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Lynx Update: Where Are the Guards?

We are well into free agency and the Lynx lack a back court.

WNBA: Washington Mystics at Minnesota Lynx Michael Zamora-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a week since the opening of WNBA free agency, and I kept putting off this update until the Lynx made a signing. Well, the Lynx still have not made a signing, but I can’t to put it off anymore.

So far, the only transaction involving a Lynx player is a departure: Danielle Robinson is moving on to the Las Vegas Aces, which, along with the anticipated absence of Odyssey Sims this season due to her pregnancy, means that the Lynx have lost their starting back court from last season, an area that already needed more depth and talent.

The guard talent on the free agent market has been pretty well picked over, and with Shekinna Stricklen signing with the Atlanta Dream yesterday, another shooter is off the market. The Lynx are in need of talent at both guard spots,

At the moment, the only guards under contract for this season are Lexi Brown, a third year player who was a key reserve last season best known for her shooting, and Karima Christmas-Kelly (a guard-forward type), who was signed last off-season but has missed most of the last two campaigns with injury.

While I’m confident the Lynx have a plan, I can’t say I have any sense of what that plan is. It’s possible that after missing out on the big fish this year, they might take a step back and gear up for 2021, though it’s not like them to do that, and would be disappointing not to do everything possible to take advantage of the presence of Sylvia Fowles, who remains one of the great centers in the league.

But meanwhile, much of the Western Conference has gotten loaded this month. The Los Angeles Sparks brought back Kristi Toliver after she won a title with the Mystics. The Mercury added Skylar Diggins-Smith to their core of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. The Aces signed Angel McCoughtry. Breanna Stewart will be back with the Storm after missing last season with injury. The West is going to be a gauntlet this season, and despite having significant talent in the front court, the Lynx are too thin in the back court to contend.

The Lynx are armed with plenty of cap space but nobody to spend it on unless there are teams out there looking to move salary, which does not appear to be the case at the moment. They also hold the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, though it’s a long shot they could add an immediate quality starter there.

It will be interesting to see how this roster gets filled in around Fowles and Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier.

In Other News...

The Lynx have hired Rebekkah Brunson as an assistant coach. Brunson, who did not play last season but only officially announced her retirement upon accepting the coaching position, will be back on the Lynx bench where she belongs. Brunson is the only player in WNBA history with five championships to her name, and also is the league’s all-time leading rebounder. Her ability to dominate the paint defensively and on the boards made her supremely valuable and very popular. Hopefully she will be just as good a coach and teacher as she was a player.

USA Basketball named their rosters for 3-on-3 Olympic Qualifying. Napheesa Collier will represent the U.S. on the women’s side, along with Kelsey Plum, Allicia Gray, and Stefanie Dolson. 3-on-3 basketball will have its Olympic debut this summer in Tokyo.

There are connections on the men’s side as well, with Robbie Hummel named to the squad after his MVP performance at the 3x3 FIBA World Cup, and Canyon Barry, a member of the Iowa Wolves.