Augustus Off To Hot Start To 2017 Season

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

Seimone Augustus did something before the 2017 season that she has never done throughout her WNBA career so far, she took the offseason off.

For the first time ever, Augustus decided she wasn’t going to play overseas prior to the 2017 season, focusing more on what she can do to continue to help her WNBA team in the Minnesota Lynx.

So far this year, Augustus has seen positive results as she is off to a strong start to the season.

In her 12th season in the WNBA, Augustus has found herself having a career year in numerous categories. She holds career-bests in offensive rating (111.5), defensive rating (92.0), true shooting (60.4 percent), three-point percentage (47.1 percent) and assists per game (3.5).

“If you would have prefaced that with saying with how well Seimone is playing, I would say all of those ratings are true. I like all of those ratings,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “The way that she is playing and what she is getting done, embracing a variety of ways to score. Her attracting attention to get (the ball) to someone else to get an easy bucket or her coming off of pin-downs and doing her thing, Seimone’s timing is impeccable. When it’s time to do something and when to make the right play. I think she is having a great season so far.”

Along with her shooting a career-best from three this season, Augustus is shooting 52.7 percent from the field, which is the second best of her career.

“I just looked at my shot chart the other day and I didn’t realize how many threes I was taking and how well I was shooting from three,” Augustus said. “It stretches the floor and gives (Sylvia Fowles) an opportunity where we can attack on a shot fake and drive in you don’t know if we are going to shoot it or drive it. My mid-range game is the best part of my game, so it helps get me to that particular part of my game.”

Through 10 games this year, Augustus is averaging 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and is shooting 52.7 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from three and 88.2 percent from the free throw line.

Compared to the 2016 year, she is up 0.7 points, 1.1 assists, 0.9 rebounds, 6.7 percent from the field, 13.8 percent from three and 7.8 percent from the free throw line.

“Number one, when you work on something, you get better at it. When you emphasize something, you get better at it,” Reeve said. “And that’s where Seimone is, she’s emphasizing the idea that, to spread the defense, it’s much easier to shoot a three when you’re wide open than to have to make a one-on-one play against a great defender. Now, you have shot credibility at the three-point line. . . Now (the defenders) have to go out. And now when you make your move to the basket, it’s an easier move. Just across the board, we have more space to work. Seimone is making that recognition.”

Augustus gives a bulk of the credit for her improvement over the offseason to her studying and trying to find ways to get better, two things Augustus said is incredibly important as you continue to advance in your career.

Two players she spent the offseason studying include Houston Rockets guard James Harden and New York Knicks wing Carmelo Anthony. Augustus said she has been trying to add Harden’s crossover moves to her game and thinks her game is similar to Anthony’s.

“You’re always thinking. I’m just trying to play solid. As you get older, you just try to hone in on polishing all your skills and trying not to be a liability on any end of the floor,” she said. “So I just studied a lot of video of those players and see where they are on the floor and implement that in my game.”

Whether her improvement is due to taking the offseason off or just committing to improving – or both – Augustus has continued to add to her game. And it’s definitely showing so far in 2017.