Fever

Fever Looking to Find Themselves in 2022

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Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever organization might literally have the “fever”. No! Not the sick kind- we’re talking more like dumpster fire fever! There’s no other way around it.

Out of Sorts

Since Catchings retired from the hardwood after the 2016 season, the team has had five straight losing seasons. Back in November of 2019, she was promoted to General Manager of the Fever and her last two seasons commanding the ship have been a catastrophic disaster.

Just last month, Catchings made the decision to released the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, Kysre Gondrezick. The former West Virginia Mountaineer standout averaged 19.5 points per game and 4.5 assists per game as a senior. During her rookie campaign she averaged just 1.9 points through 19 games before ultimately deciding to step away to focus on her mental health.

The news sent shockwaves throughout the league. This marks the second consecutive season in which the Fever have given up on young talent early. Lauren Cox, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft, was waived after just two seasons.

Someone might want to tell Catchings this isn’t the NFL. That disastrous trend where head coaches and players get cut after one or two seasons, just because talent isn’t developing fast enough at the pace they want it to. Doesn’t have to apply here.

Draft your talent, develop that talent and watch for hopeful yet gainful results. Failing to hit on two back-to-back top five draft prospects will stall any progress to a legitimate rebuild. Catchings has to be better. Sure players have to shows signs of an uphill improvement, but the GM must show confidence in the team they are building.

A Chance at Redemption

Catchings, is tasked with trying to fix a roster that needs tons of help. Some of that blame over the years goes to her. Where they go from here after the 2022 draft is key. Luckily for her, she has a chance to redeem herself with this year’s draft picks.

Indiana has the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft. The Fever also own the No. 10 overall pick obtained from a previous trade with Minnesota. With two top-10 picks this year, Indiana will have the tools they need to turn this franchise around.

Releasing Gondrezick means that Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard, and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith, are likely at play to be Indiana Fever No. 2 overall selection. Both have the size at 6’2 and the skill-set to put the ball on the floor and get a bucket. Given the make-up of the current roster Smith makes the most sense at No. 2.

Smith is a double digit scoring machine who loves to play off the contact. She is also an exceptional help defender she intercept the passing lanes as good as anyone the country. The Baylor product is the pick that could give this team an identity, which they have lacked under Catchings.

It’s a crucial moment in the rebuild for Catchings and the Fever. Hopefully, they catch the right amount “fever” that doesn’t scream dumpster fire, but instead, one filled with buzz and excitement.

About A'Kiem Gardner

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