June 18, 2020
Can Megan Huff fill Ceci Zandalasini’s role in Minnesota?
The Minnesota Lynx announced on Wednesday they were signing forward Megan Huff after Cecilia Zandalasini was suspended for the 2020 season.
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Cecilia Zandalasini shoots over Rachel Banham. (Photo: Chris Poss)
The Minnesota Lynx may no longer be in their dynasty days, but a solid roster gave fans reason to expect a competitive team each night. One of the reasons for that optimism was the return of forward Cecilia Zandalasini. Zandalasini has been poised for a breakout season after making over 40 percent of her 3-pointers in 2018. However, the 24-year-old missed the 2019 season with overseas commitments and injuries.
When Zandalasini was re-signed in February, she was expected to take on an expanded role without Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson. Zandalasini figured to take some of the minutes left by forward Jessica Shepard who is sitting out the 2020 season.
Now, the Lynx will be without Zandalasini, who is suspended for the 2020 season for personal reasons. It would be unfair to speculate on those reasons, especially during a pandemic. What we do know is that the Lynx will be without one of their most promising young players when the 2020 WNBA season begins.
The addition of Megan Huff
One player’s absence is another player’s opportunity. The Lynx also on Wednesday the signing of forward Megan Huff. Huff is also young, having been drafted 26th overall in 2019 by New York and is also a strong shooter. At 6’3’, Huff brings a similar size element to the frontcourt that Zandalasini did.
From first glance, Huff immediately looks like a player who would have a roster spot in an expanded league. She has the size and skills that are appealing to WNBA teams in 2020.
Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve targeted rebounding in this year’s draft. Huff has rebounded everywhere she has played. Whether it was averaging 9.9 rebounds per game in 31 minutes per contest as a senior at the University of Utah or 9.2 rebounds per game in Latvia this winter, Huff has proven rebounding abilities.
Huff’s defensive potential could endear her to Reeve, too. While also being a defensive playmaker, Huff was regarded as a strong defender in college. Whether that can translate to the WNBA remains to be seen, but she seems to have the physical tools to make that happen someday.
Huff became a 1,000-point scorer in her two seasons in Utah and earned a first-team All-Pac-12 selection. Huff finished the Utah portion of her collegiate career averaging 17.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Not only could she score, but she was efficient. Huff made 37.5 percent of her 3-pointers and 81.1 percent of her free throws.
Huff also averaged double digits in assist percentage as a 6’3 post and primary scoring option with Utah, hinting at another dimension to her game.
We don’t need to wonder if the team likes Huff because Reeve said this about her before the 2019 draft:
“Megan Huff is a skilled post player that I’ve really enjoyed watching. I think Utah’s evolution as a team, she’s been a big part of that. It’s a team that was hot early on and sort of cooled off, but I think Megan’s skill set is really interesting, a big that can shoot the three. She has some agility. Just an overall good basketball player. I would say that she’s in a category, there’s probably a handful of players that you go, they’ve got a skill set but can they athletically be able to translate to the WNBA and still do those things. She’s somebody that is on our radar, for sure, but where she goes in the draft, if she gets drafted, the challenge will be, again, can this player carve out a spot on a WNBA team.”
Nothing is certain
Of course, there are reasons Huff didn’t stick with the Liberty. Making a WNBA roster is difficult everywhere. Huff is still going to compete with Sylvia Fowles, Damiras Dantas, Napheesa Collier, and rookie Kiki Herbert Harrigan.
Yet, Huff’s size and skills have the potential to fill the need for the Lynx. If Huff is successful, she could ease the concerns of Lynx fans disappointed by the news of Zandalasini’s suspension.
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