Report: Shelley Patterson expected to join Walt Hopkins in New York

Patterson would add over twenty years of coaching experience if she makes the jump to Brooklyn

Within Kent Youngblood’s report that the Liberty’s former head coach Katie Smith would be returning to Minneapolis to join Cheryl Reeve’s bench, there was an easter egg. Youngblood added that current Lynx assistant Shelley Patterson “is expected” to join newly hired Walt Hopkins in Brooklyn. High Post Hoops has learned that no deal has been finalized yet.

Before coaching, Patterson played point guard at Washington State University where she racked up assists and steals which position her as one of the all-time leaders in the school’s history. Following her collegiate playing career, she held a variety of coaching positions where she handled recruiting at Ohio University, the University of Arizona, Wake Forest and the University of Dayton.

Her WNBA experience is expansive, and she’s someone who has experience winning at a high level.  She began with the Houston Comets where she served as Director of Basketball Operations in their 1999 championship season. She spent three years on the Indiana Fever’s bench as an assistant coach under Nell Fortner followed by a season in 2004 in Phoenix under Carrie Graf, a season in LA  and then another singular season on Muggsy Bogues‘ bench in Charlotte.

In 2008, she ended up on Brian Agler’s staff and coached the Storm to a championship in 2010. Following her three years in Seattle, Patterson was hired by Reeve to join the Lynx as the Manager of Advanced Scouting and was promoted to Reeve’s bench with a focus in player development and opponent scout preparation. Patterson was present alongside Reeve for the franchise’s four WNBA championships.

Hopkins was asked previously about what it would take to join his coaching staff. In addition to casting a vide and diverse net, Hopkins is looking for experts who will balance his weaknesses while filling needs. “I’m looking for people who fill gaps for me,” he said following his introductory presser. “So I know that as a head coach, my focus is going to be split in a lot of different directions. So I need people who can specialize in a given area.”

Patterson, who has assumed the role of coordinating the offense under Reeve’s system, could be bound for the same fate in New York. The former Washington State University point guard specializes in shot mechanics and fine tunning three-point shooting. Patterson noticed that Lynx 2019 first-round draft pick and eventual Rookie of the Year Naphessa Collier was “thumbing the ball” and allowed for the rookie to raise her longball percentage from 28 during her senior year at UConn to over 36 during her first WNBA season.

Her record doesn’t stop with the 2019 rookie of the year, as Patterson is responsible for refining the shot of Minnesota legendary point guard Lindsay Whalen. A former point guard who specializes in point guard development: for the Liberty and the 2020 draft, that tracks.

In addition to a basketball acumen and “developed skill sets,” Hopkins has stressed a character assessment is required as well.  He expects for his assistants to be relationship builders and people of high quality and substance. In a behind the scenes clip from 2016, Patterson bounced a basketball into a cart holding other balls.

Does that look familiar? It sure does. Han Xu and Amanda Zahui B. could use someone else to spar with during their practice ending tradition “Thank you, bye-bye.”

It looks like she’ll fit right in.

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