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Indiana Fever draft needs season preview: A low-talent roster seeks best players available

Indiana has fallen far from their WNBA Championship ways, and needs an injection of youth and talent to restart the franchise.

Candice Dupree of the Indiana Fever smiles during the game against the Connecticut Sun on September 8, 2019 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Indiana Fever play in the best building in the WNBA, Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University. It’s a magical place, but what hasn’t been magical is the play of the professional women’s team on the court.

They haven’t been over .500 since 2015, and are 28-74 the last three seasons. There isn’t an elite star on their roster, but it’s possible they find one picking at No. 3 in this draft. And they’ve added some interesting European pieces to try and up the competitiveness immediately.

WNBA title odds: 60/1 (DraftKings Sportsbook projected odds)

Offseason moves

The Fever bring back their top six players from last season, but when you were 10-24 is that a good thing? Kelsey Mitchell, Erica Wheeler and Candice Dupree are nice players, but they aren’t winning you championships, but for this Indiana team they’re pressed into major roles right now.

The addition of Bernadett Hatar, a 6’10 center from Hungary and teammate of the Fever’s Candice Dupree in Europe, gives them an interesting piece. Julie Allemande decided to come to the USA after playing for Tony Parker’s Lyon club in France, as she was originally picked by the Fever four years ago.

Additions

Bernadett Határ (free agency)
Julie Allemande (2016 draftee now signed)

Departures

2020 WNBA Draft

Picks

1st round, #3 overall
2nd round, #14 overall
3rd round, #28 overall

Needs

The first pick for Indiana will be hard to make a mistake: if Satou Sabally of Oregon is there, take her. If not, take Lauren Cox from Baylor. Both can be franchise players, and either one will get plenty of playing time without any elite talent on the team. But if there’s a way, either through cap space or a trade to exchange five dimes for half a dollar, the superstar-lacking Fever should look at it right away. It’s very tough to win in the WNBA without elite talent, and there just isn’t anyone here that can win ball games right now.

Developing Sabally or Cox into that player should be the goal for this season, as both certainly have the talent and winning pedigree. Otherwise taking the best player available in this draft is probably the key to success.