When the Lynx take on the Liberty on Tuesday night it will be an opportunity for two of the league’s best rookies so far to face off—Napheesa Collier and Asia Durr.
If we’re making comparisons, it’s pretty clear that so far Collier has the edge on Durr when it comes to their WNBA stats. Here are their averages:
Collier: 13.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 50.0 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 81.5 FT%
Durr: 10.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 40.5 FG%, 25.0 3P%, 87.5 FT%
The thing that has made Collier stand out so far this season is her versatility. She’s been both efficient and productive and has managed to produce across many stat categories. She leads all rookies in scoring, she’s second in rebounds, second in steals, second in blocks, fourth in assists and she blows all other rookies out of the water with her efficiency rating.
When the Lynx selected Collier with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft, they were thrilled that she had fallen to them, but we may never know if they thought she was capable of this level of play.
Collier is just glad she got the opportunity to play here in Minnesota—don’t expect her to be trying to prove to the teams that passed on her that they made a mistake. Nevertheless, it’s always a fun challenge to go up against another rookie. The world of elite college athletes is a small one, and Collier and Durr know each other well.
“I don’t think about where we went in the draft. It’s always cool to go against the rookies because you were just playing against them last year and the last game I won was against Asia,” said Collier. “I really like her, she’s a friend of mine, so it’s going to be cool to go against her again, especially at the professional level.”
Though Collier is friendly in person, don’t expect her to take it easy on anyone once she hits the court. She’s immediately stepped into an important, multi-faceted role for this team. She learned how to play the small forward position to get minutes and now she’s transitioning back into a post role to help the Lynx weather Jessica Shepard’s season-ending injury.
That’s a role she’s comfortable in, but she recognizes that the competition she’ll face at the position is stronger—quite literally—than it was in college. As always, though, Collier has an answer. If you can’t go through them, go around them.
“I like to do a lot of moves in the post. Maybe not being able to out-strong someone but to out-maneuver them,” said Collier. “It’s something I worked really hard on in college to try to get better at, so being able to use those moves is always fun.”
Though Collier won’t be thinking too much about trying to outshine her fellow rookie, rather she’ll be focused on winning the game, it’s a fun matchup for the fans to keep an eye on. Down the line, we could very well be talking about these two battling it out for rookie of the year.