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WNBA Draft 2011 Predictions: L.A. Sparks Picking Fifth

The 2011 WNBA draft gets underway Monday at noon PDT on ESPN, and Maya Moore of UConn is widely expected to be the top overall pick. The Los Angeles Sparks, who were 13-21 last season, select fifth overall. The SB Nation blog Swish Appeal held a mock draft based on various reports and conversations with league executives, and project the Sparks to play center Jantel Lavender from Ohio State:

The Sparks need a wing that can both shoot and defend most of all, but that's not really available in this draft so the Sparks likely take the best player available. So two of our voters and the statistics go for Lavender here. If Lavender is indeed available here the Sparks should grab her to eventually play center alongside Candace Parker.  If Lavender is gone as expected the Sparks probably will have to go with one of the point guards.

The WNBA season gets underway on Friday, June 3. The Sparks host the Minnesota Lynx at Staples Center in their first game.