17-17 (lost in 1st round to Mercury)
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, Erica Wheeler and Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga
Selected Erica McCall (No. 17), Feyonda Fitzgerald (No. 20), Ronni Williams (No. 22) and Adrienne Motley (No. 32) in the 2017 WNBA Draft
New Era Begins
For the first time since 2002, the Fever will open a season without Tamika Catchings as its centerpiece. The future Hall of Famer has moved to a front office position with the organization, so her presence will still be felt, but No. 24 will no longer suit up on a nightly basis and leave everything out on the floor. While it will be near impossible for one player to replace Catchings’ production and leadership, Indiana is fortunate to have several players that have learned from Catchings throughout their careers and can step into larger roles this season.
New Voice On The Sidelines
Not only did the Fever lose their most important voice among their peers in Catchings, they also enter the 2017 season with a new coach as Pokey Chatman assumes the reigns after Stephanie White left the team after two seasons. Chatman spent the last six seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Sky, where she compiled a 106-98 record, including a 39-29 mark in the last two seasons. The Sky made the playoffs in Chatman’s final four seasons, including a run to the 2014 WNBA Finals.
With the departure of Catchings, the Fever had a gaping hole to fill on their frontline and they executed an offseason trade to acquire five-time All-Star Candice Dupree to add to their core group. Dupree is an 11-year veteran that has averaged 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in her career and won the 2014 title over Chatman’s Sky as a member of the Phoenix Mercury. Dupree should help the Fever both on the floor and provide a veteran presence in the locker room as well.
Maintaining The Playoff Streak
Indiana enters the 2017 season having made the playoffs for 12 straight seasons – the longest streak in WNBA history. The last time the Fever failed to make the playoffs was in 2004, when starting point guard Briann January (an eight-year WNBA veteran) was still in high school. That run has spanned three coaches – Brian Winters, Lin Dunn and Stephanie White – but always included Tamika Catchings. Can Chatman and the new-look Fever keep that run going another season?
Younger Players Stepping Up
While the Fever have veterans like January, Dupree, Marissa Coleman and Erlana Larkins to lean on, they also have some intriguing young players to watch as they grow into larger roles on the team this season. It starts with last year’s first round pick Tiffany Mitchell, who averaged 8.6 points in 20 minutes per game on her way to earning All-Rookie Team honors in 2016. Although the Fever did not own a first round pick in this year’s draft, they did have a trio of picks in the middle of the second round, led by No. 17 pick Erica McCall of Stanford. The 6-3 forward has the ability to play in the post, facing the basket and even shoot the three. She should learn plenty from Dupree as she begins her WNBA career.