The Indiana Fever made a pair of transactions this week to change their ahead rotation for the remainder of the season.
On Sunday, the crew introduced that they have been waiving ahead Lauren Cox. Cox, 23, was the third total decide within the 2020 WNBA Draft by Indiana. The facility ahead from Baylor appeared in 25 video games throughout two seasons for the Fever, together with one begin early in her rookie season.
Cox is a brilliant passer and keen shooter — she has a singular skillset for her place and had a particular influence in the best matchups. However in Indiana, Cox struggled to get minutes.
“We now have a variety of individuals within the publish. At this juncture, we’ve a few vets and a few different individuals,” Fever head coach Marianne Stanley stated when discussing the Cox waiver. “It was laborious to carve out minutes… we didn’t see a path to an entire lot of minutes.”
Accidents saved Cox out of a number of video games throughout her two season within the league, and the Fever had different inside gamers who have been extra deserving of minutes. Teaira McCowan, Jessica Breland, Jantel Lavender, Candice Dupree and Natalie Achonwa have obtained the vast majority of Indiana’s frontcourt minutes since Cox entered the league.
“Lauren was all the time optimistic whereas she was right here. Onerous employee. I’m positive her day trip of the league received’t be lengthy,” Fever guard Tiffany Mitchell stated.
Indiana shortly used the roster spot that was freed up by parting methods with Cox, inking Chelsey Perry to a contract for the remainder of the season simply at some point later. Perry, 22, was the twenty sixth total decide within the 2021 WNBA draft by the Fever and performed for the crimson and blue in the course of the first two video games of the season, in addition to the preseason. She had 16 factors within the Fever’s first preseason recreation again in Might, however she was let go early within the season to make room for Bernadett Hatar’s return from the suspended checklist.
“She knocked down numerous threes within the preseason,” Fever guard Danielle Robinson stated of Perry. “She’s coming in youthful, able to work each single day. Has a smile on her face, all the time keen to be taught.”
Robinson added that Perry, regardless of being let go early within the season, nonetheless stayed shut with the crew all through the season. The roster already has a robust relationship with Perry, which made her re-addition to the crew simple.
“Chelsey had a extremely, actually good coaching camp. That was a troublesome lower,” Stanley stated of letting Perry go early within the season. “In bringing her again, she’s a younger participant with large upside… she’s athletic, she’s fast. In her school years, she had a knack for pulling down photographs.”
That’s an understatement. In Perry’s senior season on the College of Tennessee at Martin, she averaged 22.9 factors per recreation on 50.2% capturing from the sector and 42.2% capturing from deep. She was an impressive scorer, and the Fever hope these expertise translate to the WNBA.
“Simply excited to have her again and on the court docket. Pulling down threes, stretching the ground,” Mitchell stated of Perry.
Perry impressed many within the Fever group all through coaching camp, and her sturdy play within the preseason earned her an early-season roster spot. She performed in each of the Fever’s first two video games of the season, accumulating 9 minutes of taking part in time whereas scoring one level and grabbing one rebound.
“I’m feeling good… as soon as my first shot when in, I used to be simply snug and relaxed. And I had nice teammates pushing me,” Perry stated after the Fever’s opening preseason recreation.
“Day by day I be taught one thing new. Simply being in follow has pushed me and ready me for the video games. I nonetheless have a methods to go,” she added. In Perry’s first recreation after re-signing with Indiana, she scored 4 factors in slightly below 9 minutes in opposition to the Connecticut Solar.
Whereas the crew’s clarification for this string of transactions makes some sense, there are nonetheless questions in regards to the Fever’s common thought course of. The Fever chosen Cox with the third decide in 2020 — chopping ties with a draft decide that prime after simply 25 video games is perplexing.
Waiving a 3rd total decide so quickly alerts a scarcity of persistence from the Fever. Cox’s growth could have been slowed because of her accidents and a crowded rotation, however permitting her to have the suitable time to point out why she was well-regarded as a WNBA prospect is sensible for a rebuilding crew like Indiana. Cox has already been scooped up by the Los Angeles Sparks and performed a career-high 19 minutes in her first recreation with LA — she already showcased that she will help a crew proper now. That solely provides to the questions that the Fever might want to finally reply about letting her go.
Is the Fever’s scouting course of poor? Or is participant growth not occurring? It’s noble for a franchise to maneuver on from a participant that doesn’t match their plans — merely holding a participant as a result of they have been chosen with an early draft decide isn’t good enterprise. However Indiana brass recognized Cox as a gifted participant only one season in the past, and 14 months later they launched her. Someplace between the scouting and participant growth processes, one thing went sideways, and the Fever want to determine what that was.
If the Fever actually wished to maneuver on from a participant to deliver again Perry, they may have moved on from Jessica Breland, who’s taking part in on an expiring, unprotected contract. Breland has performed effectively for the crimson and blue this season, significantly on the glass, however she is 33 years previous and on a one-year deal. It’s laborious to think about she is within the rebuilding Fever’s long-term plans. If the Fever desperately wished Perry, that they had different choices to clear a roster spot aside from shifting on from Cox.
Indiana should not have seen a future for the Baylor product on the crew. Which will transform the best selection, however the means of getting there generates some questions. Both manner, Perry was spectacular in her first recreation again with the Fever, pulling down two photographs and grabbing a steal in her time on the ground. If her pace and scoring matches in effectively with the crew, then Indiana might be higher off for this string of transactions. However these strikes will probably be hyper-analyzed, and the Fever entrance workplace is betting that they work out of their favor.