as it pertains to her future in the WNBA, Ionescu will overcome.
While the NBA season is currently shut down and not expected to return until June, the WNBA season is still scheduled to begin on May 15.