Reeve Reacts to Winning Draft Lottery

Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve's reaction to the Lynx receiving the No. 1 and No. 4 overall draft picks in the 2011 WNBA Draft:

Listen to the Conference Call (MP3 ~16MB)

Cheryl Reeve: "It's a long day. We're exhausted."

I'm sure this news perks you up.

Reeve: "Ah, just a little."

Question: What were your thoughts going into the lottery?

Reeve: "Thoughts going into the lottery... I sure hope we get No. 1! Ya know, I think it's one of those things that we were prepared no matter where we fell with our two draft picks. We knew we were going to be in the top four. We were prepared in every situation to help the team move forward. Having the No. 1 pick eliminates any thought process shall we say."

Q: Going into the college season, what is your scouting plan? Does this solidly things or are you changing things?

Reeve: "Now we know exactly where we're picking. The plan that we had mapped out... The draft picks we've identified in the top-5 - that doesn't change anything. So nothing really changes. I just think it's more as we move through the college season, what players are emerging? We identify the needs... We'll be ready to move up, move down. Whatever the situation is."

Q: During last year's draft, you weren't allowed to name names, is that still the case?

Reeve: "As far as I know..."

Q: Is it safe to say that we all know who you're targeting?

Reeve: "Yeah, I think it's safe to say that no matter who had the number one pick. There are certainly some quality players in Connecticut and Xavier... Stanford has a player; Ohio State, too. I think everyone knows who the best player in the country is. No matter who had the No. 1 pick... It's a pretty easy identification process."

Q: Is it safe to say that the number one player has the capability of being a franchise-changing player?

Reeve: "Well that's what you hope in a number one pick. I've always said about the WNBA Draft - having high draft picks is OK, when you're three or four, but it doesn't give you that franchise player. The No. 1 pick typically allows you to do that. Sometimes there are off years where that's not the case. I think if you look at the history of our league, the No. 1 picks have faired pretty well. This year happens to be a good time to have the No.1 pick."

Q: We know we're talking about Maya Moore - is there any chance that she's not going to be the no. 1 pick?

Reeve: "You know, Mechelle, there's always a chance, but I don't know what that scenario would be this time around. She's been the best player in the country for a couple years now."

Q: With that No. 4 pick, what kind of needs would you imagine filling given your current roster?

Reeve: "I think it's a little early there. We have a pretty clear direction on No. 1 positionally. We know where we stand positionally with our existing players. We have some pretty good players on our roster. We've got some tough choices to make. If you look at our depth chart, we do have one or two holes that we'd like to fill. At No. 4 we'll certainly be able to do that."

Q: What are those holes?

Reeve: "It all depends on the returning players and their status. I think we could use some depth in the post. We need size. I think that's our biggest thing, Charles, that I identified through being with the team this summer. We just weren't very big from a height standpoint. That's something we'll look to address. Three-point shooting was a problem for us as well. We definitely have some deficiencies that we'll try to fill. The void that exists there.... Being in the top four in this year's college draft - there are some pretty good choices."

Q: Is this a relief, Cheryl, to be able to grab this No. 1 especially after you ran the risk of not getting it in trading it away last year. Is it a relief to have one, especially in this year?

Reeve: "I wouldn't say a relief. It's exciting. I know it's a consolation to the rough season we had. I'd probably put it more like that. That's how I view it. I said that when our season ended, when I sat down and had a breather, I said the only way this all kind of goes away, meaning the rough season, is if we get the No. 1 pick. It's a big consolation, and a big band aid. We'll try to make the best of it."

Q: Were you awarded the No. 1 pick with the Lynx' or Connecticut's draft combinations?

Reeve: "Our own lottery balls allowed us to get the No. 1 pick this year."

Q: Now that you know you have the Nos. 1 and 4, how does that change things? I know you don't know who that No. 4 is... If it projects the way we think it might at No. 1, how does that change your thoughts on your lineup? Who's coming back, and does it change something for you?

Reeve: "When our season ended, one of the things we talked about as a staff was we really identified a core group that we wanted to move forward with. That core group will not change, based on these picks. We said that. It didn't matter where we landed. The group that we identified, that we wanted to move forward with regardless of where we landed in the draft. That certainly has not changed. We will make a couple of transactions; there won't be a lot of them. The other thing we said as a team was we were not going to be relying on the draft to improve our team. We felt the core group that we had was going to be responsible for taking this franchise forward. And they want that responsibility. They know that any draft picks that come in are going to be helpful, but that the group is the one that we're going to count on."

Q: Doesn't that line of thinking change now that you have the no 1 pick and that you have a superstar out there?

Reeve: "Yeah, it does, Tim. You hate to make projections. Anything can happen between now and then. You want all the players to stay healthy. Potentially we have a starter in the No. 1 position. Again, there's a lot of time that has to pass. We could be in June and our No. 1 pick could be our starting small forward. It could happen where that's not the case as well. I would certainly plan in the direction that the No. 1 pick would be the starter."

Q: For you as a rookie head coach last year, what is the single most important thing that you would like to change in yourself for the upcoming year?

Reeve: "You know, I think the winning the game part. I took to heart the loss of so many close games that would have gotten us over the hump. I want to do better in those situations. What would I do differently? There are a lot of situations - call a different play, have a different group in there. I think overall, I want to grow as a coach and I think a lot of that has to do with having great players, too. Having players that can win games when they're on the line. That can win games for us. We improved a lot as the season went a long, and putting teams away and having that mentality.... For me personally, I take ownership for everything that happens with the team. I'd like to win more close games."

Q: Cheryl, you had so many injuries to deal with and so many crucial ones - one would get healthy and then another injury. At this point, how do you project Seimone and Candice? Do you think that they'll be ready for the start of next season?

Reeve: "Well there's no doubt that they'll be ready. I mean Seimone is playing great. For her, she still needs to get back to that 100%; the basketball that she was playing prior to the injury. And you know she's playing overseas now, taking steps. The next step, you know, let's get rid of the brace, and that ACL process. Seimone will be ready. She'll be better than she was this past summer. There's no doubt about that. Candice, time will tell. For how young she is, an Achilles injury, it should not be a problem for her to get back on the court. The only question you have there is everyone is different, in terms of their timeframe. But, all the timeframes would put her in a position to be ready when we play in June."

Q: I know Candice and Seimone are probably in your core group right now. Who else would you put in there?

Reeve: "Eh, probably not something I want to get into right now, Roman."

Q: How would you characterize the organization's relationship with Nicky Anosike?

Reeve: "I would classify it as one that the situation happened and it's over with and we move on. We're not holding anything against her. I can't speak for her, but I would classify it as an OK relationship."

Q: What are you thoughts on the depth of this draft?

Reeve: "I think we would classify it as a deep draft. The depth in the post is one that's kind of unique. I think that's how we look at it. The number of 6'4 and 6'5 players that we have coming into the league that are going to be top picks. I don't know if we've seen that, in terms of the depth of the bigs. I think that's what makes it an appealing draft, because we are always looking to bolster our front line. So it's a good draft from that perspective. Ya know, as far as how deep it is, we always like to say it's a deep draft, and I think it's important that these college players have the respect of WNBA coaches. There's a lot of talent there. We only have 12 teams, 11 jobs on each. How many will truly make an impact? I think we're looking at a similar situation that we have seen in the last few years. Only a handful that will really make an impact in our league. And we happen to be getting one of them."

Q: What was the reaction of the other gms and coaches around the league when it was announced that the Lynx would have the No. 1 pick?

Reeve: "Honestly, I didn't look at anyone else. I watched Donna Orender speak the words "Minnesota Lynx No. 1 Pick." I let out a big yulp. I hugged our folks. I was oblivious to anyone else in the room. To be honest with you. between the dude that was dropping the balls, and Donna Orender... I heard Minnesota, and was like "Whooaa! Roger was calm, cool and collected as he always is."

Q: Besides Liz Cambage, are there other foreign players that may have a first-round impact?

Reeve: "To be honest, none that I know of. Not in the first round. I think there are some very quality European players eligible in the free-agency process, rather than the draft. I don't know if we will see too many of the international players."

Q: Last year the Lynx had high expectations. Looking at your roster again, it would be reasonable for fans to have those same high expectations. What would you say to someone to temper those expectations a bit given what you guys went through last year?

Reeve: "Well, I think the biggest thing is again, having been in the trenches with this group, we haven't done anything yet. On paper, we're talented. I think learning to win together is the biggest thing in this league. That's why we thought it was really important to keep a core group together that know they're going to be on the court a lot together. This past season we learned a lot. Shortly after the season ended, we would have liked a crack at getting it going again. There were a lot of things... Unfinished business. We felt as if we were a good team. We just didn't win games together. I think that's the biggest thing. We have to bring it together in a hurry. Take that core group that learned so much last year and put that together with a couple of high draft picks. We have to learn how to win games together fast. That's the biggest thing - It doesn't just happen just because you have a roster with some pretty good names on it. It certainly improves your chances. I think health is a big thing. Looking at, just this time last year, becoming the Lynx coach in September, looking at the roster on paper, again some high expectations. Every team is a key injury away from those hopes being dashed. We definitely had our hands full with that. We keep our fingers crossed that we stay healthy and if we bring it all together, it should be a great summer in Minneapolis."

Q: Do you think moving the season back to June will help you at all in terms of preparing for the season?

Reeve: "No question about it. Everyone being in camp on time, getting quality time together. No question about it. That's one of the things I'm looking forward to. It was pretty rough last year. Being a first-time coach with the Lynx, the players were trying to get a hold of what I wanted to do. Trying to learn about each other. Players trickling in, players getting hurt. All that played a factor in how the season went. I've been doing this for 10 years, and a quality training camp usually leads to a quality season."

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