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Largest winners and losers from the 2024 WNBA Draft

There was no stunning surprise at the top of the 2024 WNBA Draft, just stunning fits. On Monday night, the Indiana Fever selected Iowa’s Caitlin Clark with the No. 1 pick. That fortune, of course, makes the Fever certain winners. But, who else is departed the Brooklyn Academy of Music feeling satisfied? Should anyone be

Largest winners and losers from the 2024 WNBA Draft

There was no beautiful shock on the prime of the 2024 WNBA Draft, simply beautiful matches.

On Monday evening, the Indiana Fever chosen Iowa’s Caitlin Clark with the No. 1 choose. That fortune, after all, makes the Fever sure winners. However, who else is departed the Brooklyn Academy of Music feeling happy? Ought to anybody be feeling a bit sheepish?

Listed here are three winners and three losers from the 2024 WNBA Draft:

Winner: Caitlin Clark

Ask not what Caitlin Clark can do for the Indiana Fever, ask what the Indiana Fever can do for Caitlin Clark.

Sure, the anticipated arrival of Clark in Indianapolis has resulted in 36 nationally-broadcast games and a demand for tickets so intense that the workforce has needed to restrict gross sales of single-game tickets to 2 video games per day. However for all of the ways in which Clark will profit the Fever, it’s vital to acknowledge how lucky she is to be touchdown in Indiana. She might be coming into the WNBA with mountains of recognition and stress, solely to be drafted to a workforce with a poorly-constructed roster ailing suited to amplify her prodigious abilities. As a substitute, the Fever are match to raise Clark.

That begins with Aliyah Boston, who, after posting one of many most efficient scoring seasons in WNBA history as a rookie, profiles as a perfect pick-and-roll partner for Clark. Boston’s defensive intelligence and instincts additionally will cowl for Clark’s weaknesses on that finish of the ground. Then, there’s Kelsey Mitchell, one of many gamers Clark handed on her technique to the all-time NCAA Division I scoring document and one of many purest shooters within the recreation. Mitchell owns a share of the WNBA document with 9 3-pointers made in a single recreation, guaranteeing she’s going to demand the eye of defenders and create house for Clark to work her magic. The Fever additionally added Katie Lou Samuelson, a shooter with dimension, in the course of the offseason. NaLyssa Smith brings the sort athleticism on the energy ahead place that makes her a super goal for Clark’s hit-ahead passes. Add within the management of Erica Wheeler, the two-way versatility of Grace Berger and the perimeter defensive tenacity of Lexie Hull. Whereas the Fever won’t be poised for a playoff breakthrough, they’re arrange for Clark to succeed.

Winner: Rivals to Teammates

The 2024 WNBA Draft, the place former school rivals turn into skilled collaborators.

The Fever’s dynamic duo of Boston and Clark pairs a South Carolina Gamecock and Iowa Hawkeye, uniting two fanbases who had been on reverse sides in the course of the 2023 Last 4, when the Hawkeyes upset the Gamecocks, and the 2024 national championship game, when South Carolina got revenge. Indiana additionally added one in all Clark’s Huge Ten foes with the No. 15 choose in Celeste Taylor, a defensive-first guard who spent her senior season at Ohio State.

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The Chicago Sky turned SEC rivals Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese into teammates, with the ahead from LSU, chosen No. 7, expressing pleasure about taking part in with the middle from South Carolina, who was picked at No. 3. Reese informed ESPN’s Holly Rowe, “I’m simply so excited. I get to play with Kamilla, I’ve been taking part in towards her since highschool, so I’m excited to play with Kamilla.”

Winner: The Los Angeles Sparks

Though a Cam-Kam twin towers of Cameron Brink and Kamilla Cardoso would have been enjoyable, the draft board fell completely for the Los Angeles Sparks. After LA chosen Stanford’s Brink at No. 2, Chicago went with Cardoso at No. 3, a light shock as most projections had Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson on the third spot. That allowed the Sparks rapidly to snag Jackson at No. 4.

The mix of Brink and Jackson, in distinction to one in all Brink and Cardoso, addresses a greater diversity of positional wants for a Sparks workforce searching for its next star after Nneka Ogwumike took her talents to the Seattle Storm in the course of the 2024 free company interval. Working as both a middle or energy ahead, Brink has the potential to be a generational defensive expertise (so long as she avoids extreme foul bother) with a contemporary offensive recreation. Jackson is a pro-ready energy wing with a penchant for taking part in her greatest in large video games; she’s able to get buckets immediately and has the body required to be a optimistic on the defensive finish. The 2 give LA a creating, dynamic frontcourt that may kind the core of the following, nice Sparks workforce.

Loser: Sidelined head coaches

No one places Daybreak within the nook! (Besides on the WNBA Draft.)

Certainly the WNBA might have made room for South Carolina head coach Daybreak Staley, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder and LSU head coach Kim Mulkey to be seated with their draftees? Whereas UConn head coach Geno Auriemma and assistant coach Chris Dailey joined Nika Mühl, chosen No. 14 by the Seattle Storm, and Utah head coach Lynne Roberts accompanied Alissa Pili, who went to the Minnesota Lynx at No. 8, Staley, Bluder and Mulkey had been huddled off to the facet, unable to squeeze into the tables of Cardoso, Clark and Reese, respectively. However, hugs nonetheless had been shared and tears nonetheless had been shed.

Loser: No “BIG 3”

Basketball’s greatest “BIG 3” was denied a chance to do their factor on Monday evening. The trio of Elle Duncan, Andraya Carter and Chiney Ogwumike earned rave reviews for his or her vibrant studio show throughout ESPN’s protection of the ladies’s NCAA Event, offering on-point evaluation and overflowing vibes. The draft appeared like an ideal time to revive the mix. As a substitute, Ogwumike held down the pre-draft present with Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson, whereas Carter offered evaluation in the course of the draft alongside Rebecca Lobo and Ryan Rucco. That mentioned, the published was a hit, avoiding Caitlin Clark over-saturation and amplifying the tales of all draftees.

Loser: The WNBA

What? Monday evening seemingly would be the most-watched draft in league historical past by a big margin. The league additionally seems to be coming into a brand new period, one the place the WNBA not is shunted to the periphery of the American sports activities panorama however approaching the inside. And but, there might be extra. There needs to be extra. Particularly, extra roster spots.

In all probability, plenty of the gamers who heard their names referred to as on Monday evening won’t be on a WNBA roster when the 2024 season begins in roughly one month. The hype of draft evening rapidly turns into a harsh actuality, as a most of 12 roster spots per workforce discourages organizations from investing within the growth of younger gamers. This, in flip, denies followers a chance to emotionally put money into the event of their new, favourite draftee, watching her go from out of the rotation to incomes a couple of minutes right here and there to rising as a optimistic contributor by season’s finish.

The WNBA Draft is a good occasion, however sadly a number of 1st rounders won’t even get the chance to play in a recreation this season. The league is just too deep with nice expertise.

The league wants an aggressive enlargement plan. There are gamers to fill out 20+ rosters.

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— Kim McCauley (@kimischilling) April 15, 2024

As a substitute, solely essentially the most ready-made rookies obtain requisite alternative, with others more likely to discover themselves bouncing round on hardship contracts, getting an opportunity with one workforce this week and one other workforce subsequent week. Sure, stars drive curiosity within the league, however good tales assist maintain that curiosity. Due to the restrictions of WNBA rosters, the league retains lacking out on some good tales—and nice gamers.

Nevertheless, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert mentioned the league’s enlargement plans throughout her pre-draft media availability, indicating the league wish to attain 16 groups by 2028. The WNBA or WNBPA can also choose out of the present collective bargaining settlement after the 2024 season, which might end in a rise in roster spots.

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