Five Reasons To Watch The Lynx Work This Season

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2016 Record:
28-6 (1st in Western Conference; Lost WNBA Finals in 5 Games)

Key Offseason Moves:

Signed Plenette Pierson

Selected Alexis Jones (No. 12) in the 2017 WNBA Draft

2016 Highlights:

Lynx’s Top Plays Of The WNBA Finals

 

Rebounding From Heartbreak

The Lynx were 3.1 seconds from winning their fourth championship in six seasons until Nneka Ogwumike sank the game-winning and championship-clinching shot in Game 5 at the Target Center last October. Rather than dwelling in disappointment, the Lynx are ready to use that defeat as fuel for the 2017 season as Maya Moore described as training camps opened last week.

“It’s something that I don’t think you’ll ever forget. All the emotions. Both teams were easily champions, just one team had to lose,” she said. “The way we lost, obviously it was heartbreaking. It just gives that fire and that hunger and that little chip on the shoulder to fight to get there again. Nothing like life hitting you in the face to make you live life even harder and fuller.”

Odd Year Magic

Since the arrival of Moore in 2011, the Lynx have played in five WNBA Finals and won the championship in each odd year – 2011, 2013, 2015. After coming just seconds away from winning their first even-year title in 2016, will the odd-year magic strike again in 2017?

Championship Window

The Lynx starting lineup of Lindsay Whalen (13 seasons), Seimone Augustus (11), Maya Moore (6), Rebekkah Brunson (13) and Sylvia Fowles (9) has an experience average of 10.4 seasons. Jia Perkins (13) led the team in minutes off the bench and the Lynx just acquired 14-year veteran Plenette Pierson to bolster its frontline. The window to compete for titles is going to start to close on this team soon. Credit coach Cheryl Reeve for keeping her veterans under 30 minutes per game last season in order to keep them fresh for the postseason.

Fresh Legs

While the Lynx have a veteran core, they have added some younger legs to their bench.

Natasha Howard enters her fourth WNBA season after being a key contributor off the Lynx bench last season (6.7 points, 3.6 rebounds in 14.6 minutes). With the final pick of the first round, the Lynx drafted Alexis Jones out of Baylor, who should add additional backcourt depth to support Whalen and Augustus. She is a solid 3-point threat (over 41 percent in each of her last two seasons) for a Lynx squad that finished second-to-last in 3-pointers made (4.0) last season.

Minnesota also acquired the draft rights to Chantel Osahor, who led the NCAA in rebounds and double-doubles last season and is also a non-conventional 3-point threat. How much time these rookies get to prove themselves on the pro level remains to be seen, but if they can contribute right away, it will give Reeve more roster flexibility to keep her stars fresh for another deep playoff run.

Record Watch

Last week, we looked at the WNBA’s all-time leaders and which current players will be able to climb those standings this season. That list was full of Lynx, with Rebekkah Brunson poised to jump to third all-time in rebounding, Perkins on the verge of the top five in steals, Whalen cracking the top 10 in games played and points scored. Whalen is locked into No. 3 on the all-time assists list as only she, Sue Bird and Ticha Penicheiro have over 2,000 career dimes.