UCLA Basketball: Bruin-Turned-Hall of Famer Weighs in on Caitlin Clark's Struggles

The No. 1 draft pick by the Indiana Fever has had an up-and-down run so far.
Jun 10, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives the ball against the Connecticut Sun in the second half at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2024; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives the ball against the Connecticut Sun in the second half at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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Iowa Hawkeyes superstar point guard Caitlin Clark, now in the midst of her first pro season as the No. 1 draft pick for the Indiana Fever, has struggled to convert her superlative play in college to the WNBA level, to an extent.

She's still a solid three-level scorer, but she's had difficulty navigating around screens and playing through hard fouls, has been vulnerable when it comes to ball control (her 5.4 turnovers a game are the most in the league) and is a sieve defensively. She's still an early favorite to win Rookie of the Year, and is putting up pretty solid overall numbers, turnovers aside. Through her first 13 pro games, the 6-foot Clark is averaging 16.3 points on .373/.330/.897 shooting splits, six assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks a night.

Former two-time All-Pac-10 First Team and All-American Third-Team UCLA Bruins shooting guard Reggie Miller recently weighed in on Clark's recent struggles this season during an appearance on his former Indiana Pacers teammate Mark Jackson's podcast, "Come Talk 2 Me":

"Finally, the women's game is getting the well-earned news coverage that it's always [deserved]," Miller said. "The women's game, they're just straight ballers, right? ...What did you expect was going to happen to her? Number one, I don't think it's jealousy, 'Oh my god, she's getting all the endorsements, we're gonna go after her.' You're playing at the highest level, you're playing in the WNBA. You're coming from college, and you're going to the pro ranks. What did she expect was going to happen? Why are people so shocked? You're playing against grown women. The same thing happened to us as rookies... They're out there trying to embarass you. It's nothing personal."

"From college when you go to the highest level, it's going to be a learning curve," Miller continued. "There's only so many rookies that [have] ever been successful [right away]."

Miller himself knows of what he speaks. Selected with the No. 11 pick out of UCLA by the Pacers, the 6-foot-7 sharpshooter averaged a middling 10 points on .488/.355/.801 shooting splits, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 swipes a night during his rookie season in 1987-88, starting just one game. It took a second, but Miller eventually did emerge as one of the league's most lethal scorers by his third pro season, 1989-90, averaging 24.6 points on an elite .514/.414/.868 slash line, 3.8 dimes, 3.6 boards and 1.3 steals per contest as a full time starter for a 42-40 eighth seed.

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Alex Kirschenbaum

ALEX KIRSCHENBAUM

Alex likes slam dunks, take him to the hoop. His favorite play is the alley-oop.