What is Cheryl Reeve thinking? We’ll know soon
As far as WNBA offseasons go, this winter has been one of the most memorable. Already great teams like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix made moves to solidify themselves as contenders for the eventual season. Recent champions like Seattle and Washington have also done well for themselves.
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Unfortunately for Lynx fans, the offseason has meant more frustration than excitement. Maya Moore, who announced her 2020 plans, and Odyssey Sims, who has yet to do so, are not expected to play during the 2020 season. Danielle Robinson and Seimone Augustus departed in free agency. These losses happening concurrently with rivals bolstering their roster leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Don’t think that because the Lynx missed out on top free agency and trade targets they will pack it in. It’s evident from Cheryl Reeve’s pre-draft media availability that she feels her team isn’t that far away. Here’s what we learned about the Lynx’s approach ahead of draft night.
Reeve doesn’t think they need to hit a home run
When asked about her confidence in her roster with a likely shortened season and no Moore, Reeve didn’t seem concerned long term. Reeve rightfully pointed out the Lynx still have Sylvia Fowles, calling her the best center in the game, and shouting out Sims, Napheesa Collier, and Damiras Dantas.
Reeve is right. This Lynx team is still talented and any team who doesn’t bring their best against them any given night would be mistaken. Not that Reeve had to name her entire roster but the Lynx have valuable role players like Jessica Shepard, Lexie Brown, Stephanie Talbot, and Ceci Zandalasini.
While the Lynx found the Rookie of the Year one year ago with the sixth pick, they also know that isn’t the norm. Expect the Lynx to look for the best player available and one that can fill a role for the team.
Are the Lynx thinking point guard?
One look at the Lynx roster will tell you where the need is. With Sims sitting out and Robinson in an Aces uniform, the Lynx will need to address the position. Even if the Lynx think Brown can play lead guard, she’s going to need a backup.
Reeve was asked how she thinks UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield’s game will translate to the pros. Aside from the glowing remarks, Reeve mentioned that she thought Dangerfield is the point guard taken after South Carolina’s Tyasha Harris.
Unless Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter is still available, that the Lynx may prefer Harris to Dangerfield at No. 6. Although, Reeve did praise Dangerfield for her ability to defend and shoot 3’s– two things that would help the Lynx.
Reeve did say that Dangerfield would need the right situation where she could develop as a reserve. Is it wild to say that’s Minnesota? Not necessarily. If the Lynx know they return Sims or Moore one year from now, having a back up with some experience is beneficial.
Speaking to the Minnesota media on Tuesday, Reeve did say that she was “pretty sure” that a rookie would not start at point guard for the Lynx in 2020. However, she did add that if they selected a point guard they deemed to be the solution going forward that it can be beneficial to jump right in, take your lumps early and “get where you’re going.”
It will be interesting to watch how the first round shakes out for point guards beyond Sabrina Ionescu. With Carter, Dangerfield, Harris, and Te’a Cooper all projected around the mid-first round, there are many possibilities.
Could the Lynx trade the pick?
While Reeve didn’t comment on this, ruling out the possibility of trading the pick feels ill-advised. If we look at the Lynx’s history, they usually think big despite this past winter. Robinson, Sims, and Brown were all players plucked out bad situations.
What happens if the draft plays out unexpectedly or another team calls for the sixth pick? The Lynx could use an opportunity like this to move up for a player they didn’t expect to be in the mix for or acquire a veteran to help now.
The Lynx don’t need to act in desperation on Friday. They can be patient in knowing they have a good roster already with talent likely returning down the road. Since Reeve spoke about choosing the best player available, it doesn’t feel outlandish that the team would consider a trade if that returned the best player and the deal made sense.
The draft is a second chance
Expecting any professional sports team to have a great free agency and draft every offseason is unreasonable. Teams can’t make players sign with them, nor can you predict how a draft prospect’s career will go. There is certainly a measure of luck that goes into these things.
However, missing in both free agency and in the draft can slow or derail a franchise’s trajectory. While the Lynx have some good pieces, the draft becomes more important because of how free agency played out. A good draft could help fans and observers alike feel even better about the direction of the team.
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