2018 Roster Review | Danielle Robinson

Stats: 28 games, 2 starts, 6.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 44.5 FG%, 15.8 3P%, 85.4 FT%

Season in a Nutshell: An adjustment period that showcased the opportunity for a bright future with the Lynx.

A Deeper Dive: Robinson was brought in to back up Lindsay Whalen, but there was always an understanding that her future with the team could include a larger role. It took a little time for Robinson to learn the Lynx’s system, but once she got her feet under her it became clear that the speedy point guard was more than capable of adding a dangerous new element to the Lynx’s attack.

Robinson got the Lynx into their sets very quickly, giving them more time to execute their offense. Paired with a rim-running center like Sylvia Fowles, the Lynx got up and down the court extremely fast with Robinson at the point. Early on, Robinson’s aggressiveness led to a lot of turnovers. Sometimes it was because of sloppy passes and sometimes it was because Robinson’s Lynx teammates simply weren’t ready for the ball to get to them so quickly. As both parties gained more familiarity later in the season, things got a lot better.

As a scorer, Robinson did most of her damage using her quickness and slashing to the rim. However, she has a solid midrange pull-up game as well, and even flashed the ability to hit the three late in the season. She ended up 3-19 for the season from beyond the arc—not great, but Robinson had never hit a three before this season, so it was great to see her letting them fly.

Unfortunately, Robinson’s season was cut short when she suffered a nasty ankle injury in Las Vegas on August 9. The Lynx certainly missed her presence. Robinson not only improved on the court over the course of the year but earned the respect of the entire roster in the locker room. You can tell from how her teammates talk about her—Robinson is a great leader and person along with being a great player.

Top Three Games:

3. June 19 vs. Dallas

Robinson scored 15 points to go along with four assists and a steal, and she did it on just four shots. The crafty point guard got to the line 11 times and didn’t miss a single attempt. Robinson’s speed gives her the ability to blow by defenders if they sit back on their heels and often that means they have to foul to prevent an easy shot. Robinson’s ability to get inside and get fouled is key to her growth as a member of the Lynx.

2. July 11 at Indiana

This game will always have a special place in the hearts of Robinson fans because it’s the game where she hit her first career three. It wasn’t necessarily that Robinson couldn’t shoot, but she’d never really been asked to before. Heading into the season the Lynx wanted her to start taking more shots from outside and things finally fell into place here. Robinson hit two from beyond the arc and finished with 15 points and 5 assists on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. That’s an excellent line.

1. August 7 at Chicago

If there’s a game that perfectly exemplifies what the Lynx hope to get out of Robinson, it’s this one. She finished with 12 points, 11 assists and four steals on 6-of-10 shooting. A three would have been nice, but this was a highlight performance from Robinson. The next game she would injure herself, so Robinson never really had a chance to build on this performance but it will definitely stick in her mind as she rehabs this season. Her performance in Chicago pulled everything together—her understanding of the offense, her familiarity with her teammates and her natural speed and quickness. If this is the Robinson the Lynx will see next year, it could be a big year.

Offseason Objectives:  

Robinson’s primary objective has to be getting healthy, but outside of that there are a few things she could do to develop her game and maximize her chances of having a good year with the Lynx next season.

First and foremost, if Robinson can develop into a more credible three-point threat it would add an entirely new element to Minnesota’s offense. Spacing was certainly an issue for the Lynx last year and your point guard being a threat from three helps a lot with that. Even if Robinson never becomes a pull-up threat, if she can hit consistently from the corner and on kick-outs it would be very beneficial to Sylvia Fowles and the rest of the Lynx bigs who were often swarmed in the paint.

Second, Robinson has time this offseason to continue learning the ins and outs of the Lynx’s playbook. Things will change of course, but Robinson had enough good moments and bad ones to have a lot of film to study. When Robinson gets into camp next season she should be significantly farther along in her understanding of the Lynx’s system than she was last year. If she can lock down the playbook early the Lynx will be in good shape.

Role in 2019:

By all accounts, Robinson will be the Lynx’s starting point guard. That’s a big task, but she’s up to the challenge. An important element will be not trying to replace Lindsay Whalen, but rather to be her own kind of leader on and off the court. Robinson has the skill and intelligence to run the Lynx’s system in whatever way she sees fit and she should have freedom to experiment next season.