With most rosters finalized, we now know which WNBA rookies have made the cut. Who is the favorite for Rookie of the Year?
The 2023 WNBA rookie class comes in with a tremendous amount of hype around It. Despite a number of high-profile cuts, there is still plenty to be excited about from the group that has secured roster spots.
With the remaining group in mind, it’s now possible to preview the Rookie of the Year race and the players in it. While the number one pick is the favorite, she has some fierce competition around the league.
2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year: preseason favorites
1. Aliyah Boston, C, Indiana Fever
Boston has been pro-ready since her sophomore season at South Carolina and is prepared to handle the inevitable growing pains that come with the jump. Her inside scoring, rebounding, and defense could be among the best in the league this year.
Boston should be a day-one starter and will be an immediate impact player on both ends. She will have a very tangible effect on the Fever’s record, which will strengthen her case.
Her fit alongside the other young players in Indiana is perfect, too, which is important for a team that seems to have its core settled after years of rebuilding.
2. Diamond Miller, G/F, Minnesota Lynx
Miller is largely viewed as the most pro-ready athlete in this class. Her physical gifts are incredible, and still stick out in the WNBA.
Her exceptional length, timing, and first step will make her a tough guard for a lot of teams. Miller should have no problem getting into the paint when she wants to. She’s also a decent playmaker and should open things up for the Lynx’s shooters off drive and kicks.
Like Boston, Miller should be a day-one starter, although her status there feels less guaranteed. Still, she is an excellent fit for the Lynx and will be learning from one of the best coaches ever in Cheryl Reeve.
3. Haley Jones, G, Atlanta Dream
Jones joins last season’s Rookie of the Year, Rhyne Howard, on a new-look Dream team that is in need of additional playmaking. Fortunately for both sides, that’s Jones’ biggest strength. That fit makes Jones a somewhat-sneaky ROY favorite.
After all the questions about Jones’ scoring ability, she fell to a team that doesn’t need her to be a major scoring threat in year one. The Dream will need her to be the advanced passer she has shown she can be, and use her length to amplify their defensive pressure.
Jones has already stated her draft night slide is motivation for her to have a strong rookie year, too, which makes a ROY run very feasible.
4. Jordan Horston, G/F, Seattle Storm
Like Jones, Horston slipped on draft night and is eager to prove that it was a mistake. She has a great opportunity to show that early in Seattle.
Horston is a gifted scorer from multiple spots on the floor. Her size makes her a tough matchup for guards, and her athleticism will overwhelm some forwards. Horston can create her own shot, too, and thrives off the dribble. An improving passer, Horston can hit open teammates when defenses collapse on her.
The Storm are ushering in a new era after the departures of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart. There’s a chance Jewell Loyd follows suit next season. The franchise has started preparing for the future by signing plenty of young, unproven players. Horston could emerge as the next star in green and yellow.
5. Zia Cooke, G, Los Angeles Sparks
Cooke may already be the most dynamic guard in the Sparks’ rotation. While she may not start, she should have ample opportunity to play for a team that needs her scoring punch.
Cooke is a strong shot creator and maker. She is a strong downhill driver and leverages her mid-range pull-up well enough to keep defenders honest. Cooke has also shown the ability to knock down catch-and-shoot threes consistently – something the Sparks desperately need. Cooke should also create plenty of transition opportunities for the team, due to her stout defense and quick hands.
Cooke will have the toughest competition for minutes of any of the rookies listed, which makes any she gets all the more impressive. Earning minutes over vets and having an impact on a veteran team would keep her in the race all season.