Sky at Lynx
6:00 pm CDT
It’s the start of another season for the Minnesota Lynx, as they once again embark on a campaign full of promise. Led by perennial MVP candidate Maya Moore, with a group of veterans that have won titles and had immense success over the last several years, the Lynx tip off against the Chicago Sky at their temporary home in St. Paul while Target Center undergoes renovations.
In large part, the Lynx are bringing back the same squad that lost in game five of last season’s Finals to the Los Angeles Sparks. The starting lineup will remain the same: Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus in the back court, Moore, with Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles up front.
One of last season’s revelations, forward Natasha Howard, returns as well after a remarkable season in which her offense blossomed in her first summer in Minnesota. Veteran back up guards Renee Montgomery and Jia Perkins are also expected to see regular time, along with another veteran addition, Plenette Pierson.
Heading into last season, I had the following questions about the Lynx:
- Had they crossed the line from “veteran” to “old?”
- Did they have the depth to make it through the season, and would coach Cheryl Reeve use her bench effectively?
- Did they have enough three point shooting?
As we head into this season, two of those questions remain. They had another great year last year, and only failed to win a second consecutive title by the thinnest of margins, but certainly several of the key players were down from their primes. In particular, the back court is not young. There were times last season when it looked like father time was catching up with them, but every time I mentioned something about it, Whalen would make me look like an idiot.
Still. The Lynx are extremely reliant on players well into their 30s, and eventually it comes to an end. Given the last two seasons—a title and the closest possible miss, along with the best record in the league last year—I’m not going to complain about them bringing it back again to give it another go. They are still among the most talented teams in the league, and you keep going for it until you can’t anymore. One of these years, it will become clear that it’s time to move on; hopefully that isn’t this year.
The bench, which was a real concern in previous seasons, was much better last year, thanks in large part to Howard, who backed up both big spots and showed an expanded game from her years in Indiana. Her two-way play was a huge part of the Lynx success last year, and they also got significant contributions from Montgomery and Perkins, who were terrific as defensive counterparts to the more offensive minded starters. I expect the depth to be a strength again this season, and we’ll see what Pierson can add to that group.
Three-point shooting remains a real issue, with only Moore a real threat from deep among the players expected to be in the rotation. With the league moving to more and more three pointers, it’s a real weakness for the Lynx. The really need to dominate inside to make up for the lack of perimeter marksmanship. This was one of the differences between the Lynx and eventual champion Sparks last season, and it wound up costing them in the end. Whether they can win with such a limited three-point game is something to watch this season.
The Sky come in a different team this year, having traded former MVP Elena Delle Donne to the Mystics this winter. They are going into a rebuilding phase, and are likely to struggle this season. They are led by veteran guard Cappie Poindexter, but feature a lot of inexperienced players on the roster.
It will be interesting to see how the atmosphere differs for the Lynx at the Xcel Center, after regular large and loud crowds at Target. Hopefully the old fans follow and they can find some new ones East of the river.
The Lynx are fantastic to watch—talented, smart, competitive. I hope you have a chance to either tune in or attend in person this season. I find it incredibly entertaining, and I highly recommend it.
Enjoy the game.