The WNBA and Caitlin Clark

During a brief attack of insomnia, I came across this Stephen Smith clip. Whether you agree with him or not, I think it’s undeniable that what he says, and the way he says it, is full of entertainment value.

The current fervor for women’s basketball in the US reminds me of the rise of support for women’s soccer a number of years ago. I am very happy to see it happening.

It wasn’t that long ago that a women’s game on a TV in a sports bar would elicit jeers.


The truth is this draft class was deep. It is to the WNBA what the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson draft class was to the NBA.


Leave it to Steven A to take 10 minutes to say what could have been said in 1. Dude loves to hear himself talk

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Steven A is right - “milk it!” Ride the buzz, she’s been a big part of how people care about womens basketball right now.

Ride the wave… because she’s like a female version of Jimmer.

In the title game, South Carolina showed Caitlin’s limitations. Focused, quick, adaptive, athletic defense can mitigate the threat she brings.

If the max pay in the WNBA is $250K a year, you don’t have to make a statement by giving her hard fouls or whatever. Just let the TV ratings edge up, you’ll get part of that.

When it gets serious, in the playoffs, she won’t be a story, anymore. But you can’t be a league of female hooligans. Nobody benefits from that.


When the Fever played L.A., the Sparks doubled her for almost the entire 94 feet, all game long. One commentator/analyst (I’ve forgotten his name) observed that her teammates still need to learn to play with Caitlin. They don’t handle the pick and roll correctly, or the basics of capitalizing on the 4-3 numbers advantage that results from a double-team.

Her team is dismal. Only won two games? Yikes. Maybe the WNBA is spread too thin. Or maybe the coach is terrible. They haven’t had a lot of time to figure it out, true.

As her Iowa team was proceeding in the NCAA tourney, her teammates would step up and become playmakers whenever Caitlin was doubled. That’s a fundamental, in hoops.

In the NBA, if a talented player is doubled, somebody should be able to make the D pay. If they don’t have shooters, the GM has failed and needs to find one out of Luxembourg, or whatever. (Granted, the men’s game has a ton of different levels… players and specialists can be found. Byron Wilson played for a decade in Latin America.)


Apropos of nothing, here is a butter sculpture of CC I saw last year at the Iowa State Fair

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I can’t believe it’s butter!


Feels like CC would have been good for buzz and PR for Olympics and is having a pretty good rookie season so far, but the team is pretty talented. Would she have been the Christian Laettner of the team? At least she has some USA experience at the younger levels.

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I was listening to a discussion about Clark from some former WNBA players. They all see she is going to be a great player. Most felt she needed to add bulk to better handle the physicality of the WNBA game.

The Women’s International game is pretty physical. If you look at the players who made the team, some are the same ones who are working over Clark right now.

Personally, she is a great kid with great skills who is getting the rookie treatment. Not everyone is Victor Wembanyama, Lebron, Kobe, Michael, Magic, or Larry. Her trajectory will be more like Karl Malone.

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Somewhere I saw some video of the parade for the team that won the WNBA championship. I think it was in New York City. There was no one watching, no crowd on the sidewalks. It was pretty stark. The league needs CC, who so far has caused their numbers to shoot up dramatically. She’s their Magic Johnson/Larry Bird.