Caitlin Clark

Draymond crowns Wilson, not Clark, most marketable WNBA star

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The WNBA -- and women's sports as a whole -- continues to see a significant uprise in popularity with each passing year.

But no rookie draft class has brought as many eyes as the 2024 class has, thanks to players such as Los Angeles Sparks forward Cameron Brink, Chicago Sky forward Angel Reese and, of course, Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark.

While Warriors veteran forward Draymond Green didn't hesitate to give Clark and the rookie class their flowers for bringing a new light to the W, he believes the WNBA could've done the same with A'ja Wilson years ago and missed its opportunity to market off the Las Vegas Aces center.

"I ain't saying Caitlin Clark is the best thing since sliced bread. Quite frankly, if you want my opinion, that's A'ja Wilson," Green said on his "The Draymond Green Show" podcast. "The best thing since sliced bread in the WNBA is A'ja Wilson. I'm not necessarily in the mindset that it's all Caitlin Clark, no, A'ja Wilson is great. A'ja Wilson to me is the American dream. Coming from a two-parent household, grew, got better, young Black girl, had everything against her, beat the odds to become what soon will be known as the greatest player to ever grace the WNBA. That's quite honestly my opinion.

"I think A'ja Wilson is as marketable as anybody in the WNBA, but you have to figure out how to market the product. So I'm not going to sit up here and act like Caitlin Clark ain't done nothing for the WNBA. That's bulls--t, yes she has. She's going to continue to. No, I'm not in the assumption that it's only her. I think y'all got a gold mine in the WNBA sitting right there, marketable as anybody in A'Ja Wilson and haven't figured out how to make it go. Ain't A'Ja fault. A'Ja got a lot about her that is as marketable as can be."

Wilson, 27, was selected No. 1 overall by Las Vegas in the 2018 WNBA Draft after starring at South Carolina. She averages 20.1 points on 49.1-percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks in 195 games over seven seasons.

The 6-foot-4 big leads the league in several categories this season, including rebounds per game, 2-point field goals and 2-point field goal attempts.

She won Rookie of the Year in 2018 and has been crowned the WNBA MVP twice as well as earning Defensive Player of the Year in two consecutive seasons.

And the two-time WNBA champ and 2020 Olympic gold medalist has shown no signs of slowing down, either, as she is averaging 26.5 points on 48.4-percent shooting, with 12.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.8 blocks in six games this season.

As great as Wilson has been on all surfaces, six years after she entered the league, it has been Clark's effect that has drawn in a nationwide audience with record-breaking viewership.

Clark's welcome to the WNBA hasn't been smooth sailing. After going No. 1 overall to Indiana, the star rookie is averaging 15.6 points on 35.7-percent from the field and just 29.7 from 3-point range, with 5.1 rebounds and 6.4 assists.

But the headlines surrounding her have gone beyond her production. Clark has been roughed up by opposing vets and called out in social media posts questioning what she brings to the WNBA.

And while Green believes the W missed its marketing opportunity with Wilson, the league certainly has Clark -- and several other rookies -- to thank for bringing new fans to tune in. And whether that's to watch Wilson dominate in the paint or Clark's sharpshooting -- they're still watching. And that's a win for everyone.

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