The Indiana Fever are poised to make major improvements for the 2018 season. The team brought in a group of young, talented players this off-season to add its core of veterans. While many of these new players are expected to add big things to the team this season, Indiana’s veterans have been honing their own games this off-season, ready to make big strides of their own on the court this season.
Indiana is no stranger to sending players to the WNBA All-Star game. However, 2018 may be different as the Fever have a good chance to send multiple players to the game this summer.
The Fever currently have one All-Star on the roster, Candice Dupree, who has made the team six times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2017). Barring an unexpected drop off in play, Dupree will look to add a seventh appearance in the WNBA All-Star game this season.
There is a good chance that Indiana will also send one of their guards to the All-Star game in Minneapolis this season.
That guard is Erica Wheeler.
In her previous three seasons as a pro, Wheeler has continued to develop her game on both ends of the floor with 2017 being a bit of a breakout season for her. She set career high averages in points (11.8), assists (4.1), rebounds (2.2), and minutes played (26.4) in her second year with Indiana.
Wheeler’s statistics from last season stack up well against the guards representing the Eastern Conference in the 2017 All-Star game.
- Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes averaged 16.3 points, 2.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game.
- Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas averaged 14.2 points, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.3 rebounds.
- Atlanta Dream guard Layshia Clarendon averaged 10.7 points, 6.6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game.
- Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley averaged 16.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.
With continued growth in both scoring and assists this season, Wheeler’s All-Star case may be as strong as any guard in the East. Wheeler is also one of the top defenders of the group, placing only second in steals to Thomas (1.5 to 1.3) last season.
“She’s competing with some amazing talent,” said Dupree. “I think its more the mental aspect for her. If she can kind of lock in and figure that out, I don’t see why she can’t be an All-Star.”
The 5-foot, 7-inch guard will look to again be the floor general for Indiana, stepping up her own production as well as continuing to create opportunities for her teammates.
Wheeler, who is fondly referred to by her teammates as “E-Dub,” is taking every step needed to polish her game. She spent most of the off season studying the game and how she can better lead this Indiana team in 2018.
“Every time we are in the gym,” says Fever center Natalie Achonwa, “she’s trying to pick my brain… it’s getting outside of just the physical aspects of the game and really just learning the game and the reads, really how to add that basketball IQ. That’s what is going to set her apart this year.”
Wheeler isn’t focused on her All-Star aspirations just yet. For her, it’s all about how the Fever perform this season.
“At the end of the day it’s about the team,” says Wheeler. “I just want the team to be able to be good. I want to be good and if we’re good as a team, who knows who will be an All-Star.”
For now, Wheeler is just focused on improving her game with every opportunity she can.
“I just want to work hard and do the things I need to do,” she says.
While there are many things to look forward to this season for Indiana, continuing to watch Wheeler’s transcendence into an All-Star caliber player may be one of the most exciting.