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Lynx trade 11th pick for Anna Cruz

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Minnesota goes all on on the title chase

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With Maya Moore in her prime and Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Janelle McCarville all past 30 now, the Lynx don't exactly have a wide open window for another championship run anymore. Which is why they traded their picks for more immediate help.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LosLynx?src=hash">#LosLynx</a> traded its 11th, 23rd and 28th overall picks in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WNBADraft?src=hash">#WNBADraft</a> to the Liberty for G Anna Cruz and the 16th and 35th overall picks.</p>&mdash; Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) <a href="https://twitter.com/minnesotalynx/status/588855881141465089">April 17, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Brittney Griner changes the floor of a WNBA game, in the way that Rudy Gobert changes it in the men's game. In 2013, the Lynx swept the Mercury out of the playoffs, as rookie Griner struggled with the new experience (10 ppg on 53% shooting, 6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks)

By the 2014 playoffs, she had it figured out. Griner came in as the reigning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and trounced the Lynx, averaging 20 points (67% shooting !!!!!!), 7 rebounds, 3 blocks over three games. The Lynx barely cracked 40% shooting that series, as Griner almost entirely eliminated their paint scoring.

Diana Taurasi - for reasons that should be highly debated - is not playing in the WNBA this season, but Griner still is and the Mercury, who also still have Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree, figure to once again be the Lynx foremost rival for the championship. They're going to run into Griner again, and it looks like they've learned their lesson: shoot better. The Lynx shot just 27% from three in their 2014 series against the Mercury. They need to do better if they want to get back to the Finals.

Anna Cruz averaged 7.7 points/game for the New York Liberty last year. Most importantly, she shot 35% (17-49) from the great beyond. By percentage, that would have made her the second best 3pt shooter on the Lynx last season (behind Tricia Liston) and third by volume (behind Maya Moore and Tan White) Cruz figures to be the first guard off the bench now, and can add some much-needed firepower at the most crucial times.

The catch is Cruz is playing for the Spanish National team's Olympic Qualifyer in June, so she'll miss the team's first 10 games or so. But in the long run, that's fine. Remember, this team has plenty to run the general table. They don't really need extra versatility for the season; they need specific skills for specific situations that get them into trouble, and they need it before the window closes. As a shooter and not-a-rookie, Cruz helps address that need.

Also, Ricky Rubio approves, and damned be the man who doesn't agree with the Spanish Unicorn on such matters.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Spanish power!!! Bienvenida a Minnesota <a href="https://twitter.com/annacruz_15">@annacruz_15</a> <a href="https://t.co/RNAwq9kJ5Y">https://t.co/RNAwq9kJ5Y</a></p>&mdash; Ricky Rubio (@rickyrubio9) <a href="https://twitter.com/rickyrubio9/status/588857514910883842">April 17, 2015</a></blockquote>

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(Seriously. I will send you to The Wall)