The 2024 WNBA Draft order is set. Indiana won the draft lottery Sunday, giving the Fever the first pick in what could be one of the deepest drafts in league history.
Could is the operative word, as every draft-eligible senior in this class has the opportunity to return to college for a fifth season due to the COVID-19 bonus year given to every player who suited up in 2020-21.
Indiana is the fourth team in the last decade to earn consecutive No. 1 picks after Seattle had the top selections in 2015 and 2016, Las Vegas had a three-year stretch of picking first from 2017-2019, and New York won the lottery in 2020 and 2021. The Storm won two titles with the duo of Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, and the Aces have done the same with the trio of Kelsey Plum, A’ja Wilson and Jackie Young. The Fever hope to shortly follow in their footsteps with the inside-outside combination of Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark.
We got the No. 1 pick in the 2024 @WNBA Draft & our draft lottery party went nuts! 🔊 pic.twitter.com/OIpuntbosn — Indiana Fever (@IndianaFever) December 10, 2023
Clark going first has been the expected outcome since the end of last season, but what happens afterward? The Athletic’s first 2024 mock draft attempts to answer that question. This exercise includes every player who is eligible for this year’s draft, though we know some of them will choose to stay an extra year in school. We’ll cross that bridge later in the year. For now, let’s assume every senior who can go pro will do so. GO DEEPER:
Who are the best women’s college basketball players for the 2024 WNBA Draft?
1. Indiana Fever
Caitlin Clark | 6-0 guard | Iowa This is the easiest decision in the entire draft. Clark is a superlative offensive engine, one of the greatest ever seen in college basketball. She pours on points in a hurry and not just with her logo range; Clark doesn’t shy away from contact in the paint and her midrange shooting gets better every season. She’s one of only 15 players in Division I history to score 3,000 points, and she has a realistic chance of breaking Kelsey Plum’s scoring record this season, in addition to chasing Pete Maravich’s all-time record for men or women.
If, somehow, she can be held in check as a scorer — and good luck with that, no team has kept her below 20 since Maryland in February, a span of 22 games — Clark is also an elite passer. She zips the ball up the court in transition and makes every read in the half court. This is the player who led the nation in points and assists as a sophomore and then improved on both those figures as a junior.
Clark is also a superstar. Iowa sold out its season ticket allotment, and attendance rises in every road arena when the Hawkeyes visit because people want to see Clark. She dazzles in the limelight. She is a marketing dream for any organization; she can handle the pressure of being the face of the franchise. The fact that she’s born and raised in the Midwest and takes great pride in that makes her a slam dunk in Indiana. Furthermore, the basketball fit of Clark and Boston is sublime. After years of competing against each other for national awards — and in one epic NCAA Tournament clash — they’ll get to build each other up as teammates.
2. Los Angeles Sparks
Paige Bueckers | 5-11 guard | Connecticut The Sparks are ecstatic to be in the position, even if Clark is off the table. The Fever earning the first selection makes it more likely that Clark declares for the draft, giving L.A. its pick of every other player in the country. Although fan sentiment is in favor of Cameron Brink (think about the last time the Sparks selected a Stanford frontcourt star in the lottery), right now, we have the Sparks taking Bueckers.
Bueckers’ injury history — she missed much of the 2021-22 season with a knee issue …