April 11, 2022 

Lynx stay quiet on draft night, select Jones and Sjerven

Tall task for draftees on stacked roster

The Minnesota Lynx, after trading the eighth and 13th overall picks to the Las Vegas Aces in exchange for future draft capital one day earlier, remained quiet during Monday evening’s WNBA draft, selecting North Carolina State forward Kayla Jones and University of South Dakota center Hannah Sjerven with the 22nd and 28th overall picks, respectively.

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Jones played all five seasons of her collegiate career with the Wolfpack and earned All-ACC honors during her senior and graduate seasons. She averaged 7.7 points per game for her career to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists. 

“It’s hard to find power forwards with the skill set that she has,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said of Jones following the draft. “Two-to-one assist to turnover ratio. The ability to handle the ball. Look at how she passes it on time, on target to get easy baskets for people. Her willingness to know that she’s a distributor and, you know, she can shoot the three. Lengthy. Can get rebounds. It just was something that, from a skillset standpoint, we do well with, and that’s exactly what we told her. She gets to come here and be herself and give some competition to what we already have.”

Sjerven — a Minnesota native, though Reeve was adamant that it did not influence her decision to draft her—was named the Summit League’s Defensive Player of the Year three times and made three All-Conference first teams. She helped lead the Coyotes to the Sweet 16 and started all but one game during her four seasons in Vermillion.* For her career, she averaged 13.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and tallied 243 blocks and 187 steals.

Reeve cited the strong analytical backing of Sjerven’s play as a primary reason why the Lynx ultimately called her name as well as her ability to stretch the floor from the center position. 

“I liked that she shoots the three. It’s just one of those things, come in here and see what you can do and if it works out with us, great. If it doesn’t, you’re showing off to other WNBA teams what you’re capable of, because who doesn’t love a big that can score efficiently around the basket as well as shoot the three.”

The likelihood that either Jones or Sjerven makes the opening day roster is slim, though Reeve did drop some hints that the Lynx may not be at full strength, especially when camp opens later in the week. Damiris Dantas continues to recover from a Lisfranc injury suffered in her right foot towards the end of the 2021 season and Reeve is unsure when she’ll be able to return to play. Additionally, forward Jessica Shepard is still competing overseas and has not yet returned to the United States.

“We worked really hard on our 22nd or 28th pick to ensure that we would have players in camp that we will be able to give a really strong look, that will be a little more able that, if their number is called because of situations that we’ll have coming out of camp with regard to opening day and final roster, that would that would best position us [for success],” Reeve said. 

As has been discussed previously, the Lynx’s roster is in a state of flux with the team needing to cut approximately $130,000 by the close of camp to duck below the salary cap. Additionally, Reeve re-iterated Monday night that Minnesota would ultimately carry 11 athletes on their roster come opening day, including Napheesa Collier. Collier will miss most if not all of the season as she is expecting her first child, leaving the Lynx with only 10 athletes available to suit up. 

Including training camp contracts, Minnesota currently has 15 players signed and will need to part with two in order to bring Jones and Sjerven to camp. Reeve also mentioned the possibility of undrafted free agents being invited to attend camp as well.

Training camp officially opens on Sunday, April 17.

* A previous version of this story incorrectly said Sjerven played only three seasons at South Dakota, and made only two all-conference first teams while being named conference Defensive Player of the Year just twice. While even that would have been one fantastic career, we regret the error.

Written by Lucas Seehafer

Lucas Seehafer is a general reporter for The Next. He is also a physical therapist and professor at the undergraduate level. His work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Forbes, FanSided, and various other websites.

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