Chat Transcript: Fever GM Kelly Krauskopf
Plus, she and the Fever have moved up three spots in the first round of next week's WNBA Draft. (Indiana drafts #9 in the first round, with four picks overall.)
Krauskopf, who has guided the Fever franchise through each of its first six seasons, has added three new starters and six new acquisitions to the Fever lineup. Key among them was the free agent signing of Tamika Whitmore and a trade with Phoenix, for Anna DeForge. Following a franchise-best 21-13 record in 2005 and a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, Krauskopf left no stone unturned this winter while vying to advance to the WNBA Finals, despite heavy losses.
Krauskopf has been with the WNBA since its inception in 1997, then a part of the league's front office. Now, with Brian Winters returning as Indiana's head coach for a third season, she and the Fever are poised to advance with its new-look lineup.
Kelly dropped by on Thursday for a live chat with fans. Check out what she had to say about the draft, this year's team and much more.
nina (Illinois): Would you consider any sort of trade to move up in the draft or are you comfortable at 9?
Kelly Krauskopf: Anytime we feel we can make a move to upgrade our team, we are open to that. We're gonna keep our options open up until it's our turn to make a pick. You really never know.
John (Indy): Where will you be on draft day?
Kelly Krauskopf: We will be returning from Boston to Indianapolis to get back to our draft room here at Conseco Fieldhouse. We'll be checking video and making phone calls up until we make our selections. If you want to send coffee, John, that's fine with us! (Laughing) Ha-ha.
GoTerps: Hi Kelly, I'm so happy you signed K.B. Sharp for the upcoming season, can you talk about the type of impact you think she's going to have on the team?
Kelly Krauskopf: We're excited about KB as well. We watched her in New York and always felt she had a bright future in the WNBA. We like her size and speed and quickness and her defensive skills. Also, she is a true point guard with a high basketball IQ who has been playing in Europe, working on her game. We think she can be a good player at the this level.
Matt (Sandusky, OH): How do you plan to fill the giant void in the post due to the retirement of Natalie Williams, the bid of Kelly Schumacher for free agency, and the loss of Jurgita Streimikyte to the Lithuanian national team?
Kelly Krauskopf: We were aggressive in free agency, solidfying our front court. We signed Olympia Scott, a center who won a championship with Sacramento last year. She played with us a few years ago, and we like what she can do, her defense and rebounding and her ability to score aroudn the basket. We also have Ebony Hoffman, who was Natalie's understudy, if you will, last year and we like her game. She's been working hard in Italy. We also have Tamika Whitmore. So we like our situation with our 4s and 5s.
Olaf (Hamburg): Linda Fröhlich has a lot of versatility for a post player like her country mate Dirk Nowitzki . In what areas do you fill that she will most help the fever this year?
Kelly Krauskopf: You named it Olaf, it's all about versatility. She is another post-player who can score in a variety of ways, with her back to the basket and she can shoot the three. She also is a tremendous rebounder with great passing skills. We feel Frohlich, along with Whitmore, Hoffman, Olympia Scott....and Tamika Catchings, the best rebounder on our team...will get us lots of rebounds. So we're excited about getting Linda here.
Terre Haute: There are 4,000 fans over here in Terre Haute that would love to see Melanie Boeglin on the Fever. What are the chances of that happening?
Kelly Krauskopf: Melanie will get drafted, I'm not sure if by us, as I'm pretty secure with our guard position. We have K.B., Coretta Brown, and Yolanda Paige in that spot. But there is an opportunity for Melanie in this league, I think and I hope she makes it in our league.
Jim (New Jersey): How do you see Tully helping the team this year. What's her role?
Kelly Krauskopf: Tully returns as our floor leader. She solidified our guard play last year, in her first year here. She was our floor general. She is also a very tough defender. Tully and Tamika set the tone for us defensively and made us a defensive team. She is also three-point threat and a tremendous personality on our team. She made her impact known with our team and with the Fever fans right away and we really feed off that. You just gravitate to Tully, she has a magnetic personality.
Nathan (Indy): What makes Anna DeForge any better than Kelly Miller? Kelly is so quick, and can play two positions!
Kelly Krauskopf: They're both excellent players, but we felt the size we faced at the 2, with Deanna Nolan and Katie Douglas and other big 2s, we felt Anna was a big addition for us. She can also play point guard too. She can actually play three positions, the 1, 2 and 3. Also she's an outside threat to score in addition to driving to the basket. We think she can be a versatile position player for us and a nice scoring threat.
John Schubert (Indpls): After so many changes to last year's roster are there any specific needs for the Team that can be addressed with the three draft picks this year? Or, with the 9th pick do you select the best overall athlete available?
Kelly Krauskopf: We do feel we are about two-deep at every position going into the draft. So, looking at our position at 9, we are looking at the best available player ....the best athlete....perhaps even a future player we can have patience with developing. Also, we are looking for good athletes. We might not have a specific hole to fill, but we are always looking to the future.
Hill (Indiana): what exactly happens on draft day from your point of view? what do you do all day?
Kelly Krauskopf: Wow. In our war room we have a board with lots of different scenarios for how we think things may go. I and the coaches get together and work on being ready and available on the phone during the draft or before the draft..or even after...for teams with potential deals for draft picks or players. We talk through the scenarios. And as you get through the first round, you're then focused on the next two rounds. It's a busy, exciting day.
Kelly Krauskopf: Thanks to everyone for chatting and for supporting the WNBA. We look forward to the 06 season and getting the Fever into the WNBA Finals.