Lynx All-Star Collier named rookie of the month

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 5th edition of the 2019 Young Lynx Tracker.

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SPOTLIGHT ON …

Forward Napheesa Collier

We last checked in with Collier last month, noting that the first-year forward has become a key contributor in a new-look Lynx offense.

Just two weeks later the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft just keeps adding to her WNBA resume.

Collier, 22, was named the WNBA’s rookie of the month Thursday, becoming the first Lynx player to earn the award since Maya Moore did it twice in 2011. Candice Wiggins, drafted in 2008, is the only other Lynx player to do it.

Another Moore parallel: Collier was the only rookie to play in last week’s WNBA All-Star Game, joining Moore, Seimone Augustus and Betty Lennox as the only rookie All-Stars in Lynx history.

She joined Sylvia Fowles and newcomer Odyssey Sims in Las Vegas, registering four points and two rebounds in eight minutes.

Colllier finished the first 20 games of the season strong before heading to the All-Star Game, registering 15 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a steal in a loss to the Washington Mystics on July 24 for her second career double-double.

She continues to shine on defense.

Collier had just eight points but racked up three blocks July 21 in a loss to the Las Vegas Aces, the third time she’s had three in a single game this season.

She’s averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds through 20 games — both second amongst rookies — and ranks third with 2.4 assists. She also ranks fourth amongst all WNBA players at 1.9 steals per game.

LYNX TRACKS

— Collier and Sims both participated in the All-Star skills challenge. Chicago Sky guard Diamond DeShields won the three-round event, which featured an obstacle course designed to test handling, passing, agility and shooting.

— Sims made a three at the buzzer in the first quarter during the All-Star Game to give Team Wilson a 39-23 lead. They would go on to win 129-126.

— Minnesota signed former Oregon forward Jillian Alleyne to a seven-day contract earlier this week. A second-round pick of the Phoenix Mercury in 2016, Alleyne played for Israel’s Hapoel Rishon Lezion last winter, averaging 18.7 points and 15.4 rebounds per game while shooting 52.3% from the field in 23 games.

— The Lynx’s first-round pick last year, Lexie Brown, went off in that loss to the Mystics, scoring 19 points while making five 3s on a career-high 10 attempts.