Caitlin Clark shall be ‘spine of a franchise’: Nameless WNBA GMs scout guard prospects

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Caitlin Clark will headline the 2024 WNBA Draft, however she is much from the one influence guard who will make her approach into the league. Because the skilled recreation modernizes, franchises are on the lookout for extra playmakers on the perimeter in an effort to enhance the tempo and spacing of their offenses. Clark is essentially the most prolific and recognizable guard on this group, and she or he is joined by a deep class — together with a number of worldwide prospects — of shooters, pure factors and combo guards who’re desperate to make their influence on the subsequent degree.

The draft is lower than three weeks away, going down April 15 in Brooklyn, N.Y., simply eight days after the nationwide championship. In anticipation of the occasion, eight WNBA basic managers shared their candid opinions in regards to the upcoming draft class with The Athletic earlier than the NCAA Event. They had been granted anonymity to permit them to talk overtly. Thursday, we’ll run one other installment that features their unvarnished takes on frontcourt gamers reminiscent of Cameron Brink, Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese.

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WNBA Mock Draft: The place will Angel Reese land? Who shall be picked after Caitlin Clark?

After the event, we’ll launch our remaining mock draft and a GM scout of the potential picks within the 2025 WNBA Draft.

Gamers are listed in alphabetical order.

18.8 factors per recreation (ppg), 6.8 assists per recreation (apg), 33.5 3-pt subject objective proportion (3-pt fg%), 85.9 free-throw proportion (ft%)

• “I believe most individuals shall be keen to tackle Amoore as a result of she has a transparent place of a one. Worst-case state of affairs, they are able to flip her right into a backup one, and with the ability to cement that place isn’t something small on this league. A backup one who can stretch the ground is a pleasant piece so as to add to your workforce. She stands out as the most secure decide of all of (Jacy Sheldon, Jaylyn Sherrod and Hailey Van Lith).”

• “Amoore’s query is measurement. The query is can she do a number of the identical issues offensively in school that she would want to do within the professionals? As a result of size bothers her on a few of her pick-and-rolls. I believe she is aware of how one can run a workforce extraordinarily effectively.”

• “She’s acquired that capability that I believe the highest-level level guards have, the place they know not simply who wants the ball, it’s how one can manipulate the protection to get them the ball of their finest conditions to achieve success, and one of the best timing.”

Isobel Borlase | 5-11 guard | Adelaide Lightning (WNBL, Australia)

15.6 ppg, 4.7 rebounds per recreation (rpg), 2.5 apg, 1.8 steals per recreation (spg)

• “Borlase has a recreation that’s fitted to Australia. I don’t know if it interprets to our recreation.”

• “I believe she does a extremely good job creating for herself. She will rating in some ways in which present that she has what I name the worldwide maturity. You may inform that she’s been taking part in skilled basketball. … From what I’ve seen, I believe that she may simply be within the first spherical.”

Caitlin Clark | 6-0 guard | Iowa

31.8 ppg, 8.8 apg, 7.3 rpg, 37.9 3-pt fg%

• “I believe the identical as the remainder of my colleagues: A generational expertise that may be the spine of a franchise. A transparent No. 1 decide.”

• “Phenomenal participant. Most likely probably the most offensively prepared guards coming into the draft we’ve seen in fairly a while.”

• “I believe the place she’s gonna be most useful for her workforce, which everyone knows which workforce that shall be, is her capability to cross and unfold the ball and unfold the like to some unimaginable gamers on her workforce. I believe she’s going to wrestle extra offensively simply due to the energy of the guards that shall be defending her, and the velocity of these guards is one thing that she’s not used to seeing in school. However I believe the place she’ll make the most important influence is her capability to cross.”

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What makes Caitlin Clark one of the best shooter in school basketball? The physics behind her shot

Leila Lacan | 5-11 guard | Angers (France)

11.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.1 apg, 3.3 spg

• “Undecided about her velocity, quickness, toughness at this degree, however I believe she’s in all probability first spherical.”

• “I actually like Leila’s measurement. She has a reasonably full package deal. I believe she’s actually good at pick-and-roll. I believe her imaginative and prescient is basically good, however she will be able to additionally create for herself. She’s a gorgeous prospect. It’s just a bit tough whenever you don’t fairly learn about abroad obligations and the nationwide workforce and all of these sorts of issues.”

Carla Leite | 5-9 guard | Tarbes (France)

15.9 ppg, 5.8 apg, 1.4 spg, 87.4 ft%

• “Simply 19 years previous however demonstrates court docket consciousness to develop into an elite skilled level guard. Super capability to get to the rim, nice change of tempo, nice capability with the ball in her fingers, sees the ground exceptionally effectively. First rate measurement, will get to the road lots for a PG and converts a excessive proportion of free throws. Must proceed to enhance 3-point taking pictures.”

14.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.0 apg, 89.2 ft%

• “She’s a combo guard. I believe she’s extra two-one than one-two. She’s proven she’s good at lots of issues. Can shoot the three, midrange? She will get to the rim. Bodily defender. However I’d say of these three, I’d in all probability give the slight edge to Amoore, after which (Jacy) Sheldon proper behind her.”

• “Charisma is only a regular, nice chief, excessive basketball IQ, keen to do no matter it takes for the workforce to achieve success. … I believe her midrange recreation is among the finest within the league. Nice on the pull-up within the midrange. Must constantly shoot 3s, however an incredible defender.”

• “Charisma has labored actually exhausting on her shot, and there was lots of development in that within the first two-thirds of the season. She struggled on it this again third. She’s gonna want to seek out some consistency. I believe she’s gonna should take the Jackie Younger development step in her shot. She has a pleasant pull-up, a very nice pull-up, like a second-layer feed off a ball-screen motion. She really can elevate and time her launch rather well to a contest. That 3-point capability has to develop into actually constant the way in which Jackie grew hers.”

Jacy Sheldon | 5-10 guard | Ohio State

17.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 1.9 spg, 37.3 3-pt fg%

• “The ceiling could also be larger than Amoore, however there’s additionally an opportunity the physicality of our league could also be an excessive amount of for her.”

• “Super athlete. My concern for her is the physicality of the sport. Ohio State is a really bodily workforce, however whenever you have a look at her physique body, I fear a bit bit about her capability to deal with the physicality on it. However nice imaginative and prescient, passer, shooter.”

• “May she develop a little bit of an Allie Quigley sort of recreation? She has a fast launch. She performs in an up-tempo system rather well. I believe she reveals nice IQ within the half court docket off the ball, on the ball. I do discover her to be an elite communicator. Her capability to vacillate from the one via three positions so easily is particular.”

• “She has nice discretion in choosing her pictures, after which she will be able to actually get her complete workforce concerned. And I believe they go as she goes. Clearly, probably the most impactful elements of her recreation is the defensive finish. She’s tremendous athletic, and she or he simply has nice recognition of when she ought to go for a dangerous factor of their press particularly, however she’s a extremely disciplined defender, and I believe that that’s gonna be her largest influence on the subsequent degree, a minimum of within the speedy.”

Jaylyn Sherrod | 5-7 guard | Colorado

12.9 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.2 spg, 49.8 2-pt fg%

• “Super defender. She catches my consideration each time I watch them together with her toughness on protection, her capability to intimidate whoever she’s guarding. Performs exhausting. She appears to be actually sensible, and naturally, she’s added some offensive talent to her recreation. I like her toughness.”

• “She’s simply not a professional shooter proper now. She could also be a type of ones that should go abroad and work on her offensive recreation and get a constant bounce shot, as a result of these days you may’t be a guard in our league and never be a great shooter. She will assault the basket and do all that, however individuals be taught to cheat off of you in the event you can’t shoot.”

Hailey Van Lith | 5-7 guard | LSU

11.8 ppg, 3.6 apg, 35.5 3-pt fg%, 82.7 ft%

• “Good exterior shooter, respectable at attending to the rim, however midrange recreation is a query. Performs exhausting — scrappy, competitor, love the hearth. Jogs my memory a bit little bit of Dana Evans. Most likely a extra pure two than a one, however her measurement would require her to principally play on the one. Nonetheless, questions on whether or not she could be as efficient as a one.”

• “She hasn’t shot the ball like individuals thought she would. I don’t know if it’s good or unhealthy for her that she went to LSU and was compelled to play level guard. However she’s needed to work on some ballhandling and a few passing expertise due to what their workforce wanted.”

(Photographs of Charisma Osborne, Caitlin Clark and Hailey Van Lith: G Fiume, Harry How and Ethan Miller / Getty Photos)



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