November 28, 2021
Why Danielle Robinson is excited about the 2022 Indiana Fever
Robinson is ready to lead developing team again next season
Danielle Robinson is always excited about something. It’s just how she is.
In a Zoom call with The Next, that excitement was on full display. Robinson noticed the Christmas lights that already eclipses most of my office wall while we were conversing about basketball and the Indiana Fever.
“I love it! I love it,” Robinson exclaimed. Her passion was clear, even through the medium of an online interview.
But interior lighting was not the subject of this conversation. This conversation was about Danielle Robinson, her growth, basketball and the Indiana Fever, four things that Robinson also has enthusiasm for. She made all of that apparent, too.
“Now it’s like, we are missing a few pieces,” Robinson said. “And I think we’ll get those pieces in free agency or the draft. And it’ll just be, you know, time to go.”
Robinson, like others within the franchise, thinks the Fever are in a strong position to build off of the 6-26 campaign they just concluded.
The record was poor, but when the Fever were fully healthy for a few moments in the summer, they looked strong and took down two playoff squads in Connecticut and New York. Coming out of the Olympic break a month later, the Fever nearly beat both Los Angeles and Phoenix before taking down another playoff team in Dallas. Robinson hit the game winner in that performance, capping off Indiana’s best stretch of the season.
“Honestly, that was probably one of the most fun games in my career,” Robinson said. She detailed that the play call Indiana executed on her game-winning shot was one that the Fever had just recently began working on. To see it pay off so quickly, and in such an important moment, was satisfying and, of course, exciting.
Beyond the minutiae of that one specific play, though, that game was a part of the stretch that inspires optimism for the Fever next season. They went 5-4 across the months of July and August and beat three playoff teams during that span. Perhaps not coincidentally, that was the time of the season when the Fever were closest to full strength.
Better health luck next season, and the infusion of a few new players, could make the team much better.
“It’s time to really get it together. And I think we saw spurts of that last season,” Robinson said. “That three game stand before the [Olympic] break, you know, we beat Connecticut, stuff like that. And so we know how it feels. We know what it takes. I think just doing that consistently will be good.”
Bad teams tend to be inconsistent, though. The Fever need to get better, and improve their talent level, if they want to be more consistent, as Oklahoma product hopes they can be. And Robinson knows that she has a role in improving Indiana’s talent level.
There are several things she can do to help. First and foremost, she is one of the experienced veterans on this team, having played in the WNBA Finals and reaching the All-Star game three times. Robinson knows how to win and be a productive player, and her duty as a leader on this Fever team will be important in improving the squad next season.
Part of the reason Danielle Robinson decided to ink a deal with the Fever last offseason was because of the opportunity to change the culture within the organization. Becoming a stronger leader next year, and helping guide a developing team to new heights, will allow her to make that impact this coming season. And putting her stamp on the Fever’s existence and aura will help the team in a much-needed manner.
“Growing leadership wise,” the 32-year old guard said when discussing some of the things she can improve on in the 2022 season. Then she went into detail.
“I think one of the biggest things, when the season’s over, everybody goes their separate ways,” Robinson said. “For me, no. I’m checking in on everybody. I’m trying to watch everybody’s games. I’m trying to see where I can help them if they need help. Just making sure that everybody knows that I’m here and I want to lead them in that way. So I’m just continuing to grow in that way and push outside of my comfort zone on and off the court.”
She also noted that it could be beneficial for the Fever’s chemistry that a few members of the team are presently playing together overseas — herself and Teaira McCowan in Turkey, as well as Kelsey Mitchell and Emma Cannon in Israel.
Speaking of on the court, Robinson has goals for improvement there, too. “Shooting the three more… just getting comfortable doing that,” she said. She’s been taking more threes while playing for Ormanspor to work on her game. “It’s not that I have a bad shot. It’s just me having the confidence to make it feel good.”
That can help the Fever in numerous ways. Mostly, it will help address one of Indiana’s biggest weaknesses, they shot they second fewest three-point attempts per game this past season and shot the worst percentage in the league on those shots. Robinson become a more reliable shooter can only be helpful.
A secondary benefit will be more spacing for dynamic guards Kelsey Mitchell and Tiffany Mitchell to drive and more room in the paint for McCowan to dominate. More space is nearly a necessity for the Fever, who had the second-worst offense in the league last season.
That said, after Robinson injured her ankle in late August, the Fever won one game for the rest of their campaign. Even before working on her outside shot, she was a key part of the team’s success. Having her on the court again next season will be advantageous for the Fever.
With Robinson back next year, cap space available this offseason and two first-round picks coming for the Fever, the team is knocking on the door of competing again. It may take a year or two for everything to click, especially with several pieces needed to fulfill the roster, but with Robinson’s leadership in tow, this Indiana group could be ready to take a step forward in coming years.
Danielle Robinson is excited for that step. She is excited for the Fever’s rebuild to be over. And behind her guidance and knowledge, this Indiana squad could be moving up the standings sooner rather than later.