2024 WNBA Draft: Sparks among the night's three biggest winners after adding Cameron Brink, Rickea Jackson

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The 2024 WNBA Draft is in the books and there are no major surprises to report. As expected, Caitlin Clark went No. 1 overall to the Indiana Fever, and the lottery was rounded out by the Los Angeles Sparks taking Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson at Nos. 2 and 4, and the Chicago Sky adding Kamilla Cardoso at No. 3. 

Now that all the names have been called and the action has settled down, let’s take a look at the three biggest winners from Monday night. 

Winner No. 1: Indiana Fever

This one is obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The Fever got to add Caitlin Clark to their team, which makes them the biggest winner from this draft. Clark is arguably the best perimeter prospect to ever enter the league and is a franchise-changing talent on and off the floor. 

While Clark would have been the choice at No. 1 no matter what, the fact that the Fever needed a lead guard only makes it more perfect. Clark’s outside shooting is her most well-known trait, and the space she creates will do wonders for the Fever. Her incredible playmaking however, is what will truly make this roster click. Kelsey Mitchell can move off the ball, NaLyssa Smith is going to feast in transition and Aliyah Boston has an elite pick-and-roll partner. 

The Fever haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, which is the longest drought in franchise history and the longest active drought in the league. Whether they end it this season remains to be seen, but there’s no question their days at the bottom of the standings are over. With Clark and Boston leading the way, the Fever have the brightest long-term future in the league. 

Off the court, Clark is already making a major impact. Over 17,000 fans packed Gainsbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Monday night for a watch party, and tickets to see the Fever play — both at home and on the road — are flying fast. We have never seen a player, and certainly not a rookie, with Clark’s marketing potential. She will totally transform the Fever’s business operations. 

Later in the night, the Fever added to their roster with Ohio State guard Celeste Taylor at No. 15 and Florida guard Leilani Correa at No. 27. 

Taylor, in particular, has a real chance to make the roster because of her stellar perimeter defense, which is exactly what the Fever need. She won ACC and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons and can be a real boost to their efforts on that side of the ball after they finished 11th in defensive rating (106.3) last season. 

Winner No. 2: Los Angeles Sparks

The lottery unfolded perfectly for the Sparks, who had picks Nos. 2 and 4 in the lottery. They would have been a winner no matter what, but are even more of one after they were able to get Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson — the best center and the best wing in the class. 

Because two of the three best prospects after Clark were centers, there was some talk leading up to the draft about whether the Sparks should actually take Jackson No. 2 and then whichever big was left at No. 4. That would have meant potentially missing out on Brink, however, who was widely regarded as the best player besides Clark. The Sparks agreed, as they took Brink second, and then were able to get Jackson at No. 4 anyway. 

Brink was named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year this season after leading the nation in blocks and has a unique combination of size, length and mobility. She is an elite rim protector and should be an impactful player on that side of the ball from Day 1. If all goes to plan, she will follow in Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike’s footsteps as the next great Sparks big. 

Jackson, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-2 wing with pro-ready size and athleticism. She was a terrific scorer in college for Tennessee who can create her own shot whenever she wants, and showed during a scrimmage against Team USA back in November that she can hold her own with some of the league’s best. 

The Sparks’ rebuild is off to a great start with two potential cornerstones, and it certainly didn’t hurt that later in the night they scored a potential steal with McKenzie Forbes at No. 28. She was an All-Pac-12 performer for USC this season during their run to the Elite Eight and can really shoot the ball. 

Winner No. 3: Connecticut Sun

The Sun only had one pick in the first round and their rotation is pretty much set heading into the season, so it was difficult to assess what they might do with that selection. They decided to look toward the future with a draft-and-stash choice: French guard Leila Lacan. 

Lacan is arguably the best guard prospect in this class outside of Clark and has an extremely high ceiling. The 5-foot-11 guard was a breakout star at the U19 World Cup last year, where she helped France win a bronze medal, and is already a productive player in the country’s domestic league. She is an incredible athlete who gets downhill to create for herself and others, using her physical advantages well on the other side of the ball, too. 

There’s no doubt that Lacan can play, but when, and for how long, she’ll do so in the WNBA remains to be seen. The French basketball federation is less amenable to the WNBA’s schedule and rules than most countries, which is why she fell to No. 10. At that point in the draft, though, the possibility that she never spends significant time in the States was well worth the risk. 

Furthermore, the Sun used their second and third-round picks wisely by adding Taiyanna Jackson at No. 19, Helena Pueyo at No. 22 and Abbey Hsu at No. 34. They don’t have the roster or salary cap space for all of them to make the roster, but they’ll get a look at three talented players with completely different skillsets who could help their team. Jackson is a defensive-minded center with great length, Pueyo is a strong wing defender with a solid shot and Hsu is an elite 3-point shooter. 

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