27-7, 1st in Western Conference, WNBA Champions
Perhaps no team has been as visible in the draft in recent years than the Minnesota Lynx – they have five players that they selected in the top five of the draft on their team, including last year’s No. 1 overall pick Maya Moore. This year, the defending champs yet again have an embarrassment of riches in terms of draft selections. The Lynx, after trading Nicky Anosike to the Washington Mystics for Taj McWilliams-Franklin and a first round pick, amazingly ended up with the third overall selection in the lottery after Washington unexpectedly finished with the league's second-worst record. But that's not all. They also are one of only two teams with two first-round picks and they have a league-high six picks, including five in the first 20. The draft, subsequently, is a prime position for the Lynx to get even better – a scary proposition to the rest of the league.
The Lynx, as evidenced by their dominating season in 2011, have no discernible weaknesses as their roster has very little turnover heading into 2012.
“It’s nice to bring back nine of eleven players and to add an experienced player like Erin Thorn and to throw in a few draft picks,” said Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve, in what may be the biggest understatement of this young WNBA season so far.
Anybody Minnesota adds in the draft will fall more under the luxury category than necessity. The Lynx scored the third most points in the league (81.5) and yielded the second least (73.6). They shot a league-best 46 percent from the floor and held opponents to a league-low 41 percent.
So, what do you draft for the team that has everything? You could look for Minnesota to add another physical presence in the paint – something you can never have enough of – like Tennessee’s double-double machine Glory Johnson. Or, they may just be looking to add another supremely talented player on the perimeter to complement Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus. Among the other prospects being talked about at No. 3, and the ones that Reeve expect to be in the mix, are Johnson’s teammate Shekinna Stricklen, Miami’s Shenise Johnson and Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis.
Later in the draft, the Lynx will have a lot of options with their abundance of selections. They could look to deal picks to teams that are lacking selections, like San Antonio or Chicago, or, if they do not make any moves, they will be looking to address the needs that the staff, only after nit-picking, can find.
“Once you get past the first round it becomes positional,” Reeve said. “You go best players available in first round and then after that you look for positioning needs to balance out your rosters for training camp.”
All in all, the Lynx have to feel as good as any team entering the 2012 season. They are the defending champs, they return all of their core players and they have arguably the best bundle of draft picks for any team.
Yes, the rich are getting richer.
--Anthony Oliva, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
|1. Maya Moore||2. Monica Wright||4. Renee Montgomery|
|4. Amber Harris||3. Kelsey Griffin||9. Quanitra Hollingsworth|
|13. Jessica Breland||26. Gabriela Marginean||15. Rashanda McCants|
|14. Felicia Chester||30. Emily Fox|
|26. Kachine Alexander|