Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier emerges as consistent contributor
The Minnesota Lynx look a bit different this season. Gone are longtime franchise cornerstones Lindsay Whalen (retired) and Maya Moore (taking a year off), so general manager Cheryl Reeve rolled up her sleeves and got busy in the offseason, adding much-needed youth to the roster through trades and the WNBA draft.
Over the course of the season, we’ll periodically check in with the team and give updates on how the young players are performing on the court. From first-round pick Napheesa Collier to Lexie Brown and others, it’ll be exciting to watch these players develop and help continue the dynasty into the next decade.
This is the 4th edition of the 2019 Young Lynx Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Forward Napheesa Collier
We first checked in with Collier back on June 7, just five games into her WNBA career.
A little over a month later the 22-year-old rookie has emerged as a major contributor in the Lynx’s new-look offense, even if she hasn’t quite matched her wild WNBA debut.
A reminder: The sixth pick in last year’s draft went off for 27 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the Lynx’s opener back on May 25.
She’s cooled off a bit 17 games later, but has become a regular contributor for the 10-8 Lynx.
Collier has averaged a relatively modest 9.8 points on 10.6 field-goal attempts in five games over the past two weeks, fourth on the Lynx.
She’s had a few off games over that span, going just 5-for-13 from the field in a win over Chicago on July 10, then going 2-for-11 in a loss to Atlanta on July 14
Collier put up an efficient 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting in a win over Phoenix on Sunday, adding 11 rebounds for her first career double-double, then struggled again Wednesday in a loss to Seattle, going just 3-for-11.
There should be a few more double-doubles in her future. Collier has stepped up her rebounding over the past few weeks, reaching double digits twice and averaging 7.2 boards per game in July. She’s averaging 6.4 rebounds per game on the season, behind only Lynx leader Sylvia Fowles.
Meanwhile, she continues to stand out on defense.
Collier racked up a career-high three blocks in that win over Chicago — she last did that in her debut — and three steals.
She leads all rookies and is tied for third overall at 2.0 steals per game, and ranks third amongst first-year players at 0.9 blocks.
That isn’t particularly surprising.
Collier led UConn with 64 blocks in 38 games as a senior and ranked second on the Huskies with 56 steals.
— Fowles and guard Odyssey Sims were named All-Star reserves Monday. It’s Fowles’ sixth All-Star nod and Sims’ first. The Lynx have now had at least two players named to the All-Star Game in eight seasons, and third consecutive.
— Fowles became the league’s all-time double-doubles leader Sunday, notching her 158th in that win over Phoenix.
— Second-year guard Lexie Brown scored 20 points off the bench Wednesday against Seattle, and is shooting 41.2% from deep this season, fifth in the WNBA.
— Danielle Robinson led the Lynx with 10 assists against Seattle, scoring 14 points for her sixth career double-double.