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During the Indiana Fever's loss to the Seattle Storm on June 27, Caitlin Clark ran 16 pick-and-rolls. She was trapped on 10 of them. Such defensive attention has been the norm for the No. 1 overall pick, who has spent the first half of her rookie season trying to adjust to the professional game while being guarded like one of the best players in the WNBA. 

"It's a women's game now," Fever veteran Erica Wheeler said. "It's not college anymore. We're a lot faster and stronger… In the beginning she struggled a little bit because she didn't know what the physicality was like, but now she knows. She's reading the game way better, and as you can see the numbers don't lie."

Through 22 games, Clark is averaging 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists, which would make her the fourth player -- and first rookie -- with a 15/5/5 season. She leads all rookies in scoring and assists, is second in the league in the latter category, and needed just 20 games to set the Fever's rookie assist record. Recently, she became the first rookie ever to record a triple-double.

Clark can truly do it all on the offensive end, but while her long-range 3-point shooting is her "super power," as Steph Curry put it earlier this year, her playmaking is arguably the most exciting aspect of her game. 

"She sees things as they're happening and sometimes before the player that's gonna get the ball even realizes it," Fever coach Christie Sides said, adding that she's a "hell of a passer." 

Most of Clark's facilitation comes out of the pick-and-roll, which accounts for over 50% of her possessions. She's running 14.1 of them per game, which is second only to Sabrina Ionescu, and tied for the most by any rookie in the last decade. 

Due to her unique gifts, opponents often choose to send multiple defenders Clark's way in order to, in Chicago Sky coach Teresa Weatherspoon's words, "get that ball out of her hands as quick as we possibly can to allow other people to make decisions." Through Clark's first 20 games, she had been blitzed 89 times in the pick-and-roll, per Second Spectrum, which was nearly double that of the next highest player (Ionescu, 46). 

The level of pressure that Clark is dealing with is so unique that even Wheeler, who twice led the WNBA in total pick-and-rolls, has struggled at times to instruct her younger teammate. "Nobody plays me how they play her," Wheeler said. "It's a unique situation because literally they trap her at halfcourt. I've never had that."

The Fever have relied heavily on their male practice squad to help Clark adapt to the increased athleticism and strength of opponents, running as many reps as possible when they get the opportunity. It's no surprise that Clark has looked more comfortable ever since their outrageous opening stretch of 11 games in 20 days came to an end, and she feels her reads have "definitely gotten better." 

As Clark has settled in, so too have her teammates, who have also had to acclimate to a heavy pick-and-roll system. None more so than Aliyah Boston, a predominantly back-to-the-basket center throughout her career. Boston's 49 possessions as a roller through 22 games are nearly as many as her 63 all of last season. And that only includes instances where she took a shot, got fouled or turned it over, not those where she kept the ball moving. 

Clark has delivered 53 of Boston's 79 assisted field goals, which is the most common connection on the team. Notably, just 17 of those assists happened in the team's first 13 games, while 36 have come during their recent 6-3 stretch. 

During a recent Q&A on social media, Boston was asked about her favorite play to run with Clark. Her response was not surprising: "Any type of ballscreen action because she always makes a great read."

Here's a closer look at some of the numbers on the Clark-Boston pick-and-roll during this recent turnaround, in which the Fever have picked up wins over the Mercury and Liberty

  • Possessions: 65
  • Points: 63
  • PPP: 0.969 (Equivalent to the second-most efficient offense in the league)
  • Quality shots: 49
  • Turnovers: 11

Boston has grown more comfortable as a roller, whether that's finishing at the rim on a deep roll...

… or making a decision as a passer on a short roll.

As Clark, Boston and the Fever have figured out how to handle blitzing defenses, teams have started to dial back that approach. That, in turn, has given Clark more freedom to make plays herself, whether that's pulling up for 3…

… or driving to the basket. 

At some point in the near future, the Clark-Boston pick-and-roll will be the best play in basketball. That day might come sooner than we all think. 

"The chemistry and getting to play with one another, you kinda get on the same page with your minds," Clark said. 

The one major negative for Clark so far is turnovers. She leads the league by a wide margin at 5.5 per game, which would be the worst mark ever. Interestingly, only 45 of Clark's 122 giveaways have come from pick-and-roll situations, even though those account for over half of her offensive possessions. 

"I think for myself there's a difference between a good turnover and a bad turnover," Clark said. "So you go back and watch and it's a good pass to make and maybe it just hit off her hands wrong and went out of bounds or maybe the defender got a little tip of the ball."

Clark will likely always be among the leaders in turnovers due to how much she controls the offense, but there's not much long-term concern in that department. Rookie point guards have always struggled with taking care of the ball, and none of them have been the No. 1 name on the scouting report. 

Despite a brilliant start to her career, Clark was a controversial final cut from Team USA's roster and will not be on the plane to Paris for the Olympics. The upside is that after she gets back from the All-Star Game with Boston and Kelsey Mitchell, she'll be able to enjoy her first real break since last summer, and the Fever will get a de facto second training camp with their entire roster. 

Halfway through her rookie season, Clark is arguably the best point guard in the league, and at the rate she's improving, there may not be any debate once play resumes after the Olympic break. Already, she's scored or assisted on more points (713) than any other player. 

As Wheeler said, "numbers don't lie."