One question going into Wednesday night’s 2019 WNBA Draft was how the Minnesota Lynx were going to replace and restore not one, but two WNBA All-Stars with the absence of both Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore for the upcoming summer.

Were the Lynx going to focus more on the offensive end and go with a mix of guards and wings early on in the draft or were they going to focus on stockpiling in the post and providing a solid presence next to former MVP Sylvia Fowles?

When things were all said and done, Cheryl Reeve and company did a little bit of both, while even throwing in a feel-good story at the end of the night.

Taking the Huskies Forward at No. 6

The Lynx opened up their night by taking Napheesa Collier, a 6-foot-2 forward out of Connecticut.

Collier appeared in all 38 games for an impressive UConn team that went 35-3 this season, leading the team with a double-double average of 20.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game.

Along with leading the way for the Huskies in scoring and on the boards, Collier also led the team with a solid field goal percentage of 61.2 percent en route to winning first-team All-American honors as a senior.

Collier immediately steps into a role and fills a hole for the Lynx that is currently left open with the absence of Rebekkah Brunson, who will miss the start of the season while she continues to recover from suffering a concussion at the latter part of the 2018 season.

Even if Brunson is able to return in a timely manner for Minnesota this season, Collier will fit nicely alongside her and Fowles in the post. This also would allow Brunson to likely start to see her minutes dialed back and possibly transfer more into a bench or role player type role for the Lynx.

Two Picks, a Trade and a Gopher

Minnesota continued on in the draft by holding three picks in the top half of the second round, consisting of the Nos. 16, 18 and 20 overall picks. It finished the night off with having one pick in the third round, the No. 30 overall pick.

With pick No. 16, the Lynx went with Jessica Shepard, a 6-foot-4 forward from Notre Dame.

Much like Collier, Shepard is a solid post presence who will help Minnesota continue to shore up its post depth heading into the upcoming summer.

As a senior, Shepard led the Irish by averaging a team-high 10.3 rebounds in 38 games, finishing second behind Arike Ogunbowale on the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game. Shepard, who played 29.7 minutes per game, led Notre Dame with a 59.4 shooting percentage.

With the No. 18 overall selection, the Lynx selected Natisha Hiedeman, a guard from Marquette University. But that’s where the night got interesting with movement involving Minnesota.

It was announced shortly after the selection was made that the Lynx had agreed to trade the draft rights for Hiedeman to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for young guard Lexie Brown.

Brown, a 5-9 guard out of Duke who wrapped up her rookie campaign with the Sun in 2018, appeared in 22 games in Connecticut a summer ago. In a limited role averaging 5.6 minutes a game, she tallied 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.5 assists per contest, shooting 31 percent from three.

Shortly after that, with the No. 20 overall pick, Minnesota picked up another guard when it drafted Cierra Dillard from the University of Buffalo.

Dillard is a 5-9 guard who has the ability to hurt you from anywhere on the floor, especially from deep. During her senior season, she averaged 36.6 minutes in 34 games with a team-best 25.2 points, team-high 5.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 steals. She shot 38.6 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three, recording a team-high 105 three’s on the year.

Dillard obviously helps the Lynx when it comes to being able to spread things out on the floor and hurt a team from behind the arc, something Reeve said the team was trying to focus on heading into the draft.

Dillard could potentially fit into a roll that was held be Renee Montgomery in the backup guard position before she left in free agency prior to the 2018 season.

With the No. 30 and final pick in the draft, the Lynx stayed within the state of Minnesota and picked Kenisha Bell, a guard from the University of Minnesota.

The Golden Gopher and Minneapolis native led Minnesota under Lindsay Whalen with a team-high 19.1 points per game this season. In 34.8 minutes per game, she shot 39.4 percent from the field and averaged 5.9 rebounds per contest.

The decision to draft Bell was a cool gesture made by Reeve and company and now the Minnesota native will have her shot at showing the Lynx if she has the ability to stick around in the WNBA.

Depth and Offense

Overall, although the Lynx didn’t make any moves or any big splashes on draft night on Wednesday, they were able to build some depth and offense as they head into the 2019 season.

Reeve said in Tuesday’s pre-draft press conference that they wanted to build some depth in the post, especially with Brunson’s status unknown, and Minnesota wanted to add some shooting.

With Collier and Shepard, the Lynx were able to add some valuable and potentially solid post players who can contribute right out of the gate.

With Dillard and Brown, Minnesota gets two guards that have the ability to help the team stretch and spread the floor to allow those post players to go to work in the paint. They also provide a much-needed boost from three.

With Bell, whether she’s ultimately able to find herself on the roster at the end of training camp or not, the Lynx provide a really cool story of a player getting drafted by her hometown team.

It was a rather calm night filled with multiple picks for the Lynx, but one that should give them a boost as they prepare to make another run at things this summer.

Full WNBA Draft Results

First Round

  1. Las Vegas Aces – Jackie Young, Notre Dame.
  2. New York Liberty – Asia Durr, Louisville.
  3. Indiana Fever – Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State.
  4. Chicago Sky – Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn.
  5. Dallas Wings – Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame.
  6. Minnesota Lynx – Napheesa Collier, UConn.
  7. Los Angeles Sparks – Kalani Brown, Baylor.
  8. Phoenix Mercury – Alanna Smith, Stanford.
  9. Connecticut Sun – Kristine Anigwe, California.
  10. Washington Mystics – Kiara Leslie, NC State.
  11. Atlanta Dream – Brianna Turner, Notre Dame (traded to Phoenix)
  12. Seattle Storm – Ezi Magbegor, Australia.

Second Round

  1. Phoenix Mercury – Sophie Cunningham, Missouri.
  2. New York Liberty – Han Xu, China.
  3. Chicago Sky – Chloe Jackson, Baylor.
  4. Minnesota Lynx – Jessica Shepard, Notre Dame.
  5. Dallas Wings – Megan Gustafson, Iowa.
  6. Minnesota Lynx – Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette (traded to Connecticut for Lexie Brown)
  7. Los Angeles Sparks – Marina Mabrey, Notre Dame.
  8. Minnesota Lynx – Cierra Dillard, Buffalo.
  9. Connecticut Sun – Bridget Carleton, Iowa State.
  10. Dallas Wings – Kennedy Burke, UCLA.
  11. Atlanta Dream – Maite Cazorla, Oregon.
  12. Seattle Storm – Anriel Howard, Mississippi State.

Third Round

  1. Indiana Fever – Paris Kea, North Carolina.
  2. New York Liberty – Megan Huff, Utah.
  3. Chicago Sky – Maria Conde, Spain.
  4. Indiana Fever – Caliya Robinson, Georgia.
  5. Dallas Wings – Morgan Bertsch, UC Davis.
  6. Minnesota Lynx – Kenisha Bell, Minnesota.
  7. Los Angeles Sparks – Angela Salvadores, Spain.
  8. Phoenix Mercury – Arica Carter, Louisville.
  9. Connecticut Sun – Regan Magarity, Virginia Tech.
  10. Washington Mystics – Sam Fuehring, Louisville.
  11. Atlanta Dream – Li Yueru, China.
  12. Seattle Storm – Macy Miller, South Dakota State.
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