12 Days, 12 Previews: Minnesota Lynx
Five keys to a successful season.
The WNBA’s 15th season begins June 3rd and SLAMonline is counting down the days with in-depth previews of all twelve teams.
Prior to the start of each WNBA season (and NBA season for that matter), every writer and blogger in the country compiles extensive (by “extensive” I mean “wordy,” and by “wordy” I mean “tired”) previews analyzing the upcoming year, team by team. It’s just a fact of life. Almost as certain as death and taxes.
The problem, however, is they all look, feel, and say the same exact thing every year (copy and paste). You, the reader, deserves far better. Thus, we’re going through each team discussing five specific things they’ll need for their 2011 campaign to be considered a success.
More importantly, we want this to be interactive – be sure to post your thoughts in the comment section below.
Five Keys to the Season: Minnesota Lynx
By Ben York / @bjyork
Cheryl Reeve coaches one of (if not the) deepest team in the league. The great part is that the entire team is made up of unselfish players who are there to win. Reeve has set clear expectations that the players who perform the best will get playing time. This type of competition is healthy and needed for a team with so much talent.
4. Seimone Augustus: Augustus enters the 2011 season in probably the best shape of her life. After struggling with injuries over the past few seasons, Augustus has clearly demonstrated that she has that bounce back in her step and is ready to lead.
She won’t have to do it all by herself, however; the Lynx has plenty of capable scorers and threats from multiple areas of the floor which should open things up for Augustus even more.
3. Maya Moore: The expectations from Maya Moore are high. Though, with the incredibly talented and deep roster Minnesota has, she is in the perfect position to excel as a rookie.
She won’t have to come in and score 15-20 points per game and literally carry a team throughout the season. This will allow her to get a feel for the professional game without having so much responsibility on her shoulders from the get-go. The Lynx will rely on her on both ends of the floor to contribute but they won’t need her to completely dominate…at least, not yet.
2. Offensive Efficiency: The Lynx averaged 78.7 ppg in 2010 (6th in the league) but tallied just 14.9 assists as a team per game (11th in the league; most of those came from Lindsay Whalen). Furthermore, they were last in the league in team field-goal percentage (39.8) shooting an average of 70 times each night while making just 27.8 of those attempts. They were 11th in the league 3PT field-goal percentage (32.2) and made just 5.0 three’s per game while attempting an average of 15.4.
Much of that was due to inconsistencies in terms of injuries and team-chemistry so I don’t anticipate that being an issue in 2011. Provided the Lynx stay healthy, they should find themselves amongst the league-leaders in multiple offensive categories.
1. Lindsay Whalen: For as good as Lindsay Whalen is, she is still underrated. In a big way.
She averaged a career-high 5.6 apg in 2010 and helped keep this team together in the midst of change and turmoil due to injury. Ultimately, the success of the collective whole is predicated on Whalen’s uncanny passing ability. Having an entire training camp to work with Augustus, Wiggins, Moore, Brunson etc. will help Minnesota come together as a team early.
Look for Lindsay Whalen to have a career-year for the Lynx as she leads them into the playoffs.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll tweet out some of our favorite responses!