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Emma Meesseman defied the odds to become one of the best second round draft picks in recent WNBA history

Second round picks were never meant to be more than reserve players toward the bottom of a rotation on average. The former Washington Mystics forward bucked that trend and then some.

Washington Mystics v New York Liberty
Emma Meesseman played significant minutes as a rookie for the Mystics in 2013 despite being just 20 years old, the same age as a college junior.

Former Washington Mystics forward Emma Meesseman is back in Washington with the Belgium women’s national team where they will play in the FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Washington this week.

Today, we’ll revisit some facts about how Meesseman’s career differed from most other players who were second round picks in the WNBA Draft. In fact, she’s one of the best-ever players to come out of the second round altogether. Consider the following:

  • Meesseman was the 19th overall pick in 2013. There isn’t a very good track record on how well these picks do, as Zack Ward of Swish Appeal wrote in 2020. The 19th pick is also in the middle of the second round, so it’s not like Meesseman was seriously considered to be a first round pick to begin with.
  • Second round picks (and later) do make the All-Star Game, though it doesn’t happen often. Meesseman made the game once in 2015. Natasha Cloud, another second round draft pick on the Mystics’ current roster, has yet to make one appearance in the All-Star Game (WE’LL VOTE YOU IN THIS YEAR TASHA!)
  • We also have the consider that many second round picks don’t make opening day rosters. In 2019, Jenn Hatfield of Her Hoop Stats and The Next wrote an analysis of how WNBA rosters look based on draft position. Out of all 12 teams that season, there were 101 first round picks and 32 second-round picks on rosters. It is simply very difficult for a newly drafted player who isn’t a first round pick to make a team.
  • Since second round picks generally have a harder time staying on rosters, it should be noted that Meesseman has always been a rotation or starting WNBA player for her entire career. With the exception of her rookie season, she averaged double figures in scoring.
  • Meesseman was just 19 years old when she was drafted by Washington and 20 for most of her rookie season. In 2013, she averaged 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game, mostly off the bench, backing up Crystal Langhorne. A 20-year-old is generally a college sophomore or junior. While Meesseman’s stats weren’t mindblowing as a rookie, she still showed that she could hold her own as a WNBA player against the best in the world.
  • Finally, we never highlighted this very much over the years, but Meesseman is partially deaf where she was born with about 50 percent hearing loss due to a health condition. But that didn’t slow her down during her time in D.C.!

Every WNBA player, even a superstar drafted first overall, overcomes great odds to make it to the pros. Meesseman is no different, but she still secured her place as an All-Star despite being drafted in a much lower position.