Indiana Fever interim general manager Lin Dunn said earlier Friday that she would be watching the 2023 WNBA draft lottery later that night with a rabbit’s foot, fingers crossed and “some other charms that I can’t mention publicly.”
What Dunn did to get luck on her side worked: For the first time in franchise history, the Fever earned the No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2023 WNBA draft, as announced in the lottery Friday night before the series began. 1 South Carolina-No. 17 Maryland game.
The reigning national player of the year, Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, is the presumptive No. 1 pick and seen by many as a potential franchise mover.
Kuumea had the best chance (44.2%) of all teams to get the first pick. Lottery odds are based on the teams’ cumulative record from the last two regular seasons.
The Minnesota Lynx — a four-time WNBA champion who missed the playoffs in 2022 for the first time since 2010 — earned the No. 2 pick despite having just a 14.5% chance.
“We are excited to receive the second overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft,” said Lynx coach and director of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve. “This selection will undoubtedly be an important part of our future as we shape the next era of Lynx. basketball.”
The Atlanta Dream will pick third overall, followed by the Washington Mystics at No. 4. The rest of the first round is Chicago, New York, Indiana, Atlanta, Seattle, Connecticut, Dallas and Minnesota.
The Mystics made the postseason, but gained the right to trade their first-round pick for Los Angeles’ 2023 first-round pick, which the Dream acquired in an earlier trade.
“Last year we beat the lottery odds, but unfortunately not this year,” said Washington general manager and coach Mike Thibault. “But as a result of the trade, we’ve moved up four spots. draft. We’re getting an excellent player with the fourth pick, and I’m looking forward to improving our roster this offseason.”
Indiana franchise guard Kelsey Mitchell — a former No. 1 pick herself — was live at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut during the draft lottery representing the Fever.
Earlier in the day, the franchise introduced its new coach, Christie Sides, ushering in a new era for the storied organization after a long deficit. The Fever made the postseason every season from 2005 to 2016 and won the WNBA championship in 2012, but have not made the playoffs since the retirement of legend Tamika Catchings.
“This is a very strong draft,” Dunn said in a statement. “We’re getting a great player at No. 1.”
The Fever have five players drafted last year, including No. 2 overall pick NaLyssa Smith and Destanni Henderson, a point guard from Boston in South Carolina. The pair led the Gamecocks to the 2022 championship.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.