A changing of the guards
You knew going into Minnesota Lynx training camp that the guards competing for a roster spot would have the toughest time. The Lynx invited seven guards to training camp and three of them were rookies.
Of those three rookie guards, Kenisha Bell is the only one still remaining in camp after the team waived guard Taylor Emery on Thursday. Fellow backcourt rookie Cierra Dillard was previously waived on May 11.
Emery posted two points and one steal in less than a minute of playing time in the Lynx’s May 10 preseason game. The Lynx waived Dillard after she received a DNP-CD in this contest.
Trying not to read too much into the preseason
For a team that’s has looked to add youth and shooting, having rookies in camp is a good thing. However, the competition among the Lynx’s guards is fierce. Seimone Augustus and Danielle Robinson entered camp as the team’s starting backcourt.
The Lynx acquired six-year veteran Odyssey Sims this offseason who posted 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists on 7-for-11 shooting off the bench in the team’s preseason opener. With performances like that, it seems safe to say Sims isn’t going anywhere.
Lexie Brown, whom the Lynx acquired on draft night, received 12 minutes of playing time against the Mystics. That’s more than action than the other newcomers on the roster and while her shot struggled, she still picked up two assists and one rebound.
As for Bell, she played just two minutes and committed one turnover and one foul. In all fairness, Bell did hit both of her free throws.
You don’t want to read too much into the preseason, but so far there has been a correlation between playing time in games and the subsequent roster moves. Dillard, Emery, and Bell played very little or not at all and two of them are gone. Maybe it’s nothing but it’s worth noting the trend.
Where the Lynx go from here
What we know so far is that the Lynx’s rookies — save for Napheesa Collier and Jessica Shepherd — are beginning to fall off the roster as cuts begin. The Lynx invested a high pick in Collier and Shepherd has played well, so their jobs are unlikely at risk. With that said, there are a couple of directions the team could head with their final roster.
Currently, the Lynx have eight forwards in training camp. Of those is nine-year vet Erlana Larkins, rookies Shao Ting and Jillian Alleyne. These could be three of the players on the fringe in case the team decides to keep an extra guard in case Robinson or Augustus gets hurt. Alleyne received good minutes against the Mystics, but Ting and Larkins weren’t factors.
Seven guards total still remain on the roster. If you believe that the Mystics game was indicative of who is likely to make this team, Bell may be the odd woman out. It seems that the team is invested in Brown given that the Lynx essentially gave up a draft pick for her and that she played as much as she did against Washington.
While the Lynx do need to preserve some size, it’s hard to imagine them starting the season with just Robinson, Augustus, and Sims. It makes more sense for the team to keep Brown and consider moving on from two of Larkins, Ting, Alleyne, and Bell.
If depth gets tight, the Lynx can hope someone like Karima Christmas-Kelly can play either wing position. Ceci Zandalasini and Temi Fagbenle will eventually arrive to enhance their depth.
Having to trim the roster is one of the most difficult decisions a front office has to make. The Lynx are no different, but it seems that their final roster has already begun to take shape.
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