The draft is here. And just 10 days later, so is the opening of 2017 WNBA training camps.
For the Indiana Fever, of course, the 2017 draft signals the beginning of only the second season in club history without Tamika Catchings.
Since April 20, 2001, when Catchings was made the third overall selection of the WNBA Draft, Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf has always had Catchings as part of her team. This year, while teaming with new head coach Pokey Chatman, Krauskopf and the Fever will try to strike gold again.
Gold won’t come in the first round, however. The Fever, by virtue of their February trade to acquire five-time All-Star Candice Dupree, will not draft until their second-round selection at No. 17, also a part of the three-team deal that landed Dupree in Indiana.
For all intents and purposes, the veteran Dupree represents that first-round selection, and appropriately so. A first-rounder herself in 2006 (sixth overall), her 11-year statistics read very much like Catchings’ and she’ll occupy the same position. Dupree enters the 2017 season ranked 11th among the WNBA’s all-time rebounders, and her 5,107 points are 15th on the league’s career scoring chart. She is a career 50 percent shooter from the floor. Indeed, Dupree is first-round worthy.
So how will Krauskopf and Chatman spend their time during Thursday night’s first round? Easy, they’ll carefully prepare for three second-round picks and a fourth selection in the third round. Indiana will have as many draft picks as the franchise ever has had in the league’s three-round format, matching a four-pick haul in 2006.
The Fever will own three out of six picks once the dial turns to Indiana, following Connecticut’s selection at No. 16. The No. 17 pick came via the Dupree trade, the No. 20 selection is Indiana’s own, and a choice at No. 22 came from last year’s trade of Layshia Clarendon to Atlanta. Indiana’s third-round pick comes at No. 32 overall.
Fans can watch live as WNBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm is unveiled from Samsung 837 in New York City. ESPN2 will provide coverage of the first round beginning at 7 p.m. ET, followed by second-and third-round coverage on ESPNU starting at 8 p.m. ET.