2022 WNBA season preview: Beyond Sylvia Fowles, questions abound for the Minnesota Lynx

A year back, it appeared like the Minnesota Lynx were carrying out a star shift from Sylvia Fowles to Napheesa Collier. Collier, a 2019 All-Star and Rookie of the Year, was coming off a second-group all-WNBA season in the bubble when she led her team to a semifinal defeat versus the ultimate champ Seattle Storm. Meanwhile, Fowles was restricted to 8 overall video games that year and seemed on the other side of her prime at 35 years of ages.

But in 2021, Collier’s performance took a small dip while Fowles securely gained back control of her super star status, making Defensive Player of the Year honors for the 4th time while likewise filling out as backup center on Team U.S.A. to win her 4th gold medal. The Lynx completed as the no. 3 seed in the routine season, and though Minnesota lost in single removal, once again to the ultimate champs, Fowles was right back in the discussion for finest huge in the league.

And that is where Fowles and the Lynx stand at the start of 2022: she is the leader of this group and perhaps the very best center in the WNBA, an amazing task considering this is her last season as an expert basketball gamer.

What can be anticipated in Sylvia Fowles’ last trip in the WNBA?
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE by means of Getty Images

Nevertheless, though Minnesota has Fowles has an anchor, the remainder of the lineup remains in flux. Fowles has a larger load to bring in her last trip as Collier is set to miss out on the start of the season while pregnant. The Lynx generated Angel McCoughtry for supports, however McCoughtry missed out on last season with a torn ACL and was on a minutes limitation for all of 2020 as she continued to recuperate from an injury to her other knee that cost her the 2019 season.

Elsewhere in the Lynx frontcourt, Damiris Dantas is still handling a Lisfranc injury and Rennia Davis — not even a lock to make the last lineup in spite of being the 2021 no. 9 choice —has yet to play in the WNBA after missing her novice season with a tension fracture in her foot. Cheryl Reeve, still using the coach and GM hats, states that Natalie Achonwa has actually had a strong training school, and Jessica Shepard stays in the mix, so there are some choices at power forward in spite of the prolonged injury list.

The great news is that Minnesota has plentiful border skill. Layshia Clarendon manned the point successfully in 2015, balancing 10.4 points and 5.7 helps per video game, practically quickly entering the beginning function after being waived by the New York Liberty. Clarendon’s backup, 2020 novice of the year Crystal Dangerfield, lost a few of her mojo in year 2, and her little stature sought to take a toll on her ending up. But Dangerfield can still shoot, which has a function on a group with a dominant post center.

On the wing is where the Lynx truly shine. The abovementioned McCoughtry can toggle in between both forward areas and displayed in the bubble that she might still command an offense — her throwback efficiency in the WNBA semifinals was a crucial factor Las Vegas advanced previous Connecticut. Kayla McBride was McCoughtry’s colleague on that Aces team, supplying the experienced area to deal with her shooting gravity; McBride’s 3-point volume and precision enhanced in her very first year in Minnesota, and her scorching shooting portions with Fenerbache in 2021-22 recommend larger and much better things to come for the Irish graduate. Aerial Powers complete the trio, and utilizes her strength to crash the offending boards and get to the nasty line.

The components are there for a bully-ball group with size inequalities at every position that controls the glass and overwhelms challengers with its physicality. That was the theory a year back, however spacing was an issue throughout — Clarendon and Powers, to name a few, don’t precisely require to be secured outside the paint. And injuries consumed at the Lynx all season.

Depth stays an issue for Minnesota. The frontcourt problems have actually been highlighted, McBride will get here late from Europe, Powers was restricted to 14 video games a year back, and the Lynx can just bring 11, consisting of Collier. Some time stays for the group to carry out a salary-clearing trade, comparable to the offer last offseason to dispose Odyssey Sims’ agreement.

For now, under the present cap restraints, essential shooters like Bridget Carleton and Rachel Banham will be defending a lineup area with Davis. Carleton has actually been important to Minnesota with her size and shooting, a practiced function gamer who fits around everybody, yet it’s tough to see the Lynx cutting bait with Davis prior to she even plays a video game.

Minnesota Lynx v Chicago Sky

The expense is coming due for the Lynx, which implies they’ll likely need to bid farewell to a minimum of among Rachel Banham and Bridget Carleton.
Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE by means of Getty Images

Maybe Carleton and Davis each exceed a gamer like Dangerfield. However, we’ve seen how Minnesota’s offense can collapse without constant point player play, and it’s unreasonable to not offer Clarendon a genuine backup, unless Reeve has amazing faith in the ballhandling capability of Powers.

There are factors to be doubtful of the Lynx determining how to win with an injury-prone and possibly shallow lineup, even with Fowles in the center playing a few of her finest basketball. Then once again, individuals have actually been passing over Minnesota since Maya Moore stepped away, and the Lynx merely continue to win. Reeve directed Collier to near-immediate fame when her 2019 group was pegged as a lotto group; Minnesota pulled out of the enormous complimentary firm costs spree of 2020 and still wound up in the WNBA semifinals; with Collier out for the foreseeable future, the Lynx are when again off the nationwide radar, yet it’s tough to think Reeve and Fowles won’t figure it out again.

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