Can Leaonna Odom Bring Consistency To Her Game?

This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Lynx front office. 

Leaonna Odom: 6’2, F, Duke University

College Stats in 2019-20:

28 games, 29.7 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 54.7 FG%, 37.5 3P% (only eight attempts), 62.0 FT%

Where she’ll go: 

Odom has a high ceiling but comes with high risk, making her a predicted late second-round selection.

The Rundown:

Odom’s inconsistency may make her the biggest gamble of the 2020 draft.

On one hand, Odom has a diverse skillset that allowed her to play and defend the 2-4 positions for the Blue Devils. She finished second in scoring and rebounding for the Blue Devils and was oftentimes Duke’s crunch time go-to player.

She can be effective out of pick-and-roll action, can create her own shots off of the dribble, can drain contested mid-range shots and is well-versed in post moves.

But the keyword is “can.” Seeing her play her best was never a given. You just never knew what type of performance you were going to get from Odom.

Odom’s first-half effort was far too often questioned after she came out seemingly giving less than her full effort and making lackadaisical mistakes. Her below-average decision making was low-lighted by her committing the third-most turnovers on the Blue Devils’ team (69) but only the fifth-most assists (46). She has a tendency to get dispirited after said mistakes, which leads to the disengagement that can plague her first-half performances. To keep her engaged, the Blue Devils often made her the team’s primary ball-handler, which was somewhat of a risky move given her 1.6 assists and 2.5 turnovers per game averages.

The inconsistency might be expected or manageable from an underclassman who still had time to prove their worth, but Odom doesn’t have any extra time to reshape the college player that she was. She can only hope that WNBA general managers see potential that they can drive out of her on a nightly basis — which could very well still be the case.

Odom still has plenty to offer the league. She’s a 6’2 forward with guard-like speed and a wingspan that slows down the few opponents who are faster than her and makes her a better rim protector than most small forwards. Her jump shot is lethal, and she’s never afraid to come up with late-game heroics when called upon. It’d be an absolute shame to see her potential go to waste.