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Aces aren’t in rush to find help at point guard as Jackie Young excels

Updated May 30, 2024 - 7:24 pm

The Aces plan to sign a new addition soon, and amid the stellar play of Jackie Young, there’s a chance the player might not be a point guard.

Before the defending champions embarked on their first road trip of the season, coach Becky Hammon said the team would look to add to the roster within the next “week to 10 days.”

The team defeated the formidable Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday with just nine healthy players, as five-time All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray and guard Kierstan Bell remain sidelined with lower leg injuries.

The Aces also waived rookie guard Dyaisha Fair on Sunday, trimming the roster from the league maximum 12 to 11. When asked about the decision Wednesday, general manager Natalie Williams said that the team’s ideal acquisition is “not necessarily a point guard. Just someone experienced.”

“Unfortunately, we had to waive someone to bring someone else in,” Williams added. “We’re obviously not looking to replace any of our starters. We just want some more bench help, especially with Chelsea being out right now. So really, that’s it. Just getting some more help in regards to scoring and defense off the bench.”

The Aces’ lack of emphasis on signing a point guard could be attributed to Young’s success filling in at the position instead of her normal role as a shooting guard.

Young, a two-time All-Star and the 2022 WNBA Most Improved Player, is leading the league in assists per game (8.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5.14).

Gray, nicknamed the “Point Gawd,” has been out since the title-clinching Game 4 against the New York Liberty in the 2023 Finals with what was initially described as a left foot injury. Williams maintained Wednesday that Gray remains “day to day,” adding that there is no timeline for her return as the team monitors her progress.

Gray has said that she won’t be out for the entire season, while Hammon often emphasizes that the 2022 Finals MVP is taking things “slow.”

‘Point Demigawd?’

During the win over the Lynx, Young recorded 19 points and 10 assists as she facilitated the offense. The performance was a point shy of her fifth consecutive game with at least 20 points and six assists. She and the Dallas Wings’ Arike Ogunbowale in 2019 are the only players in WNBA history to accomplish the feat in four straight games.

Before the win, Hammon referred to Young as “just a perfectionist, at the end of the day.” Young lived up to that title postgame, as she made it clear that moving away from her normal role has had its growing pains.

“I didn’t know I was gonna have the ball in my hands this much going into the season, and so that’s been a bit of an adjustment,” Young said, adding that she has benefited from watching more film and gaining confidence from the team’s trust in her.

“My teammates give me a lot of grace. I’m no point guard at all, but I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help our team win.”

While Young doesn’t view herself as a point guard, she’s on track to become one of the best in the league’s record books.

If her assists per game hold through the end of this season, she’ll break the Aces’ franchise record Gray set last year of 7.3. Her assist-to-turnover ratio would be the best in WNBA history.

You have to wonder, is there a chance fans might start calling Young the “Point Demigawd?”

Contact Callie Lawson-Freeman at clawsonfreeman@reviewjournal.com. Follow @CallieJLaw on X.

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