WNBA legend Sue Bird says Iowa's Caitlin Clark will have 'success early' in league. Here's why

Four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird believes Caitlin Clark's game will translate well into the WNBA.

"I do think she has a chance at having a lot of success early," Bird said during an appearance on "The Sports Media Podcast" with Richard Deitsch, which airs in full on Thursday.

Bird cites the Iowa star's range as the key weapon to her success. (Clark did break the women's all-time NCAA scoring record last week on a 35-foot logo shot, after all.) "I think a lot of it comes down to her long-distance shooting. That is her separator. You’re not really used to guarding people out there," Bird explained.

WATCH: Caitlin Clark’s historic 3-point logo shot that broke the women's NCAA scoring record

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WNBA legend Sue Bird.
WNBA legend Sue Bird.

Bird said it's "realistic" for Clark to be an All-Star her first year in the league "if she plays up to her potential."

“That’s not a knock on anyone in the WNBA. It’s going to be hard, but I think she can do it," said Bird, who retired from the WNBA in 2022 after 22 seasons. "You do have to see what happens when they get there. You are now playing against adults and this is their career. But I do think she has a chance at having a lot of success early."

There has been much speculation about whether Clark will return to Iowa next season. The 22-year-old guard has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic or she can declare for the 2024 WNBA Draft, where Clark would be a surefire No. 1 pick for the Indiana Fever. Bird said Indiana has “a really good roster for her."

“She’s going to be teaming up right out the gate with two really good post players (Aliyah Boston and NaLyssa Smith) that are going to complement her,” Bird said. “There is precedent for people coming out of college and coming in and playing amazing, players such as Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi and others. But she still has to come in and do it and there’ll be some growing pains just like all those players I just listed had.”

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Whether she chooses to stay at Iowa or move to the WNBA, all eyes will be on Clark. Bird attributed the limelight around Clark to her long-range game and the evolution of women's sports, particularly basketball.

“Let’s start with her long-distance shooting,” Bird said. “The one thing that cancels out people’s obsession with dunking as it relates to the comparison between men’s and women’s basketball is deep shooting. If we want to call it the logo 3, let’s call it that. For whatever reason, men in particular, they don’t hate on it. There’s nothing to hate on because it is what it is. So I think that part of her game lends to people cheering for it. I think it’s also captivating, right? The way that she plays with the long-distance shooting, it’s captivating. Everybody’s interested in it. So that’s one part of it.”

Bird added: “I think the other part is that women’s basketball is having a moment and that moment needed somebody to team up with it. So Caitlin, based on just the year in which she was born and doing what she is doing in college right now, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this moment. There are other players right now in college basketball where you can feel excitement. JuJu Watkins is killing it at USC and could arguably end up being one of the best players ever. I’m not saying that loosely; it’s because of the way she is starting her career.”

Clark next plays on Thursday when No. 4 Iowa takes on No. 14 Indiana.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Caitlin Clark: Sue Bird says Iowa star will have WNBA 'success early'