June 14, 2022 

What will Sun replacement for Yvonne Anderson look like?

Curt Miller: 'It will have to be in short bursts'

UNCASVILLE — After deciding to add more backcourt depth before the start of the season, the Connecticut Sun is hoping to bolster a different position off the bench after releasing rookie guard Yvonne Anderson on Saturday.

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Curt Miller told The Next on Monday night that he decided to waive Anderson because the team wanted to look at a different position that could provide more of an impact in the reserve rotation.

Since Jasmine Thomas’ injury, Natisha Hiedeman and Alyssa Thomas have been leading the offense the most. Point forward Thomas’ time at the one has been increasing more and more over the last few games, and the team feels confident and comfortable with its success with that rotation. 

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That pushed both Anderson and fellow rookie combo guard Nia Clouden down the depth chart, so Miller said he wanted to look for someone in a different position who would get more opportunities to play more minutes. 

“We purposefully went out to look for someone that could bring energy and could impact us at the defensive end, and the offensive end would be a bonus,” Miller said. “We have a lot of people that we distribute the ball to and try to get shots for, but another energy player, another person that could impact with their athleticism, especially at the defensive end, was something that we were really attracted to.”

Anderson played in 11 games for the Sun, averaging 9.2 minutes, 3.2 points and 1.1 assists per game, while shooting 46.2 percent from the field. Anderson stepped up in an increased role when Jasmine Thomas was injured, but largely fell out of the rotation as Miller has used Alyssa Thomas more at the point since the Sun lost to the Aces on May 31.

Miller said the Sun will be restricted to a player of less than three years of experience to a minimum deal in order to fit in with their cap. On Monday night, Miller said “we have no trade on the table right now.” 

“There’s challenges and also excitement in bringing someone in fresh and their energy,” Miller said. “You always worry when you’re a coach that believes in cohesive teams and the chemistry of teams in the locker room chemistry that the new person will fit in and find their role and be a champion in their role.”

Miller said it’s always a challenge for a player to fit in and challenging to learn an extensive playbook in a short window. Miller said they will sign their new player on Wednesday morning ahead of their 7 p.m. game against the Atlanta Dream at Mohegan Sun Arena. That player is expected to be available, but it will take some time to get up to speed as the Sun play three games in five days. 

Miller didn’t say what position the Sun were looking for, just that he felt they had enough players at point guard between Alyssa Thomas and Natisha Hiedeman — with Clouden now having an opportunity to play more minutes. With their loaded frontcourt, it doesn’t seem likely the Sun would add another big if they’re looking for an impact rotation player either. 

An athletic wing who could bolster their defense against guards, and who could bring energy off the bench, could be what the team is looking for.

One player who could fit that role and would have a head start getting up to speed is Kaila Charles, a third-year guard who spent her first two seasons with the Sun before being cut before this season. 

When the Sun cut Charles in training camp, Miller expected Alyssa Thomas to play mainly at the wing, with Jasmine Thomas running the point. With Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner expected to take up most of the minutes at the wing, Miller said the team didn’t have as much of a need for a big wing like Charles. Fitting Charles into the hard cap while maintaining other pieces of the roster didn’t work in their favor either.

Now that Alyssa Thomas is spending more minutes at point guard, there may be more of a role for Charles to split minutes at the wing with Bonner and DiJonai Carrington. Stephanie Jones could be another option, as she fits into the cap restraints and already spent time with the Sun this season when Joyner Holmes missed games.

Miller could also look to bring in someone completely new, and could look at some free agents with fewer than three years of experience.

“You expect when you’re bringing someone in to always think about playing them, but it will have to be in short bursts,” Miller said. “You have to understand they’re not going to know everything. But that’s the challenge of trying to get someone up to speed in a very short window.”

Written by Jacqueline LeBlanc

Jacqueline LeBlanc is the Connecticut Sun beat reporter for The Next. Prior to The Next, Jacqueline has written for Her Hoop Stats and Sports Illustrated.

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