2024 WNBA Draft: A Watershed Moment for Women’s Basketball

Apr 04, 2024

A close-up of a basketball.

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April 15, 2024, could go down in history as the day that forever changed the WNBA and women’s basketball. The league has been on a roll in recent years, recording historic revenue, attendance and viewership figures. Judging by the depth and unprecedented public interest in the latest crop of prospects, the 2024 WNBA Draft may mark the turning point in the 28-year-old American women’s professional basketball league’s national popularity and profitability.

Who Gets First Pick in the WNBA Draft 2024?

The Indiana Fever owns the top pick in this year’s draft. The franchise had the worst record in the Eastern Conference, absorbing 27 losses in the previous 40-game regular season.

The West’s Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury had worse winning percentages — 27.5% and 22.5%, respectively — but didn’t get the luck of the draw. Both teams don’t have a pick in the first round, for Los Angeles and Chicago control theirs. The 2020 champion has to hear 11 draft pick announcements before getting its turn, while the 2021 runner-up has to sit out the first two rounds.

Meanwhile, the Fever’s 2024 first pick will be its eighth in the top four since 2018. Its best acquisition was South Carolina alum Aliyah Boston — the 2023 season’s Rookie of the Year. The three-time finalist is poised to call dibs on a needle mover who can finally change its fortunes.

The franchise has been a bottom-feeder in recent memory. Indiana has missed the playoffs since the 2016 season when it lost to Phoenix in the first round, signaling the end of the 2011 MVP Tamika Catchings’ illustrious career. The Indianapolis-based women’s club has been rebuilding in the past seven years, tallying an average winning percentage of 24.97% and ending as the cellar dweller three times.

A random hoop in Indiana.

The upcoming draft should inspire optimism in Fever fans because 2024 is unlike the previous years. If all turns out as expected, this small-market team in a hoops-crazy state will obtain the services of the potential next face of the WNBA.

WNBA Draft Order

Here’s the order of the first round of the WNBA’s 2024 Draft:

  1. Indiana Fever
  2. Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Chicago Sky
  4. Los Angeles Sparks
  5. Dallas Wings
  6. Washington Mystics
  7. Minnesota Lynx
  8. Chicago Sky
  9. Dallas Wings
  10. Connecticut Sun
  11. New York Liberty
  12. Atlanta Dream

The sequence of selection in the second round is as follows:

  1. Chicago Sky
  2. Seattle Storm
  3. Indiana Fever
  4. Las Vegas Aces
  5. New York Liberty
  6. Las Vegas Aces
  7. Connecticut Sun
  8. Atlanta Dream
  9. Washington Mystics
  10. Connecticut Sun
  11. New York Liberty
  12. Las Vegas Aces

The teams picking in the third round are:

  1. Phoenix Mercury
  2. Seattle Storm
  3. Indiana Fever
  4. Los Angeles Sparks
  5. Phoenix Mercury
  6. Washington Mystics 
  7. Minnesota Lynx
  8. Atlanta Dream
  9. Dallas Wings
  10. Connecticut Sun
  11. New York Liberty
  12. Las Vegas Aces

Trades have impacted a third of all these selections. The Chicago Sky has tremendous draft capital. The 2021 champion snagged the 3rd and 13th overall picks from Phoenix and the 8th from Atlanta via Los Angeles and traded away the 5th to the Dallas Wings, the 17th to the New York Liberty and the 29th to the Mercury — a fantastic exchange.

Moreover, the defending champ gets to draft four rookies, tying with Dallas with the most picks this year.

Is Caitlin Clark Going to the WNBA?

Caitlin Clark declared herself for the 2024 Draft on February 29, 2024, forgoing the COVID-19 eligibility extension to play for another NCAA season and ending her stellar four-year college basketball career at Iowa. Clark is easily one of the most sought-after WNBA Draft prospects ever.

A Wilson basketball with the NCAA logo.

Clark led Iowa to its first national final appearance in 2023. She is the NCAA Division 1 all-time scoring leader, male or female. The widely touted Hawkeye overtook Kansas star Lynette Woodard as the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women’s (AIAW) major-college scoring leader on February 28, 2024. Then, she surpassed NBA legend “Pistol Pete” Maravich’s 3,667 points — which stood for 54 years — four days later.

On April 1, 2024, the 22-year-old phenom exploded for 41 points and shot 45% beyond the arc in a revenge game against the reigning national champion LSU Tigers. This marvelous Elite Eight performance propelled the Hawkeyes into the Final Four for the second straight year and the third time overall. Her career points reached 3,900 after the March Madness game.

Aside from her scoring accolades, “Ponytail Pete” dished her 1,001st dime on February 11, 2024. This milestone made the West Des Moines native the first D1 women’s college basketball member of the 3,000-point and 1,000-assist club.

The Caitlin Clark Effect could bolster interest in the WNBA. The Gen Z markswoman has received tremendous media exposure during her historic NCAA stint. Competing against Stephen Curry — a transcendent offensive weapon — in a special 3-point contest during the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend was a huge feather in her cap.

Historically, NCAA fame doesn’t translate to WNBA interest. Only time will tell how many of the 12.6 million people who tuned in to the 2023 national championship game Clark would bring into the product.

Will Caitlin Clark Be the First Pick?

Various mock drafts have the Iowa senior as a lock at number one. The Indiana Fever won’t pass up on the chance to acquire a generational talent like Clark who could bag 10 scoring titles a la Michael Jordan. For all we know, the embattled franchise might have already stitched her #22 jersey.

"Caitlin Clark, Shay Ciezki" by timweight is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Resized and cropped
Caitlin Clark, Shay Ciezki” by timweight is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Resized

If ESPN’s WNBA Draft predictions prove prophetic, the first round will pan out this way:

  1. Caitlin Clark to the Indiana Fever
  2. Cameron Brink to the Los Angeles Sparks
  3. Rickea Jackson to the Chicago Sky
  4. Kamilla Cardoso to the Los Angeles Sparks
  5. Aaliyah Edwards to the Dallas Wings
  6. Nyadiew Puoch to the Washington Mystics
  7. Angel Reese to the Minnesota Lynx
  8. Alissa Pili to the Chicago Sky
  9. Georgia Amoore to the Dallas Wings
  10. Jacy Sheldon to the Connecticut Sun
  11. Charisma Osborne to the New York Liberty
  12. Elizabeth Kitley to the Atlanta Dream

Four-time NCAA D1 women’s basketball champion coach Kim Mulkey considers ESPN’s insinuation that Angel Reese — her superstar and the 2023 Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player — would be available for the 7th selection in the 2024 WNBA Draft insulting.

Are You Excited for the 2024 WNBA Draft?

The WNBA’s 2024 Draft is must-watch TV. If there’s a baller who can draw the masses toward the league, it’s Caitlin Clark. She has the skill, charisma and personality to usher in a new, promising era for women’s basketball.

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.