When looking around at some of the Minnesota Lynx players at Training Camp throughout the week, I was a bit confused at times.
“Wait, this isn’t the team I covered last season…”
No, like seriously. There were two players from last year’s team practicing and only one other player had previous WNBA experience.
Reporters looked around and looked up and down from the roster list.
“Asya and Asia? Is Reeve trying to confused us here?”
“Is that Tan White?”
There were plenty of new faces.
No, the Lynx didn’t lose Lindsay Whalen, Janel McCarville, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Dev Peters this offseason. The five are busy fulfilling their overseas commitment. Another player from last year’s squad, Monica Wright, is out for an estimated 6-8 weeks after undergoing left knee surgery.
This might not seem like the ideal situation for the defending champions. More often than not, a team that just won the title the previous year sticks with the names that got them there. The fact of the matter is, some of these rookies in camp won’t make the team.
But these young players are getting a chance that not many players get. A chance to impress. Right now,first-round pick Tricia Liston is getting plenty of playing time in Training Camp, along with other rookies Christina Foggie, Damiris Dantas, Asia Taylor and Asya Bussie. They are getting coached by three of the league’s best coaches in Cheryl Reeve, Jim Petersen and Shelley Patterson.
Even if some of these young players don’t make the team, the learning experience is something that’s invaluable.
In this week’s “Reeve Report” with Reeve (creative title, we know), the coach said that some of these rookies are getting solid playing time, but are also getting “false confidence.” She said it in a somewhat joking tone, but that statement is 104 percent accurate.
If Dantas thinks going up against Bussie is tough right now, or vise-versa, just wait until the two have to battle Brunson on a daily basis. That sounds miserable. I’m getting bruises just thinking about it.
The team is set to get Peters back in practice today, but it’s doubtful she’ll see a lot of time (if any) against the Australian National Team on Monday night at the Target Center. If I had to guess, Reeve will play a lineup that looks like PG – Lindsey Moore, SG – Tan White, SF – Maya Moore (probably sparingly), PF – Damiris Dantas and C – Waltiea Rolle.
I’ve heard some good things about Taylor as well and I expect her to get a good run on Monday as well.
The thing is, how well do you have to play in that game to earn a spot on this team’s roster? I’m not sure if there’s an answer for that question. There are 16 players on the roster right now. The roster size of a team has been increased to 12 after the new CBA agreement last offseason. A team can still have 11 players on its roster to create flexibility and before Wright’s injury, you had the feeling the Lynx were favoring that. Now with Wright’s injury, the team would have just 10 healthy players and if Wright is going to be out for the full 6 to 8 weeks her injury suggests she is, having five bench players isn’t ideal.
Then again, the team did it at times last season. If I remember right, that season ended up working out decently for the Lynx.
The roster will likely start to take shape after tomorrow night’s exhibition against Australia. Make sure to check into Lynxbasketball.com for all the updates.
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