ESPN examines Indiana Fever’s future WNBA championship outlook

It may be extremely early into the WNBA season, but it would not be a hot take to state that things haven’t quite gone the Indiana Fever’s way this season. The first year of the Cailtin Clark-Aliyah Boston era of Fever hoops has started with a 1-6 record.

Despite the slow start to 2024, the Indiana Fever are still positioned greatly for future WNBA success.

As described by Michael Voepel for ESPN, history is on the Fever’s side.

The three previous WNBA franchises to get back-to-back No. 1 picks went on to win the WNBA championship within four years.

The Seattle Storm did it twice and the Las Vegas Aces have won each of the past two titles. The Aces, in fact, had three No. 1 picks in a row. – Voepel, ESPN.

In the sport of basketball, having a superstar is key. In a league such as the WNBA where there are only 12 teams, you need that upper echelon talent to take you over the hump.

Indiana Fever GM Linn Dunn knows full-well how much getting those top picks back to back can change the trajectory of a franchise. She was coach and general manager when Seattle drafted center Lauren Jackson in 2001 and guard Sue Bird in 2002.

Though she would resign before seeing the fruits of her success, she set the stage for a rejuvenation of Seattle basketball, the Storm winning the championship in 2004.

“It speeds up the process,” Dunn told ESPN about adding so much young talent in consecutive years. “Us getting a post and a point guard in Aliyah and Caitlin with those picks, like Jackson and Bird, they can be the focus of your team. Then you can build around them.

“We’re counting on those two based on who they are as people. Not just on the court, but the character of both. We’re also counting on the fact that we already have some pieces to go with them. They don’t have to carry as much burden early on like Bird and Jackson had to.”

The past few seasons have not been kind to Indiana, their last playoff appearance coming in 2016. The Fever have seen some missed with their lottery picks during that playoff drought, but that just further proves how valuable the first overall pick is in the WNBA.

Seriously, do yourself a favor and look up a list of every WNBA first overall pick. It is an absurd hit-rate, seeming more likely to become an MVP than to be a bust.

The book is still out on both Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark. It is far too early in this season, and in this entire rebuild process to make a declarative statement about them.

If you follow the history of the league, though, Indiana is on the right path. They may just need a year or two to show everybody.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire