2016 Record: 17-17 (lost in 1st round to Mercury, 89-78)
Key Offseason Moves:
Traded Lynetta Kizer and a 2017 1st-round draft pick, acquired Candice Dupree and a 2017 2nd-round draft pick
Re-Signed Erlana Larkins
Re-Signed Erica Wheeler
Re-Signed Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga
Last Year’s Draft Picks:
1st Round/9th Overall: Tiffany Mitchell
2nd Round/21st Overall: Brene Moseley
3rd Round/33rd Overall: Julie Allemand
This Year’s Draft Picks:
2nd Round/17th Overall
2nd Round/20th Overall
2nd Round/22nd Overall
3rd Round/32nd Overall
The Fever will start the year without Tamika Catchings for the first time since 2001. Catchings called it a career after the 2016 season, her 15th in Indiana. “Catch” walked away as one of the greatest to ever play the game. She is an 11-time All-Star, five-time Defensive Player of the Year, the league’s all-time leader in steals and rebounds, the 2011 WNBA MVP, and the 2012 Finals MVP. In short, the Fever will have to replace a legend, which is no short order.
Tiffany Mitchell will immediately step further into the spotlight, looking to build on a rookie campaign that saw her average 8.6 points per game and take home WNBA All-Rookie Team honors. Also, the addition of five-time All-Star Candice Dupree should help ease the transition period into the post-Catchings era.
The 2017 Draft is an intriguing one for the Fever, who hold zero first-round picks but have three in a span of six picks in the second round. This gives them flexibility to try and move into the first round with a draft-day deal or look for a steal in the second round. Names like Natasha Cloud, Sugar Rodgers, Emma Meesseman and Tiffany Hayes were all selected in the second round and developed into productive WNBA players.
No matter what direction Indiana chooses to go on Draft day, you can be sure the player or players it selects will have a defensive mindset. The Fever led the league in steals per game (8.8) last season, and their 15.6 forced turnovers per game were the second most in the league. Much of this can be attributed to the elite defensive talent of No. 24.
Without Catchings, however, this team will need an injection of youth on the defensive end of the court to continue its hard-nosed style of play. The second round is a perfect place to find a player hungry to prove herself, and there’s no better way to do that than defensively.