History shows top picks no guarantee

The Indiana Fever are nearing what could be the most pivotal night in the franchise’s history. With four first-round draft picks, Indiana looks to quickly reverse its fortunes — after making the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, the team has gone 40-116 since 2017. 

And yet, getting All-Star levels of success — or any success at all — out of first-rounders is anything but a guarantee. One needs to look no further than the Fever’s last two drafts. The team drafted Lauren Cox No. 3 overall in the 2020 draft and Kysre Gondrezick No. 4 overall in the 2021 draft. Both players have since been cut from the roster.

Lin Dunn and the Fever have four picks in the first round in Monday’s draft — Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 10. Looking at draft picks from the last 10 years, here are best and worst case scenarios for the Fever from each spot.

More on WNBA draft:Fever go all-in on WNBA Draft, getting 2 top-10 draft picks from Dallas for Teaira McCowan

No. 2 pick

Ellena Delle Donne, right, and Natasha Cloud celebrate the Mystics' first WNBA championship in franchise history.

Best case: 

2013: Ellena Delle Donne (Chicago)

Donne is a two-time MVP and six-time All-Star. She was the 2013 Rookie of the Year, averaging 18.1 points and 5.6 rebounds. She was an All-Star in her first three seasons, winning her first MVP award in 2015. Before her arrival, the Sky had never made the playoffs. She led them to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, including a Finals appearance in 2015. 

Indiana Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell (0) drives the ball toward the basket during the second quarter of the home opener Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

2018: Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana Fever)

Mitchell is the Fever’s greatest draft success story in recent memory. She made the 2018 All-Rookie Team, scoring 12.7 points per game. Through four WNBA seasons, she’s averaging 15.2 points per game and is considered the centerpiece of the franchise’s future.

2014: Odyssey Sims (Tulsa)

Sims made an immediate impact in the WNBA, averaging 16.7 points and 4.2 assists during her rookie season. She was an All-Star in 2019, averaging 14.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. Through eight WNBA seasons, she averages 12.3 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds.

Leave a Comment