December 21, 2021
Indiana Fever miss out on No. 1 overall pick again, will pick No. 2 in 2022 WNBA Draft
The Fever had the best odds to land the number one overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft
The Indiana Fever need a new good luck charm.
The Fever had the best odds to land the number one overall pick in the 2022 WNBA draft. It was the fifth straight lottery the Indiana Fever have participated in, and when it was all said and done, it became the fifth straight lottery that the team did not end up with the first overall pick.
The Fever, who had a 44.2% chance of landing the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 draft, will pick second. The Washington Mystics ended up winning the drawing, which was televised on ESPN on Sunday.
“We will get somebody good with the number two pick,” Fever Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Tamika Catchings said the morning following the lottery.
The Fever have had unfortunate draft lottery luck for the last half-decade now. They’ve had a 10% or better chance at landing the number one overall pick in each of the last five years, yet have never landed the top selection. Given the Fever’s chances of receiving the first overall pick in each of the past quintet of lotteries, the odds that they didn’t win one time in that span is just 14.6%.
And yet, that’s what has happened.
“We sure are hopeful, and we think it’s time for us to win,” Dr. Allison Barber, Fever President and Chief Operating Officer, said during the ESPN broadcast.
They didn’t win. But the Indiana Fever aren’t going to be thinking “woe is me” leading up to the draft next spring.
Instead, the team is looking at an opportunity. They have two top-10 picks in the 2022 draft, and they had two top-11 selections last year. Not grabbing the first pick hurts, but having four top draft choices in two years still gives Indiana a solid base to improve their roster.
“I feel like we are on the verge of having the team that we need and what we want,” Fever guard Aaliyah Wilson said earlier this month when asked about the draft lottery. “Everybody sees the vision. And I think we’re just like one or two small pieces away from connecting all that together.”
Catchings spent the draft night at Mohegan Sun Arena, where she was watching the lottery on a TV in the upper sections of the building. She was taking some photos while the lottery results were revealed. “Definitely exciting not getting the fourth pick, not getting the third pick.” the GM said of watching the lotto live. “And then even with the second pick, when Bethany Donaphin pulled our logo up, it’s like, ‘okay.’ You know, you kind of have to put things in perspective of ‘this is a draft that we will get some solid players to our team.'”
Catchings likes the upcoming draft class and called it a deep group. Most experts have pegged Rhyne Howard and NaLyssa Smith as the top-two players in this draft. And with the Fever picking second, they can guarantee themselves one of those two players if they agree with the experts once draft night rolls around.
“This is a deep draft. So we know that we will bring somebody good to our team,” Catchings explained.
Another reason Catchings is looking forward to adding new rookies is, that the team just hired a new assistant coach with a strong background in player development. Carlos Knox, who previously worked with Catchings on her skills in a previous stint with the franchise; has re-joined the Fever in an assistant role. He replaces Steve Smith on the Fever sideline, as The Next reported earlier this month.
“We brought on coach Carlos Knox … one of his biggest strengths is the player development side,” Catchings said. “His experience is what makes him so valuable.”
The Fever have picked second overall twice in franchise history. They selected Kelsey Mitchell in that draft slot in 2018 and drafted Tan White second in 2005. Catchings, and the rest of the organization, will hope to get a franchise cornerstone with the pick this season.
They’ll need to nail the pick if they want to accomplish the goals Catchings is setting for the franchise. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and put a lot of pressure on our team and our coaching staff that we will be in the playoffs next year. That is what we are building,” she stated. The Indiana Fever didn’t win the draft lottery, but they still need to nail the draft if they want to reach that postseason goal next season.