Depending On Where She Goes, Crystal Dangerfield Could Be The Steal Of The Draft

This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Lynx 

Crystal Dangerfield: 5’5, G, University of Connecticut

College Stats in 2019-20:

30 games, 35.4 MPG, 14.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 46.3 FG%, 41.0 3P%, 86.0 FT%

Where she’ll go:

Early mock drafts predicted Dangerfield would be a first-round draft pick, but she’ll likely fall to the second round given how fellow point guards Tyasha Harris and Chennedy Carter finished their 2019-20 seasons.

The Rundown:

Dangerfield was surrounded by superior scorers during the first three seasons of her career.

With Gabby Williams, Azurá Stevens, Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson around, Dangerfield could carry out her best qualities — acting as a pass-first point guard responsible for finding her team’s top offensive threat while minimizing turnovers.

But once her team’s scoring options dwindled after Collier and Samuelson graduated in 2019, Dangerfield and fellow returning Husky starter Megan Walker were asked to carry out a larger scoring role. Walker upped her scoring average from 12.1 points per game in 2018-19 to 19.7 her senior year, but Dangerfield’s scoring improvement was less dramatic as she went from scoring 13.4 points a night as a junior to 14.9 her final season.

A positive is that Dangerfield did commit fewer turnovers even as her usage went up (73 in 2018-19 to 52 in 2019-20), but she also recorded fewer assists (225 to 118) as her team’s scoring options decreased.

However, Dangerfield won’t be asked to take on a large scoring role at the beginning stages of her WNBA career, which is why she could be a steal in the second round of the draft.

Dangerfield doesn’t allow her short, 5’5 size to define her and even held her own against 5’10 Harris in early February when she scored 25 points on 9-for-8 shooting and held the Gamecocks’ star point guard to 19 points on 9-for-19 shooting. Dangerfield’s premiere outside shooting, speed and dependability could make her an easy back-up point guard option for teams looking to restock on backcourt players, like the Lynx.

If Dangerfield is still available when the Lynx select their No. 16 overall pick, they shouldn’t hesitate to bring her aboard. It’s no secret that UConn players have a history of transitioning well to the WNBA, and the Lynx were reminded of that just last season when No. 6 pick Collier was named the 2019 Rookie of the Year.

Could Dangerfield be the Lynx’s next draft steal? I think that’s a chance Minnesota should absolutely be willing to take if the UConn point guard falls to them.