Kenisha Bell becomes a Lynx !

Shades

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The Lynx traded for Lexie Brown and drafted Cierra Dillard. It’s not going to be easy to stay a Lynx.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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When Reeve was on with Paul Allen a day before the draft she said Bell would not be a point guard in the WNBA and that Kenisha would need to increase her offensive efficiency. Reeve also said she would invite Bell to camp if she went undrafted. Obviously Reeve decided to draft her.
 

Shades

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If Reeve doesn’t even consider Bell a PG, that really kills her odds of making a team. She’s on the short side plus she’s not that great of a shooter.

Third round picks are often treated like throwaways since there’s usually not much room for new players on a team and the best players are in the top of the draft. I think it was pretty clear Reeve had no intention of Wagner making the team last year, citing “too many guaranteed contracts“ for it to happen. The Lynx just draft Gophers to help out the program and to some degree the players.

Unlike Wagner, Bell being drafted at #30 meant she still could have been drafted by a team that needed her more, but the odds weren’t looking good of that happening.
 

#2Gopher

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Gives her the honor of being drafted that is huge for her. Yes she'll be a long shot. Hopefully she'll surprise us.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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http://www.fox9.com/virtual/news/wnba-dream-fulfilled-for-former-gopher-kenisha-bell
Tuesday night at the WNBA Draft, a lifelong dream came true for a former Gopher.

“Once my name came across the screen, I was just like, this is unbelievable,” Kenisha Bell said.

The Lynx selected Bell in the third round of the draft and when Bell took the phone call from Cheryl Reeve, the emotions were almost too much to handle.

“She knew that I was super excited,” Bell said. “I didn’t have words. I was out of breath because I was screaming the whole night.”

Reeve said selecting Bell was no favor to former pupil Lindsay Whalen either. She believes in Bell’s talent and she made it known what she’d like to see from her at the next level.

“I told Lindsay I’m going to ask her to shoot more from the outside as opposed to always driving,” Reeve said. “It’s hard in our league when you get in there so I’m excited to see what Kenisha can do.”

“I feel like I adjust well and I learn well and I’m always open to new ideas and I’m coachable, so just being able to use that to my advantage and always listening to things, I feel like I can catch onto it pretty fast,” Bell said.
https://www.kare11.com/article/news...-lynx/89-5e3a4839-0581-47b8-8ed3-225084e4f829
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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https://theathletic.com/919694/2019...pard-lexie-brown-kenisha-bell-cierra-dillard/

The Athletic's Zack Pierce reviews the Lynx draft.

Once again, Reeve targeted a player for defense and 3-point shooting potential. As a junior, Bell averaged over 20 points per game and shot 35.8 percent from deep, but that dipped back to 27.9 percent this season.

“Kenisha can defend,” Reeve said. “I told Lindsay I’m going to ask her to shoot more from the outside as opposed to always driving. It’s hard in our league when you get in there, so I’m excited to see what Kenisha can do.”

Bell carried the scoring the load for the Gophers, leading the team with 19.1 points, but Reeve said a key to her prospects on the team will be learning that she doesn’t have to do it all here.

“The first thing we’re going to tell her when she drives and takes a bad shot is, ‘You don’t need to do that at this level. You have good players all around you,'” Reeve said. “If she responds well to that and can make an extra pass and turn down a difficult shot, she’ll see a whole world open up to her.”
 

Shades

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The Lynx traded away Tanisha Wright for a future 2nd round pick, so it got a little easier to make the team.

The Lynx signed a couple of Chinese players but I believe they’re just courtesy signings that aren’t really serious.

That means it’d be between #20 pick Cierra Dillard and #30 pick Bell for the last guard spot, unless Alexis Jones or Lexie Brown falter. I can’t root for Bell because I REALLY like Dillard. She seems to have the IT factor.
 

gopherdudepart2

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Bell has the it factor on defense and rebounding.

The Lynx traded away Tanisha Wright for a future 2nd round pick, so it got a little easier to make the team.

The Lynx signed a couple of Chinese players but I believe they’re just courtesy signings that aren’t really serious.

That means it’d be between #20 pick Cierra Dillard and #30 pick Bell for the last guard spot, unless Alexis Jones or Lexie Brown falter. I can’t root for Bell because I REALLY like Dillard. She seems to have the IT factor.
I am 100% confident Kenisha Bell is going to make the Lynx. You cannot teach her instincts on defense and rebounding, she is great at positioning and has tremendous speed. Bell will make this Lynx team on talent and determination. She brings rebounding and the ability to push the ball up the court which is what this Lynx team needs. Sylvia Fowles will benefit a lot from Kenisha pulling down the ball and getting her easy fast break layup points to quick passes to Fowles. Bell has all of the tools, and being around better players she will realize she doesn't need to try and carry the bigger burden on the Lynx team of scoring as much.
 

hungan1

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Even if she doesn't make the cut, her opportunities to make money overseas are boundless. On the other hand, if she stays in shape and learns and becomes a season pro you never know if the Lynx will call her back if something happens in the season like injuries.
 

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I have a feeling that if Paige's college career goes as planned, she won't need a good word from Whalen regarding her draft status.
 

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I have a feeling that if Paige's college career goes as planned, she won't need a good word from Whalen regarding her draft status.
She won't, as long as it goes as she hopes it does. But, for local girls that hope to eventually play for the Lynx, Whalen probably has better connections than any other college head coach.
 

bbwannabe

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I am 100% confident Kenisha Bell is going to make the Lynx. You cannot teach her instincts on defense and rebounding, she is great at positioning and has tremendous speed. Bell will make this Lynx team on talent and determination. She brings rebounding and the ability to push the ball up the court which is what this Lynx team needs. Sylvia Fowles will benefit a lot from Kenisha pulling down the ball and getting her easy fast break layup points to quick passes to Fowles. Bell has all of the tools, and being around better players she will realize she doesn't need to try and carry the bigger burden on the Lynx team of scoring as much.
I think tryouts will be Dillard and Bell against each other.
 

CutDownTheNet

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I think tryouts will be Dillard and Bell against each other.
If the competition is indeed between the two lowest drafted guards, then perhaps Bell needs to work hard on her three-point shot in the next couple weeks. Not only is that consistent with what Sheryl wants, but her competition is a Pitts-caliber three-point shooter who nailed 105 treys this year (Pitts made 81). Cierra Dillard shot .341 on threes this year, whereas Keke Bell shot .271 from deep. For reference, Pitts three-point shooting percentage was .352 and Perez was .409.

Also, about 46% of Dillard’s shots were three-point attempts compared to only 11% triple attempts from Bell. So historically (as we knew) Bell is more of a driver and Dillard is more of a shooter. Their other statistics are quite similar, as we see from the following chart.

Stat Cierra Dillard Kenisha Bell
Points/G 25.176 19.094
2FG% .424 .409
3FG% .341 .271
FG% .386 .394
eFG% .464 .392
FT% .812 .702
A/G 5.7 4.406
R/G 4.9 5.875
STL/G 2.853 1.969

Bell had about one more rebound per game, and Dillard had an extra assist per game. Dillard has her beat by 11% in free throw shooting. We think of Bell as getting a lot of steals, but Dillard got an extra steal per game.

Owing to a higher percentage of well-shot treys, Dillard’s points per game was about 6 points higher than Bell’s - and in fact quite near the bar set by Gustafson (in fact Cierra was 2nd place in NCAA Div I scoring, 2.6 points lower than Megan). Kenisha came in 39th place in overall points per game - 10 slots lower than Sabrina Ionescu’s 19.9 points - and bear in mind that in the mock drafts Sabrina was conjectured as #1 draft pick until she declared she was sticking around her Senior year to take care of “unfinished business.”

In the above stats it may seem a bit weird that Bell edged out Dillard ever-so-slightly In field-goal percentage, while at the same time Dillard edged out Bell in two-point field-goal percent and was 7% better in three-point field-goal percent. That is not a contradiction. Bell’s overall percentage is slightly higher because she shot so few treys - and with this two-pointer emphasis her overall shooting percentage should be (and is) higher. However, I’ve also included Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) since that weights treys more heavily to reflect their higher value. In that stat Dillard bested Bell by 7%. And that’s the stat that Sheryl is interested in.

Clearly, Bell needs to perfect her three-point shooting and her 18-footer in short order (and then take more of them) if she wants to be a Lynx.
 
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Ragnor

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If the competition is indeed between the two lowest drafted guards, then perhaps Bell needs to work hard on her three-point shot in the next couple weeks. Not only is that consistent with what Sheryl wants, but her competition is a Pitts-caliber three-point shooter who nailed 105 treys this year (Pitts made 81). Cierra Dillard shot .341 on threes this year, whereas Keke Bell shot .271 from deep. For reference, Pitts three-point shooting percentage was .352 and Perez was .409.

Also, about 46% of Dillard’s shots were three-point attempts compared to only 11% triple attempts from Bell. So historically (as we knew) Bell is more of a driver and Dillard is more of a shooter. Their other statistics are quite similar, as we see from the following chart.

Stat Cierra Dillard Kenisha Bell
Points/G 25.176 19.094
2FG% .424 .409
3FG% .341 .271
FG% .386 .394
eFG% .464 .392
FT% .812 .702
A/G 5.7 4.406
R/G 4.9 5.875
STL/G 2.853 1.969

Bell had about one more rebound per game, and Dillard had an extra assist per game. Dillard has her beat by 11% in free throw shooting. We think of Bell as getting a lot of steals, but Dillard got an extra steal per game.

Owing to a higher percentage of well-shot treys, Dillard’s points per game was about 6 points higher than Bell’s - and in fact quite near the bar set by Gustafson (in fact Cierra was 2nd place in NCAA Div I scoring, 2.6 points lower than Megan). Kenisha came in 39th place in overall points per game - 10 slots lower than Sabrina Ionescu’s 19.9 points - and bear in mind that in the mock drafts Sabrina was conjectured as #1 draft pick until she declared she was sticking around her Senior year to take care of “unfinished business.”

In the above stats it may seem a bit weird that Bell edged out Dillard ever-so-slightly In field-goal percentage, while at the same time Dillard edged out Bell in two-point field-goal percent and was 7% better in three-point field-goal percent. That is not a contradiction. Bell’s overall percentage is slightly higher because she shot so few treys - and with this two-pointer emphasis her overall shooting percentage should be (and is) higher. However, I’ve also included Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) since that weights treys more heavily to reflect their higher value. In that stat Dillard bested Bell by 7%. And that’s the stat that Sheryl is interested in.

Clearly, Bell needs to perfect her three-point shooting and her 18-footer in short order (and then take more of them) if she wants to be a Lynx.
nice analysis!
 

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Bell didn’t even get a mention in the latest Lynx Off-season Podcast, which included a phone interview with Napheesa Collier, Lynx’s #6 pick.
https://www.soundcloud.com/lynx-radio/pod19_lf_21
I've noticed this as well, as the WNBA articles focus on Collier, Shepard, and Dillard. I know Keke has her foibles, but I sure wish her the best. She was vital to the Gophers this season. Her speed and defense are noteworthy. Go Keke!
 

CutDownTheNet

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I think tryouts will be Dillard and Bell against each other.
it's perhaps a good-news/bad-news story for Kenisha Bell relative to her prospects of making the Lynx team (versus the backup option of playing overseas). On the one hand per "Minnesota Lynx Complete 2019 Training Camp Roster: Lynx sign Collier, Shepard, Dillard and Bell; add Shao and Emery to roster" https://lynx.wnba.com/news/minnesota-lynx-complete-2019-training-camp-roster she's mentioned in the article and she's on the Lynx payroll and she's part of the 18-player training camp roster. On the other hand, about a week ago the Lynx traded Alexis Jones to LA for Odyssey Sims. You may remember her as the last-second-shot-maker and in-your-face-defender who annoyed the heck out of Whalen in her last Lynx season. Sims was in free-agency and apparently the Lynx wanted her enough to pick up the tab (which apparently the Sparks were not able to match). The Lynx are working with the cash salary-cap surplus saved by Whalen retiring, Maya Moore sitting out this year, and Rebekkah Brunson in unknown status due to ongoing concussion protocol from the broken nose last season. It's unclear whether the Lynx will hold a roster spot in reserve for Brunson (who is also in free-agency, and apparently hasn't yet committed to coming back or retiring or being traded, but has been busy lately with a new baby and selling waffles and being on the T-Wolves Fox-Sports-North broadcast team along with Jim Pete). Also note that (at the moment) Brunson is not mentioned on the roster list. I'm guessing no roster spot will be reserved for Maya Moore who has declared to take the year off, and who (although on the roster) is noted on the roster list as "suspended" (along with Kelsey Griffin).

I would claim that Alexis Jones might not have been that much competition to either Bell or Dillard. But Sims certainly is - and the Lynx just paid money for Sims, so she's on the team. Here's the training camp roster (and it's actually 19 players instead of the 18 the article stated) as they head into training camp shortly ...

No Player Pos Yrs
0 Karima Christmas-Kelly F 8
1 Odyssey Sims G 5
2 Erlana Larkins F 9
3 Danielle Robinson G 7
4 Lexie Brown G 1
5 Taylor Emery G R
7 Shao Ting F R
8 Cierra Dillard G R
9 Cecilia Zandalasini F 2
10 Jessica Shepard F R
12 Jillian Alleyne F R
14 Temi (not a swearword, Mr. censor) F a g benle C 2
15 Kenisha Bell G R
20 Kelsey Griffin (suspended) F 5
23 Maya Moore (suspended) F 8
24 Napheesa Collier F R
33 Seimone Augustus G 13
34 Sylvia Fowles C 11
92 Damiris Dantas F 4
 
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CutDownTheNet

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To break that down a little more, and assuming no roster spots held for either Moore or Brunson, and assuming 2 centers + 5 forwards + 5 guards, and other reasonabe assumptions, we have ...

Two centers who make the team for sure (Sylvia and Temi). Three forwards who make the team (pretty-much) for sure (Zandalasini, Collier, Shephard). Three guards who make the team for sure (Augustus, Robinson, Sims).

That leaves 6 forwards competing for 2 forward roster spots. And the following 4 guards competing for 2 guard roster spots (listed in somewhat biased order):
Kenisha Bell
Cierra Dillard
Lexie Brown
Taylor Emery

Good luck, Kenisha! Show them your hustle (and practice your out-court shots between now and then).
 

Shades

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Dantas has a guaranteed contract, so she’s a for sure. She’ll probably be the starter, sans Brunson.

F@gbenle and Zandalisini are said to be late arrivals to the team because of overseas obligations. Their spots will be held by placeholders who will probably be dismissed on their arrival.

Not sure what to think of Shao Ting. It was a lot of trouble getting her here. Will they cut her again? They might keep her until Zandalisini arrives.

Lexie Brown - traded #18 pick for her. Has a year experience on the rookies. Reeve likes experience.
Cierra Dillard - #20 pick
Kenisha Bell - #30 pick
Taylor Emery - undrafted
 
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CutDownTheNet

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If Dantas is in, that makes the forward competition more intense, with the following competing for one forward roster spot:

Jillian Alleyne
Shao Ting
Erlana Larkins
Karima Christmas-Kelly

There’s a very low probability that Reeve might go 6-forwards/4-guards but I don’t think so. The paranoia of last year (about covering for Brunson if injured, which happened twice actually) should be gone now that the Lynx hit the lottery jackpot with Collier and Shepard. So I doubt they’d take 2 forwards from the above list of 4, unless they absolutely loved both of them.

On the other extreme is another very low probability option of the Lynx going 4-forwards/6-guards, namely passing on all 4 fifth-forward candidates and picking 3 of the 4 lowest guard candidates noted in two prior posts. Probably unlikely.

Nevertheless, assuming Keke beats out Taylor Emery, that leaves two feasible ways that she could make the team - we’ll call them the Hard Way, and the Really Hard Way ...

The Hard Way: Beat out either Cierra Dillard or Lexie Brown.

The Really Hard Way: Beat out (by a mile) all four of the remaining forward candidates {Jillian Alleyne, Shao Ting, Erlana Larkins, Karima Christmas-Kelly}. I say “by a mile” since she’d need to impress Reeve terrifically to trigger dropping the 5th forward in favor of guard Kenisha Bell. But although at first this Really Hard Way seemed crazy-impossible to me, after further thought I’d say it’s at least feasible in principle. The key enabler is that Sheryl has four super-capable forwards in her top 4, plus she has the potential of rebounding machine Brunson returning next year - so she’s sitting pretty forward-wise (and thus could conceivably splurge on a super-fast super-defender guard who only needs to improve her shooting? - remember, shooting can be taught but speed can’t). Although short compared to a forward, recall that Bell is a great defensive rebounder. She’d have to quickly learn to shoot better than {Alleyne, Ting, Larkins, Christmas-Kelly}. So, really hard for this option to happen, yet remotely feasible, and at least it provides an alternate way that she might make the team (besides beating Dillard outright).

Bottom line: Best way for Keke to make the team is to improve her shooting so much in training camp so that she out-shoots all of {Alleyne, Ting, Larkins, Christmas-Kelly, Emory, Dillard}. And at the same time stops shooting bad shots (per Sheryl’s request) and cuts back on turnovers (which mostly came from trying to put the Gophers on her back). Reeve has been to enough Gopher games that she knows Bell’s game and good attributes. If Bell shows she can also shoot (or at least is on the way to becoming a shooter), then she has at least a fighting chance to make the Lynx team, either the Hard Way or the Really Hard Way.
 
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bbwannabe

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If Dantas is in, that makes the forward competition more intense, with the following competing for one forward roster spot:

Jillian Alleyne
Shao Ting
Erlana Larkins
Karima Christmas-Kelly

There’s a very low probability that Reeve might go 6-forwards/4-guards but I don’t think so. The paranoia of last year (about covering for Brunson if injured, which happened twice actually) should be gone now that the Lynx hit the lottery jackpot with Collier and Shepard. So I doubt they’d take 2 forwards from the above list of 4, unless they absolutely loved both of them.

On the other extreme is another very low probability option of the Lynx going 4-forwards/6-guards, namely passing on all 4 fifth-forward candidates and picking 3 of the 4 lowest guard candidates noted in two prior posts. Probably unlikely.

Nevertheless, assuming Keke beats out Taylor Emery, that leaves two feasible ways that she could make the team - we’ll call them the Hard Way, and the Really Hard Way ...

The Hard Way: Beat out either Cierra Dillard or Lexie Brown.

The Really Hard Way: Beat out (by a mile) all four of the remaining forward candidates {Jillian Alleyne, Shao Ting, Erlana Larkins, Karima Christmas-Kelly}. I say “by a mile” since she’d need to impress Reeve terrifically to trigger dropping the 5th forward in favor of guard Kenisha Bell. But although at first this Really Hard Way seemed crazy-impossible to me, after further thought I’d say it’s at least feasible in principle. The key enabler is that Sheryl has four super-capable forwards in her top 4, plus she has the potential of rebounding machine Brunson returning next year - so she’s sitting pretty forward-wise (and thus could conceivably splurge on a super-fast super-defender guard who only needs to improve her shooting? - remember, shooting can be taught but speed can’t). Although short compared to a forward, recall that Bell is a great defensive rebounder. She’d have to quickly learn to shoot better than {Alleyne, Ting, Larkins, Christmas-Kelly}. So, really hard for this option to happen, yet remotely feasible, and at least it provides an alternate way that she might make the team (besides beating Dillard outright).

Bottom line: Best way for Keke to make the team is to improve her shooting so much in training camp so that she out-shoots all of {Alleyne, Ting, Larkins, Christmas-Kelly, Emory, Dillard}. And at the same time stops shooting bad shots (per Sheryl’s request) and cuts back on turnovers (which mostly came from trying to put the Gophers on her back). Reeve has been to enough Gopher games that she knows Bell’s game and good attributes. If Bell shows she can also shoot (or at least is on the way to becoming a shooter), then she has at least a fighting chance to make the Lynx team, either the Hard Way or the Really Hard Way.
Realistic analysis. I really hope Keke can make it despite her odds.
 
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