"I don't necessarily think this is a great rookie class" - WNBA analyst yet to be impressed by star-studded collection of first timers in the league

2024 WNBA Draft
"I don't necessarily think this is a great rookie class" - WNBA analyst yet to be impressed by star-studded collection of first timers in the league

The WNBA 2024 rookie class has been widely regarded as one of the most important drafts for the league. That's because the new players have lifted the league to new heights, giving games more views and attention.

Some of women’s basketball’s most recognizable names entered the 2024 draft, including top overall pick Caitlin Clark, second overall pick Cameron Brink and seventh overall pick Angel Reese. Their addition to the league has fast-tracked the WNBA’s rise, bringing college fans to the professional ranks.

However, basketball analyst Terrika Foster-Grasby doesn't see the 2024 class as one of the great ones in history. Instead, she labeled the class as one of the most important and popular ever.

"I don't necessarily think this is a great rookie class. I think this is a popular rookie class. I love that it helps to bring eyes to the game, but they're still rookies and transitioning,” said Foster-Grasby at the Gjo and Golic show.
“That is a big difference, right? We’ve seen some rookie classes that come in and have us like, ‘wow this is an incredible group.’ The 2018 (class) was one that sticks to mind,” she added, comparing previous rookie classes to this year’s.

While this year’s rookie class has not established themselves so far, their legacy is starting to be written through the league’s uptick in popularity this year.

The 2024 WNBA draft was reported as the most-watched draft in league history, averaging 2.45 million with a peak of 3.09 million. It was a 307% increase from 2004, 20 years ago, when Diana Taurasi was the No. 1 overall selection.

Seats have also been selling out, selling 129% more than last year. The month of May saw WNBA sell out more than half of its games with some being moved to bigger arenas. Meanwhile, the league announced that the WNBA season's first month drew its highest attendance since 1998, alongside its best-ever television ratings.

Merchandise sales also saw a 236% increase from last year, with rookies Clark, Reese and Brink’s jerseys being three of the top-five best-selling jerseys in the league.

Looking back at the 2018 WNBA draft class

The 2018 WNBA rookie class has long been regarded as one of the strongest ever, as it boasted top pick A’ja Wilson.

Wilson was deemed a “super rookie”, leading the class in points and rebounds to win Rookie of the Year honors before winning the MVP award twice. She has also won two WNBA championships in just six seasons with the Las Vegas Aces.

Wilson has also won the Defensive Player of the Year award twice, putting her on a path to all-time greatness.

Other rookie class standouts were Diamond DeShields, Ariel Atkins, Kelsey Mitchell, Gabby Williams, Monique Billings and Victoria Vivians, who all established themselves in the WNBA, but most of its picks are now out of the league.

Edited by Bhargav
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