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Tulsa Shock Will Draft Special Player In Diggins Or Delle Donne

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The WNBA Draft is shaping up to be one of the more predictable drafts in the league's short history. With star players Brittany Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne, the top three draft picks are set, including Griner as the top pick. The only question that remains is which order Diggins and Della Donne will go.

The Tulsa Shock has the third pick in the draft, which is set for April 15 at 7 p.m. CST. They'll get the last of the three players after the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky make their picks. However, Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg made it clear on a national conference call Thursday afternoon that any of those players would be a huge help for the Shock.

"I would say those three, based on their body of work, separated themselves (from the rest)," Kloppenburg said. "We're in a position where we want to keep getting better through the draft. We're going to try to get the best player available."

No matter which player Tulsa selects, Kloppenburg expects them to come in and have an immediate impact. They won't be expected to save the franchise in one season, but they will certainly have the opportunity to play immediately, and play a lot.

"Both of those players (Delle Donne and Diggins)—for us—they're going to come right in and play full-time," Kloppenburg said. "I would anticipate either one of those players coming in and getting a good opportunity to play full-time since that happened with our rookies last year. We're still in that mode of developing the talent we have and adding talent."

It's all but a done deal that Phoenix will take Griner with the first pick, but it's unclear what Chicago will do with the No. 2 pick. After losing the top two scorers and assist leaders from last year's team—Ivory Latta and Temeka Johnson—the Shock could really use Diggins as the floor general.

"She's a magnificent young woman and a great role model," Kloppenburg said about Diggins. "She's got the whole package, a great player and all the intangibles."

As with any player moving up to the professional level, Diggins will have to make adjustments to the step up in competition from the college game. Kloppenburg said the physicality and athleticism is a lot greater in the WNBA than at the college level, but said Diggins shouldn't have any problems making the transition.

"I think she's one of those that can impact our league right away," Kloppenburg said. "She's an extremely hard worker and will put the time in to get better in a lot of those areas. I think she's one of those kids that come along once every 5-10 years that can make an impact right away."

Delle Donne is a special player thanks to her 6-foot-5 frame and her guard-like ability to handle the ball on the perimeter. When describing her level of play, Kloppenburg compared her to one of the great players in the league—Seattle's Lauren Jackson.

"We haven't seen a player like her come into our league since Lauren Jackson, but in a way, she's got an even greater skill set than Lauren with her ability to put the ball on the floor," Kloppenburg said.

Tulsa will have a very easy decision to make Monday night, and will be getting a player that can do a lot to turn the Shock around as a franchise. It won't all happen in one year, but this draft, with the elite talent at the top, could possibly be a turning point for Tulsa.

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