Diamond DeShields was selected No. 3 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft. DeShields is a 6’1 guard with quick handles, excellent touch around the rim, and the size and awareness to be one of the best backcourt rebounders in the WNBA.
She didn’t take the traditional route to become a first-round pick. Instead, she transferred from North Carolina after her freshman year to Tennessee, then skipped her redshirt senior season to play in Turkey after it didn’t appear she’d be eligible for the draft.
DeShields has been years ahead of her peers from the jump. In 2010, she won a FIBA Under-18 gold medal as the youngest player on Team USA at 15 years old. Yet, in just 14 minutes per game, she averaged the 14th-most points in the tournament at nine per game on 59 percent two-point shooting.
She’s been on every WNBA team’s radar for years.
Why should Sky fans be excited about DeShields?
Her frame is exactly what you’d want in a premier guard, with slightly above average height and long arms. She’s lightning quick, and get to the rim in just a few dribbles with long strides to cover space, and she’s terrific finishing through contact.
Her final season at Tennessee, she averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block, and a steal in 33 minutes. She can do a bit of everything, and is most productive as a slasher to the hoop, where she gets to the foul line five times per game. She shoots 80 percent from the line too.
Wherever DeShields ends up, she’s going to take over a starting guard spot and demand the ball frequently. She averaged six points, four rebounds, and three assists for Cukurova in a top Turkish league this past season.
Should fans be worried about DeShields?
If there’s one thing to be concerned with, it’s that DeShields struggles from three-point range. In an era where more WNBA shooters are firing from range than ever, it’s important to spread the floor with weapons, and she isn’t there yet.
Her release on shots from range isn’t nearly as fluent as her mid-rangers off-the-dribble. She shoots with a slight hitch, which may explain 28 percent three-point shooting in college, and 25 percent shooting overseas. He limited range may be what limits her from being selected in the top five of this season’s stacked draft.
What else is there to know about DeShields?
She’s the daughter of former MLB player Delino DeShields, and sister of 2010 No. 8 MLB pick Delino DeShields Jr.