Who has the first pick in WNBA Draft? How Caitlin Clark will fit on Indiana Fever roster in 2024

There won’t be much uncertainty about the first name called during the WNBA Draft on April 15. 

Caitlin Clark is arguably the greatest scorer in college basketball history. She holds the all-time Division I record — men’s or women’s — and has demonstrated the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. She’s also a gifted passer whose behind-the-back passes and deep heaves across the court seemingly always find a teammate in stride.

It’s not just about the on-the-court impact either. Clark is perhaps the biggest reason for the spike in popularity in women’s college basketball over the past two seasons. She’s a major factor in why Iowa’s Elite Eight game against LSU became the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever

Clark would not just provide a team with elite production on the court, but she could also be a major boon for the WNBA and immediately vault the popularity of the team that drafts her. Imagine how quickly it will take for Clark jerseys to fly off the shelves the moment they’re made available.

But which team will it be that winds up in the position to select Clark? Here’s what you need to know.

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Who has the first pick in WNBA Draft?

That would be the Indiana Fever. It is the second straight year, Indiana has had the first overall pick and the third straight year possessing a top-three pick.

By all accounts, the expectation is Clark will be the team’s first overall selection. She is mocked first overall in SN’s latest mock draft, and for the Fever, the arrival of Clark could be filling the most crucial missing piece to the roster.

How Caitlin Clark will fit on Fever

The Fever finished the 2023 season with a 13-27 record, third-worst in the WNBA. That came despite Aliyah Boston, last year’s first overall pick, winning Rookie of the Year.

Indiana has some pieces in place that fit well long-term for the franchise despite the franchise finishing under .400 in seven straight seasons. Boston is a major star already poised to be among the league’s best forwards for years to come. Kelsey Mitchell has been out-scored by only four players since the start of the 2020 season, showing that 2018’s second-overall pick has settled in as a dynamic scorer. NaLyssa Smith, the No. 2 overall pick in 2022, also had another big season in 2023, averaging 15.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Lexie Hull, Victoria Vivians, and Kristy Wallace all saw starts at small forward in 2023, due in part to an injury that kept Hull out for the final three games of the season. She was a solid defender for the Fever last season, and she should be back in the starting lineup going into this year.

So, how does Clark fit in with the Fever? Here’s a look at the projected starting five with Clark included:

  • G Caitlin Clark
  • G Kelsey Mitchell
  • F Lexie Hull
  • F NaLyssa Smith
  • F Aliyah Boston

A season ago, the Fever ranked sixth in the WNBA in offensive rating. That figures to only get better after adding Clark. Though Erica Wheeler, signed to a two-year deal before 2023, was a solid point guard, she was not much of a scorer, averaging only 9.9 points per game. Putting Clark at the point guard position will immediately inject some more juice into the lineup and give Indiana a player who should average double-digits. Given Clark’s scoring prowess, it would not be a surprise to see her average in the upper teens.

Adding Clark to the backcourt should also help Mitchell see more open looks and open her up to score more heading into the season. As Fever general manager Lin Dunn explained, finding a pairing for Mitchell is as important as anything for the 2024 season.

“Kelsey Mitchell, our 2-guard, is one of the best 2-guards in this league, and she probably hasn’t gotten the recognition that she deserves because she’s been on a losing team,” Dunn said, per IndyStar. “So now, if you asked me the most pressing question, it might be, well, who’s going to be on either side of Kelsey, who’s gonna be the 1, who’s gonna be the 3.”

That would be either the point guard or small forward position. Given Clark has been the point guard with the Hawkeyes, it’s safe to say she’ll be the answer at the 1.

Clark’s presence won’t just improve Mitchell: it should also help free up Boston. Clark has exhibited elite passing in her career, particularly when it comes to feeding players in the paint. Teams will have to put more focus on defending against the guard play of Clark and Mitchell, potentially giving Boston more one-on-one opportunities down low and allowing her to rack up more points and rebounds.

Perhaps the biggest question for the Fever in 2024 will be on the defensive side of the ball. Indiana ranked next-to-last in the WNBA in defensive rating and last in points allowed per game. Boston is a standout defender and Smith was solid, but the Fever undoubtedly need improvement in that area.

How much Clark aids with that is to be determined. She has made major strides in her defense since her freshman season, earning 1.2 defensive win shares in 2023-24, and she just had the best defensive rating of her career at 89.4. However, that’s still an area in which she’ll need to improve and an area that could potentially be a learning curve for her in her first season in the WNBA.

What’s not in doubt? That Clark will immediately become a fan favorite in Indiana. She has been the face of college basketball for the past two seasons and should instantly become one of the WNBA’s brightest stars.

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