An Early Look at Fever in 2014 WNBA Draft
It is VERY early to begin making any predictions about Fever draft selections in the 2014 WNBA Draft. However, with Tuesday’s announcement of the WNBA Draft Lottery to take place on Dec. 10 (4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN SportsCenter), it warrants a look at the Fever’s draft position.
Based on regular season standings from 2013, Indiana owns the No. 5 overall selection. That would be the Fever’s highest draft position since selecting Tan White (pictured above) with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 draft. That pick proved to be a productive one, with White named a member of Indiana’s All-Decade Team in 2009 and still ranked fifth among franchise scoring leaders. She remains active in the league after nine pro seasons, playing 22 games last year with the Connecticut Sun.
In fact, as the club prepares for its 15th anniversary campaign in 2014, it will mark just the third time that Indiana has owned a top 5 pick – White in 2005 and Tamika Catchings in 2001 (3rd overall).
The price that Indiana has paid for success has been its annual possession of lower draft picks – sixth or lower in every season since 2006. Last year, however, the Fever toiled through an injury-plagued season. Indiana eventually reached the conference finals for the fourth time in six years, but not without a 16-18 regular season mark which was just one spot above qualification for the Dec. 10 lottery.
Indiana has not even participated in the lottery since receiving the No. 2 pick in the lottery prior to the 2005 draft.
So while Indiana will not participate in next week’s lottery for the ninth straight season, what looms is an intriguing draft. A top five pick is likely to land a player with the chance to contribute. Twice in the past four drafts, 2009 with Briann January (6th) and 2011 with Jeanette Pohlen (9th), Indiana has gotten immediate contribution from lesser picks. The 2012 draft produced a first-rounder in Layshia Clarendon (9th) and a second-rounder in Jasmine Hassell (21st) who both remain on the roster.
What will come of the No. 5 pick? Free agency in the early months of 2014 will go a long way in determining any specific team needs. The team is certainly in need of size and consistent rebounding to aid Erlana Larkins, Tamika Catchings and Jessica Davenport in the post. But with a healthy Davenport and an improved Hassell, will the best available pick come in the form of a post player or perhaps a versatile guard or scorer? How has Katie Douglas progressed after recovering from last season’s injuries? What types of trade opportunities might avail themselves to Kelly Krauskopf? Time will tell … but for now, Indiana has the benefit of its highest draft pick in nine seasons.