Indiana Fever again land No. 1 overall pick in WNBA draft lottery

Michael Voepel, ESPN.comDec 10, 2023, 05:09 PM ET

CloseMichael Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

For the second year in a row, the Indiana Fever will have the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft.

The Fever, who picked South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston in 2023, won the 2024 WNBA draft lottery Sunday and have the first selection April 15.

The Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm will have the Nos. 2-4 picks.

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Caitlin Clark is the projected No. 1 pick in ESPN’s most recent mock draft. But like several other potential draftees, Clark is eligible to return for a fifth college season in 2024-25 because of the COVID-19 waiver.

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Players can wait to declare for the draft until after they have completed this college season.

Boston, the WNBA Rookie of the Year, represented the Fever at the draft lottery Sunday and talked about how excited the franchise was to potentially add another star.

“It’s just going to be another talented player that we can use to help build us back to the franchise the Fever were,” Boston said.

Indiana last won the WNBA title in 2012 but hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2016.

“She is the good luck charm,” Fever general manager Lin Dunn said of Boston.

Lottery odds were based on the cumulative records of the past two WNBA regular seasons (2022 and 2023). With a cumulative record of 18-58, the Fever had the most chances to land the top pick (442 out of 1,000).

Boston was named WNBA Rookie of the Year, but the Fever again missed the postseason.

Phoenix was a combined 24-52 the past two seasons and had 276 chances to win the top pick. Los Angeles (30-46) had the third-most chances with 178, and Seattle (33-43) had 104.

In the drawing, balls were numbered 1-14 and placed in a lottery machine and mixed. Four balls were drawn to determine a four-digit combination assigned to a team. The four balls were then placed back into the machine and the process was repeated to determine the second pick.

The order of selection for the rest of the first round, as well as the second and third rounds, is determined by inverse order of the teams’ regular-season records from 2023 only. That order: 5. Dallas Wings; 6. Washington Mystics; 7. Minnesota Lynx; 8. Atlanta Dream; 9. Dallas; 10. Connecticut Sun; 11. New York Liberty; 12. Los Angeles.

Clark on Wednesday became the 15th player in NCAA Division I history to hit the 3,000-point mark. She could become the sixth guard in the past eight drafts to be picked No. 1, going back to the Las Vegas Aces’ Kelsey Plum (2017).

Clark is chasing Plum’s NCAA career scoring record.

The Sparks have missed the playoffs the past three seasons but have a chance to get an impact player at No. 2.

“Our basketball staff is already hard at work evaluating and preparing for what will be a very special draft day, with two first-round picks,” Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said. “Today marks a huge step for our franchise as we continue to build the LA Sparks back towards contention.”

The Sparks are three-time WNBA champions, as are the Mercury. Phoenix had the league’s worst record in 2023 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

“This is a deep draft class and having the third pick will give us multiple options to add talent to our team,” Mercury general manager Nick U’Ren said.

This past season, the four-time WNBA champion Storm dealt with the retirement of Sue Bird and the loss of Breanna Stewart to free agency. With star Jewell Loyd re-signed for the next two seasons and some young talent, Seattle hopes the draft can provide help.

“This will be a critical piece of the future of our team,” Storm GM Talisa Rhea said. “As we continue our offseason, ignited by Jewell’s commitment to stay in Seattle, we know this draft pick, coupled with our strategy in free agency, will be essential to building a roster ready to compete in the upcoming season.”

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