Caitlin Clark will play right away and drive ticket sales. What about other WNBA draftees?

The WNBA draft is over, the draftees are headed to their new cities and everyone, seemingly, is paying attention to women’s basketball.

"Women's basketball is on an uproar,” said new Los Angeles Spark Rickea Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick. “Everybody is tuning in.”

Now the question is, who will actually play — and will they drive ticket sales?

Women’s basketball is more popular than ever at the collegiate level and the 28-year-old WNBA is hoping that popularity translates to the pros this summer. People who fell in love with Caitlin Clark over the past few years and were exposed to some of the game’s other top players will soon have an opportunity to watch these women as they begin the next phase of their careers.

But now it’s time for the reality check: there are very few roster spots in this league, which means some of these draftees will be cut before the season starts May 14.

Here’s who we’re keeping an eye on the next couple months to see what their impact will be.

They'll play, and they'll sell (a lot of) tickets

Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

There’s no question Clark has driven more interest in the WNBA than any other player in the history of the league. Just knowing she was about to be drafted by the Fever caused a frenzy in Indianapolis: According to StubHub, a secondary ticket seller, overall sales for Indiana tickets already have increased thirteen-fold compared to the 2023 season. This, of course, is similar to what Clark did to ticket sales during her Iowa career.

Adam Budelli, a StubHub spokesperson, said in an email that Clark’s impact on ticket demand is “undeniable.”

Clark will play plenty, too, and not just because people want to see her — her pass-first point guard mentality is perfect for a roster that features the 2023 WNBA rookie of the year, Aliyah Boston. Guard Kelsey Mitchell, whose speed makes her a nightmare to defend, will also benefit from Clark's transition skills.

Clark said Monday night her passing is the most overlooked part of her game, but she’s convinced it’s also the aspect that will translate immediately.

“I think the scoring and the long shots is what everybody falls in love with,” Clark said. “Then obviously going to an organization that has, in my eyes, one of the best post players in the entire world, my point guard eyes just light up at that.”

MORE: What to know for 2024 WNBA season: Debuts for Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, how to watch

Also helping drive ticket sales: The Fever’s second-round pick, Celeste Taylor, who finished her college career at Ohio State. Clark will bring in the majority of fans of course, but Midwesterners will be eager to see if Taylor can make the final roster, too.

Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese, Chicago Sky

The Sky, under first-year coach and WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon, are undergoing a rebuild after trading franchise star Kahleah Copper in the offseason. There are plenty of minutes — and rebounds — to be had, which means draftees Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese should play right away.

People will want to watch this dominant duo — Cardoso joked Monday night that “nobody’s gonna get more rebounds than us” — partially because they were SEC rivals in college, and things got heated more than once between them.

As for ticket sales, remember it wasn’t that long ago (2021) that the Sky sold out Game 3 at Wintrust Arena in the WNBA Finals. The support is there, and the community is hungry for the Sky to win again.

The Sky’s roster has a couple other veteran bigs in Brianna Turner, Elizabeth Williams and Isabelle Harrison. None of those three is dominant on the block the way Cardoso is, but each will push Reese when it comes to rebounding and offensive efficiency.

Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson, Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks also are going through a rebuild of sorts after losing eight-time All-Star Nneka Ogwumike in free agency and trading All-Defensive team guard Jordin Canada to Atlanta (LA got Aari McDonald in exchange). Once again, there are plenty of minutes to be had, and Brink and Jackson will get immediate time.

Brink is arguably the best two-way player in the 2024 class, an athletic, 6-foot-4 big who can score, stop others from scoring and consistently shoot from outside 15 feet.

"I’m so excited to play with Cam,” Jackson said Monday night. “I know if I get beat off the dribble, Cam is swatting into the second row.”

That's probably true, but Brink must learn how to play without fouling (it’ll help that she gets six fouls in the WNBA).

The Sparks have 18 players listed on their 2024 roster, which means tough cuts are coming. But no one else in that group is quite like Jackson, whose size (6-foot-2) will help her excel as a pro. Jackson could have been a top-five pick at the 2023 draft but opted to play a fifth year of college. Before the draft, new LA general manager Raegan Pebley said the Sparks’ lottery picks would be “foundational” pieces. The Sparks faithful are desperate for some star power and pieces to build around, and Brink and Jackson give them exactly that.

Playing in LA is a unique challenge. Yes, it’s a huge media market but there’s also a million other distractions and things for fans to do. Having WNBA players who have cross-cultural appeal — who take an interest in fashion, for example — is a huge plus. That’s another reason Brink and Jackson will help drive ticket sales and become instant fan favorites.

Aaliyah Edwards, Washington Mystics

The Mystics are also in the middle of, if not a rebuild, a retooling of their roster. In February, two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne, who has dealt with debilitating back pain the last few years, announced she was taking a break from basketball. Though Delle Donne is still listed on the Mystics 2024 roster, she is not expected to play this season.

That means Washington needs a mobile forward who can score. Edwards fits that description nicely, and should pair well with 6-foot-5 center Shakira Austin. Edwards said Monday after being drafted that she’s excited to “expand my game” and knows she might be asked to “play a different role (in the WNBA), but I’m open to it.”

“I see myself as a versatile player and impacting in any position that I'm asked to play in,” Edwards said. “Yeah, it's going to be a tough league, tough first year, but I'm pumped and I'm ready for the challenge.”

UConn has a habit of churning out pros, so it’s likely that Edwards will have a long career in the league. She already has pro experience, having played with Team Canada’s senior national team since 2019 (at the Tokyo Olympics, she was the youngest player on the roster). UConn grads always draw well — those fans are everywhere and it’s only a six-hour drive between Storrs, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. — so it’s not a stretch to think that Edwards will quickly become an integral piece of the Mystics rotation and the Washington community.

Will these players make it? You’ll have to wait a year and see

Liz Kitley, Las Vegas Aces

The three-time ACC player of the year got dealt a rotten hand at the end of her senior season when she tore her ACL in Virginia Tech’s regular-season finale. Liz Kitley, the No. 24 overall pick, will miss the 2024 WNBA season but be able to rehab at probably the best facilities in the league.

Will she make the Aces final roster once she’s healthy for the 2025 season? That will be a very tall task. The defending champs are loaded and Kitley’s game doesn’t really translate to the WNBA anyway because she’s a long, lanky forward who likes to shoot fadeaways. She has her work cut out for her.

Mackenzie Holmes, Seattle Storm

One of the most efficient post scorers in the country, Mackenzie Holmes will also miss the 2024 season due to scheduled knee surgery. The second pick of the third round, No. 26 overall, she’s expected to join the Storm for 2025 training camp. But even then, the odds are stacked against Holmes, who’s not a great athlete.

Don’t be surprised if these players stick around

Charisma Osborne, Phoenix Mercury

There’s no question it was tough for Charisma Osborne to swallow falling all the way to the third round. That was unexpected for the four-time All-Pac-12 selection. But she’s going to the perfect situation, because the Mercury need players on the low end of the pay scale, and Osborne’s athleticism and shooting ability make her a natural fit for the roster.

Dyaisha Fair, Las Vegas Aces

Again, the defending champs are loaded. The Aces don’t need anything, really. But Becky Hammon loves an undersized guard with an insatiable work ethic, and that’s what she got when she drafted Dyaisha Fair out of Syracuse with the No. 16 overall pick. Fair will learn more from Hammon than anyone else, and Hammon will know how to use her better than anyone else.

McKenzie Forbes, Los Angeles Sparks

Again, the Sparks have a big roster with 18 players headed into training camp. But don’t discount the value of a veteran guard like McKenzie Forbes, the No. 28 pick, who has a high basketball IQ, can quickly get familiar with a pro playbook, will work hard in practice and be a terrific teammate (this is partially how current Sparks guard Layshia Clarendon has hung around the league so long).

Follow Lindsay Schnell on social media @Lindsay_Schnell

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Caitlin Clark, WNBA draftees who will play now, drive ticket sales