After sending Scholanda Robinson to San Antonio yesterday, it might seem clear what Tulsa Shock coach Nolan Richardson is going for in adding Betty Lennox: volume shooters who are capable of creating their own scoring opportunities.
And of course, with Ivory Latta, Italee Lucas, and Andrea Riley already in the backcourt, one might immediately want to remind Richardson that the WNBA is still only playing with one basketball at a time.
However, here's the interesting wrinkle based on Lennox's performance last season - although she only played 11 games, she shot less than she had in her career (career-low 20% usage rate), she had the highest true shooting percentage of her career (55.5%) and had her highest 3-point percentage (36.1%) since 2001. In other words, she had the most efficient scoring year of her career.
But that might not be what's most important to the Shock - in shooting less, Lennox was also a significantly different style of player last season.
Lennox went from a pure scorer in 2009 to a more well-rounded perimeter player in 2010 and the primary reason for that was that she also passed the ball at a higher rate than normal and had by far the best pure point rating of her career at 3.39. With an assist ratio of 23%, Lennox was essentially putting up point guard-like numbers last season and was a more efficient distributor than anyone on Tulsa's roster.
Why might that be important for a team that just added a 6-foot-8 center through the draft?
Someone needs to get the ball into the post and Lennox was a more efficient distributor than any point guard on the Shock last year. Even if she isn't necessarily able to play starter's minutes based on her valuable contributions ratio in 11 games, if she maintains anything close to her performance from 2010 with the Shock this signing could be more significant and beneficial than it first seems.
The fact that Betty Lennox is from Oklahoma cannot be discounted in this situation and certainly seems to make sense on her end. But she could make a practical, if limited, contribution on the court as well.