All The Obstacles Caitlin Clark Is Set To Face In The WNBA

Caitlin Clark is one of the biggest names to get drafted into the WNBA and despite her superstar success on the University of Iowa's team, going pro will result in some challenges. Unsurprisingly, Clark was the number one pick by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 draft in April, per the Associated Press. "I dreamed of this moment since I was in second grade, and it's taken a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, but more than anything, just trying to soak it in," Clark stated. The basketball player added, "Obviously going to an organization that has, in my eyes, one of the best post players in the entire world. My point guard eyes just light up at that. And obviously, Aliyah [Boston] has been one of my teammates before. I'm excited. I can't wait."

With May 14 being the Fever's first game of the season against the Connecticut Sun, all eyes are on Clark. Sports analyzers are already predicting the outcome of her WNBA debut, and as shared on Gil's Arena, former WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes stated, "Will Caitlin Clark be a good pro? Absolutely. Will Caitlin Clark come into the WNBA and do what she's doing right now immediately? Absolutely not." Many believe that being a rookie is one of the hurdles she will face in the big leagues and Clark will definitely have a lot to prove this season.

Caitlin Clark will be going up against more experienced players

Caitlin Clark had the option of staying with the Hawkeyes at the University of Iowa for one more season, as the NCAA allowed students from 2020 and 2021 an extra year because of COVID-19. However, Clark opted to head into the WNBA, despite her disappointing salary, which will pit her against more seasoned players. "The defenders in the W are a lot older, they're experienced and they've been defending superstars for years; they'll know exactly what to do against her," former Hawkeyes team member Megan Gustafson told USA Today. "Rookies coming in from being collegiate superstars, they have a target on their back. The first thing vets want to do is make them look bad," the Las Vegas Aces player added.

A WNBA coach noted that while Clark went up against good players in college basketball, they don't compare to pros like Breanna Stewart and A'ja Wilson, per ESPN. "She plays at a great pace, but you still may see teams try to speed her up with the ball and try to push her toward your rim protector," an unnamed coach stated. Another coach shared, "She will be put in pick-and-roll situations where teams look to attack her off the bounce. On transition, she will have to work hard to stay in front of quicker, more experienced guards." Being a rookie doesn't just mean Clark has less experience, but her younger age also puts her at a disadvantage when it comes to her size.

Caitlin Clark will face WNBA players who are bulkier than her

When it comes to Caitlin Clark's debut season in the WNBA, she could get humbled, as size will matter. ESPN's Andraya Carter pointed out that the female basketball players are all grown adults who are bigger and stronger. "The hits are going to be a little bit harder, the checks are going to be harder. The defense is going to be more physical, and the players will be faster," she stated, per The Guardian. Clark, who stands at 6 feet tall has her height to her advantage, but her thin frame puts her at a disadvantage against more muscular women.

Ahead of the 2024 preseason games, Clark admitted to the press in a YouTube clip shared by sports writer Scott Agness that the physical aspect of pro basketball is going to be one of the hardest things to adjust to. "You know, the people I'm going to be playing in this league are like full-grown, very strong women and you know, you're going to get hit, you're going to get bumped." She went on to say, "People are going to defend you hard when you're driving the ball at the court and I think just getting used to that physicality of the game will probably be one of the biggest things for myself to overcome." The basketball star then admitted, "I'll have to get stronger obviously."