Lynx trade has breathed new life into Lexie Brown
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 2nd edition of the 2019 Young Lynx Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Guard Lexie Brown
To say Brown has had a new life in Minnesota would be an understatement.
Taken No. 9 overall out of Duke in the 2018 draft by Connecticut, the daughter of former NBA guard Dee Brown barely played for the Sun as a rookie. Lexie Brown averaged just 5.6 minutes in 22 games, playing 10+ in a game just four times and never scoring more than nine points (that occurred July 5; in her final nine games, Brown tallied a combined three points).
Looking for shooters, the Lynx swapped second-round pick Natisha Hiedeman to the Sun for Brown. While Hiedeman was cut and just resurfaced with Atlanta, Brown has thrived on her new team.
Coming off the bench, Brown is averaging 22.0 minutes and 9.7 points per game. She’s played at least 20 minutes in all but two games and has reached double-digit scoring in a game four times, including a 21-point effort against Los Angeles on June 8.
Even when not scoring, Brown has shown to be a capable all-around player. She had four assists and two steals on June 14 vs. the Sun and four rebounds against Las Vegas on June 16.
But make no mistake – her shooting is key.
Brown is making 45.2% of her 3-point attempts, which is sixth in the NBA among qualifiers. But of the five players ahead of her, only one (Phoenix’s Leilani Mitchell, who played in only four contests) has more 3-point attempts per game.
Brown has made 19 3-pointers – she’s hit multiple 3s in six of her nine games, with a high of five against the Sparks -- which is fourth in the league (she has the best 3-point percentage of anyone in the top five). In fact, of the top 15 in 3-point makes in the WNBA, all but Brown have started every game they’ve appeared in.
-- Second-round pick Jessica Shepard had successful surgery Thursday after tearing her ACL the previous week. In six games, Shepard averaged 4.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 18.7 minutes per game.
-- Odyssey Sims ha scored in double figures in five straight games, including a season-high 25 against Connecticut on June 14, and in eight of nine contests overall. In four games over the last two weeks (since our last Tracker), Sims made 22 of 23 free-throw attempts. She’s shooting 93.9% from the line on the season.
-- After struggling in a three-game stretch, Damirus Dantras broke out on June 16 with 22 points, on 8-of-15 shooting, and six assists against Las Vegas. In that game Dantras made five 3-pointers (on 10 attempts).
-- Center Alaina Coates is gradually getting more playing time. She saw nearly seven minutes of action at New York on June 12, 7 1/2 minutes vs. the Sun on June 14 (and had six points and two blocks) then 12 minutes against Las Vegas on June 16 (contributing four points, three rebounds, a block and a steal). Coates 8.0 block percentage is easily the best on the Lynx – Napheesa Collier is next at 3.1% and Sylvia Fowles is at 2.6%. It’s also the third-best block percentage in the WNBA behind just Indiana’s Teaira McCowan (10.0%) and Los Angeles’ Maria Vadeeva (9.6%), although the latter played in just one game (24 minutes) before leaving for overseas until July.