The One Rule Caitlin Clark's Coach Gave Her For The WNBA Season

Caitlin Clark excelled under her Iowa Hawkeyes coach, Lisa Bluder, but there would be a transition to her game once she got to the WNBA. Going into her first season as a pro with the Indiana Fever, Clark spoke about adjusting to the pros. "Probably be a little bit of a learning curve," she said appearing on "Today" on April 15. During that interview, Clark was asked about shooting her trademark deep three-pointers in games. "Those are shots I practice and work on every single day," the WNBA's number one overall pick said. Clark's downtown bombs were a point of discussion for Fever coach Christie Sides. "I think she's used to some shots that she's taken in the last few years that are just those deep shots," Sides told the press on May 10. The coach also discussed a rule she implemented for the star rookie.

While Sides acknowledged Clark's talent, the Fever coach wanted the point guard to work on her shot selection. "She's gonna get open looks ... I gave her a rule the other day. She's got 0.5 seconds to make a decision," Sides told reporters. "She has a habit of hanging out and dancing ... It's these habits that we've gotta break," she added.

In the past, Clark had been called out by other coaches, including her dad, so this was nothing new for her, but some fans lashed out at Sides.

Fans edited the coach's Wikipedia page

When Caitlin Clark's ardent fanbase caught wind of Christie Sides being critical of the point guard's game, they went after the Indiana Fever coach. "This will get Sides fired. Caitlin must be allowed to play her game," one user claimed on X, formerly Twitter. "The over coaching starts! That is a characteristic of the WNBA!" another added. Several fans believed a coach questioning a star player's shot selection would not happen in the NBA. "@StephenCurry30 they let Steph do his thing, should be the same," an X user commented.

The criticism of Sides' coaching went further than just snarky jabs on social media. Fans went to the coach's Wikipedia page and added an unflattering bio. "The only coach that could possibly ruin what the [WNBA] is on track to accomplish by ruining Caitlin Clark's game," the page read (via BroBible).

Sides had brought up flaws in Clark's game before. Following a preseason contest where the coach had to sub the point out, Sides mentioned her conditioning. "I think she got to the point where she was just completely gassed," the coach told the press on May 3. "She just won't be able to last the way people are guarding her," Sides added. Clark herself admitted she was fatigued going into her first WNBA season. "I haven't slept much, which is maybe a good thing, maybe a bad thing," she said on "The Pat McAfee Show" on April 17. Clark had also faced criticism from fellow WNBA players before playing a game.

Caitlin Clark responds to Diana Taurasi's criticisms

Diana Taurasi, a veteran WNBA pro, had hinted that Caitlin Clark could be humbled once she started playing in the league. "There's levels to this thing and that's just life," Taurasi said on SportsCenter on April 6 when discussing the incoming crop of talented WNBA rookies including Clark. "You look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you're going to come with some grown women who have been playing professional basketball for a long time," Taurasi added. Leading up to the WNBA Draft, Taurasi was asked by fellow pro Sue Bird during an ESPN broadcast if she would rather draft Clark or NCAA star Paige Bueckers. The Pheonix Mercury guard took another shot at Clark. "I'm taking Paige. Next question," she answered curtly.

To Clark's credit, she took the words from Taurasi in stride. "People are just competitive," she said appearing on "The Pat McAfee Show" on April 17. The Indiana Fever guard believed it was part of her initiation. "I feel like it's things rookies have faced their entire careers, the entire existence of the WNBA," Clark added.

Despite the criticisms from Clark's coach and fellow pros, plenty of executives in the WNBA showed their support for the rookie. All 12 WNBA team general managers took an anonymous poll, and one of the questions was which player would you choose as the centerpiece of your franchise. Half of the GMs chose Clark to build a team around, which was very impressive for a rookie.