Folks, something special is going on with the other professional basketball team in town. Despite losing their best player for the season (Seimone Augustus), the Minnesota Lynx are 10-7 and earlier this week it was announced that they will be sending two players to this weekend's All Star game in Connecticut: Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston.
What should be interesting about this announcement for those of you who don't pay that much attention to the Lynx is that both players were taken in last year's draft, Anosike in the 2nd round and Houston in the 3rd. If you throw in the outstanding and improving Candice Wiggins, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that before their careers are all said and done with the Lynx could have selected All Stars with each of their 3 picks in the 2008 draft. Had our favorite NBA team had pulled off a similar trick we would all be going bonkers. It's not like the WNBA sends a ton of non-1st rounders to the All Star game. This is the first time since 2001 that 2nd or 3rd rounders have been selected by the league's coaches to participate in the game.
Anosike has been the true revelation with the Lynx in her 2nd season. She is 3rd on the team in scoring and 1st in blocks, steals, assists and rebounds. Not bad from the center position. League-wide, she is just as impressive:
Anosike, a 6-3 center, averages 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and is the only player in the league in the top 20 in all five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Houston, a 6-0 forward, averages 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.
She is also no slouch on the defensive end. Relative to her sport, she's the best professional basketball big in town, or, if you want to bicker about it, easily the most rounded. Oh, she also shoots over 55% from the floor. The only thing she doesn't do is hit from beyond the arc.
If Anosike is at the top of the list on many of the team's statistical categories, Houston isn't far behind. The 2nd year forward from UConn is averaging 14.6 ppg, 1.1 spg, 2.4 apg and 6.2 rpg. In her sophomore campaign Houston has become a reliable performer who is becoming more efficient as the season goes by.
I'll say it again: regardless of your thoughts on women's ball, there is something truly special going on with the Lynx right now. They will probably not win it all this season but they have positioned themselves in a fantastic position with one of the best drafts you could ever hope to see (Wiggins, Anosike and Houston), another solid pick in 2009 (Renee Montgomery) and a future 1st rounder owed to them by the awful New York Liberty. All of this is in addition to the Olympian Augustus. This team has a legit championship core and they play a fantastically entertaining style of ball. They are the best professional basketball team in town. Give the All Star game a peak (2:30 this Saturday on ABC) and do yourself a favor and attend a Lynx game. Here is their schedule. For those of you who have never been to a game before, check out the August 7th game vs. Connecticut. The Sun are a very good team and they are led by former Gopher Lindsay Whalen. If you are a basketball fan, I guarantee you that you will enjoy the game.