The Lynx rebounded in a big way from a rough few days of camp, turning in one of their best practices of the young season on Friday.
Head coach Cheryl Reeve was thrilled by the way her team responded to her criticism over the last few days, commending her team for the way they played with and for one another. There were a few hard conversations had over the last couple days and they’ve made the team stronger.
“Terrific day today. I think more than anything,” said Reeve. “When you don’t think of yourself it is incredibly rewarding. We had a much better day today and we just had some conversations with people about what we want from them. Non-negotiables. That is one of the non-negotiables—you must give yourself to your teammates.”
The key to the Lynx playing well is them playing together. They need to support one another and not get too in their heads about their individual performances.
“Just being selfless, not worrying about myself, if I was playing well, having bad possessions, at the end of the day I have to make sure that everybody else is good outside of me,” said Danielle Robinson. “Once I focus on that it’s easy to pick my game up. Just making sure to get everybody in the right spots, bringing them energy because that’s what I do.”
Despite having been together for a relatively short period of time, Reeve said the chemistry the team has with one another is great. She doesn’t buy that teams need years to develop chemistry—if you treat each other the right way and work hard every day, those bonds can grow quickly.
Training camp is the right time to have bad days and the way the Lynx responded to early-week troubles is extremely encouraging.
“We’d rather have that tough game in camp than get blown out by 30 in the games,” said Robinson. “It’s all a lesson, it’s a different group, new faces, new system for a lot of people, so those days are going to happen. But more often than not we need to bounce back from those and make sure we’re preparing the right way always.”
The Lynx are ready to start the season. Though there are still areas for improvement as there will be throughout the entire season, Reeve is comfortable in her players’ understanding of how the Lynx want to play and what to do in certain situations
“We understand what plays we’re good at and who likes what. I feel really confident that, game is on the line, we need a basket, what we’re going to run and how we’re going to do it, and who’s going to have the ball,” said Reeve.
For the players, it’s exciting to get the fans back in the building and feel that support again. If there are a few jitters, that’s ok, things will sort themselves out when the game gets going.
“It’s always ok to have a little extra juice, especially at home, you know, opening up,” said Robinson. “We’re excited for the fans to be in the stands, yelling, I was able to hang out with them last week and they were just raving about how loud they were going to be, so looking forward to hearing them and you know, running out for the first time again.”
A Different D-Rob
Everyone knows Robinson is fast, but what Reeve wants to see is her using that speed as a tool instead of letting it define her.
“Fans like that she’s fast, but I told her I didn’t find that to be a compliment. Effective and efficient is a compliment from my standpoint,” said Reeve. “So how she plays in pick and roll, that she’s not just going to fly to the basket with no change in direction or change of speed, they should notice that.”
Robinson has been working on her three-point shot and in the drills that I’ve seen, that work shows. She went 9-of-10 from the corner after practice on Friday and she said that the corner is her favorite spot. It won’t be long before the Lynx are running plays to get her open there.
Overall, the addition of more three-point shooting is going to make Robinson’s job a lot easier. She has a bevy of great drive and kick options—Lexie Brown, Odyssey Sims and new addition Stephanie Talbot stand out in particular.
“It’s very exciting, especially being able to break down defenses the way that me, O, Lexie can do and to be able to kick out to literally anybody and have everybody knock it down,” said Robinson. “It’s what you work for every day. Coach didn’t bring in anybody that wasn’t capable, so it’s great for our floor spacing and obviously our offensive execution.”
- Remember all the talk about Napheesa Collier changing her shooting form? It seems like it worked. She’s pulled her shooting elbow way in and her release looks great on her three-ball. Of course she has to translate that to in-game action, but it’s an encouraging sign.
- Reeve said that Talbot is going to play from day one, praising her three-point shooting, rebounding ability and strong outside shot. She could end up being the steal of the offseason.
- Expect a lot more pick and roll from the Lynx this season. The group they have right now is uniquely equipped to run those kinds of actions because they have so many players who can either shoot or get to the basket and their bigs are good finishers. In general, the offense is going to be very different this year, but it should be fun.
- The Lynx want everyone going to the ball for rebounds on defense. The focus for perimeter players isn’t to box out other guards, it’s to go get the ball. That’s different from some other teams but Reeve wants to see that aggressiveness. On offense they plan on being more conservative—the priority is preventing transition opportunities.