Day 7: Cashing In Their Insurance Policy
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The Minnesota Lynx are “cashing in on their insurance” early this season.
The defending champions have avoided injuries like people avoid kale juice over the last few years. That streak ended last week when wing Monica Wright had knee surgery to clean out her left knee.
While the Lynx would much rather have Wright on the court than off it, they already had a backup plan. The day after the WNBA Draft, the Lynx signed nine-year veteran guard Tan White to a deal.
At the time, head coach Cheryl Reeve thought she would be an insurance policy if anyone would get hurt and a positive veteran presence on the bench. Reeve says she wasn’t aware of Wright’s injury when the team signed White.
That signing now looks incredibly smart. Or incredibly lucky. Probably a combination of the two.
Something else ironic about this situation is that Reeve and others have pointed out how the two players are a lot alike each other, even though White is six years older than Wright is.
Both players are combo guards that play with a high energy coming off the bench. They can score the ball, but they can also defend at a high rate.
Last season, the Lynx moved Wright to the backup point guard, as well as having her play the shooting guard and small forward position. Reeve said calling White a point guard gives the vet “hives”, but early in camp, it looks like the team will try to give her some opportunities to play the 1.
“When we signed Tan, we did talk about the versatility to play the 1,” Reeve said. “That’s what we want for all of our guards, and that’s what we talked to Tan about.”
White is joining a Training Camp roster that’s been invaded by rookies. That won’t be the case for long, as Minnesota’s veterans will be done fulfilling their overseas commitments soon. Still, it’s a bit weird for White, a nine-year veteran, to be a “new” veteran on this team.
When White came into camp, she was asked why she chose the Lynx as a free-agent. Chances are, White had a few more offers during the offseason and could have probably played more minutes on a few squads.
White said plain and simple. She came to the Lynx because she wanted to win. Tough to argue with being the Lynx have appeared in three straight WNBA Finals and have won two of them.
“I just thought for the last couple of years this team has done a really good job with being consistent with some of the things that they did,” White said. “Championships. They’ve been winning. That’s what it’s about.”
The soon-to-be combo guard has played her last five seasons with the Connecticut Sun. Previous to that, she played four seasons for the Indiana Fever. Her best season came in 2010 when she averaged 10.1 points per game while playing 25.2 minutes per game. Last season, she averaged 9.2 points while playing 25 minutes per game.
One thing that should excite fans is that White is very familiar with coming off the bench. That might sound like a silly thing to say, but a lot of veterans come to new teams saying they want to win. While that’s probably true, playing time is still important to them. White has appeared in 286 games in her career and has started 71 of them. She’s averaged 22.7 minutes per night and has been a sparkplug off the bench for most of her career.
Reeve thinks that that’s what she’ll offer the Lynx not only on offense, but on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“I always have taken pride in defense. Just to come in and contribute in any way and play hard and show my teammates the effort that it takes,” White said.
With Wright out for at least the near future, White will have plenty of opportunities for the defending champions and if the Lynx do make another trip to the WNBA Finals, White will be a big part of it.
“I’m here for whatever role they need me to fill,” White said. “I’m here. If it’s point guard, two guard, three guard, whatever this team wants me to do, that’s what I’m here to do.”
Sounds like the type of player that will fit right in with the Lynx.
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