June 27, 2021
Indiana Fever waive Lauren Cox
In the midst of a disappointing 1-15 season, Fever say goodbye to their 2020 third overall pick
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The Indiana Fever announced on Sunday that they’ve waived Lauren Cox, the third overall pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft.
Cox’s brief stint with the Fever was characterized by injuries, health issues and a severe lack of playing time. Cox played just 14 games in 2020 after battling complications with COVID-19, and averaged just 13 minutes and 3.6 points per game. The former Baylor Lady Bear then sustained a knee injury towards the end of the season, the lingering effects of which kept her sidelined for the first four games of 2021. Once she was able to play, she saw her minutes dip to just 8.6 per game, and scoring to 1.4 points per game.
There seemed to be a major disconnect between Cox and the coaching staff on the status of the second-year center’s health throughout the 2021 season. A source familiar with the situation told The Next that Cox is fully healthy and has been for some time. Cox confirmed this in a prior media availability as well.
“I am fully recovered, 100%,” Cox said on Wednesday.
But before Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Wings, Fever coach Marianne Stanley seemed to imply that health problems, as well as the process of getting into game shape, were the primary reasons for Cox’s lack of playing time.
“The thing that’s held Lauren back more than anything was the string and series of injuries going back to last year,” Stanley said. “When she started training camp, she was in a little bit better place even though everybody was still struggling with conditioning, and she was certainly one of those people that’s still was working on conditioning at that point. Then she got hurt first week of training camp. It’s been a process to try to get her 100% healthy, but last few times we’ve used her she’s had some quality minutes, so that always bodes well for the future.”
When Cox was asked if she had spoken with the coaching staff regarding her lack of playing time, she hesitated before admitting that she had indeed been in communication with them.
“I have had conversations,” she said. “I go hard every day, I think you can ask anybody that. It’s not that I’m slacking off or anything like that. Just continuing to go hard during practice… make the most of my minutes when I do get in the game, and hopefully they’re seeing that.”
The Fever, at 1-15, are experiencing their worst start and losing streak (11 games) in franchise history.
Without the services of Cox, they’ll continue to rely on other young post players, such as Teaira McCowan, and veterans, such as Jessica Breland and Jantel Lavender.
In the coming days, it’ll be interesting to watch who general manager Tamika Catchings chooses to replace Cox. The Fever may opt to bring back Chelsey Perry, their 26th overall pick in the 2021 draft who totaled 31 minutes and 23 points over two preseason games. They may also seek a big to replace Cox’s size at 6-foot-4, such as her former Baylor teammate Kalani Brown, who was waived by the Atlanta Dream on May 26.
Regardless, it’s a curious move to see a team with the Fever’s record give up on such a high draft pick so early on in her career.