The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have been rivals for the last few years. On the 22nd of April they became trade partners when they swapped guards Odyssey Sims and Alexis Jones.
On the surface this is a trade which does not make sense. Odyssey Sims is a high volume scorer (career 12.8 ppg) who almost helped propel the Los Angeles Sparks to the 2017 WNBA championship. Alexis Jones, on the other hand, is a back-up point guard who has never started a game in the WNBA and has a career scoring average of 2.9 ppg.
However, as with all moves and trades made at the upper levels of competition, an in depth analysis shows that there is more to this trade than meets the eye.
Why the trade works
In under two weeks general manager Cheryl Reeve has made two moves which will make coach Cheryl Reeve’s job a whole lot easier. The first move was to trade Natisha Hiedeman, a second round pick, for last years number nine pick, Lexie Brown. However, the Sims move was even better for the franchise.
To turn Alexis Jones into Odyssey Sims is nothing short of a masterstroke, and is a move which may go a long way to saving what could have been a very poor season for the four time champions. The Lynx have lost massive talent through retirement, personal reasons and long term injury, Sims and Brown go a long way to replacing this talent.
Sims is a volume scorer, she averaged 16.7 ppg in her rookie year while playing for the Tulsa Shock. While she has never been able to match this output in the next four years, Sims is dangerous from the mid range. The biggest knock on her is her shooting from the perimeter, where she has only shot above 30 percent once, again in her rookie season.
However, putting that to one side, Sims is a career 39.0 percent shooter from the field and averages 3.6 assists per game over her five years. While these numbers are not going to replace what Lindsay Whalen bought to the team, her competetive spirit will certainly help. Who can forget those heated exchanges beteween Whalen and Sims in the 2017 Finals.
However, it is another intangible while Sims brings which has this scribe the most excited. Yesterday I wrote an article stating that Lexie Brown was going to win most improved player. This is mainly due to the exceptional talent that she has and the lack of competition she was going to have at the point guard spot. Now with Sims there, Brown is going to have to work even harder to show coach Reeve she deserves the spot.
With every good aspect of a trade, there is also a negative. Jones has been in the Lynx system and knows what is expected of her. Yes she has only played very limited minutes but given the retirement of Whalen, who was the heart and soul of the Lynx, this would have been the time for someone who knows the system to step up.
However, this is only a minor negative as the quality of ball produced by Sims should easily negate not knowing the system. Where Jones has the advantage over both Sims and Brown is her ability from deep. Jones is a career 34.2 percent 3-point shooter comapred to Brown (31.0) and Sims (27.4).
The Lynx have been looking to improve from deep so that they can space the floor more effctively so that double teaming 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles is more difficult. This is especially relevant since the Lynx are without the service of Maya Moore for the season who is a career 38.4 percent shooter from deep.
However, with that being said, the positives far outweigh the negatives in this deal for the Lynx who were able to get the deal done thanks to Moore’s max salary not being on the books. GM Reeve has managed to pull of a steal with this trade.