The Lynx picked hometown grrrl Kachine Alexander of Iowa, but formerly of Benilde-St. Margaret's, with their 4th pick of the 2011 draft, then traded for former St. Paul Central star Angel Robinson.
Of course, they also picked arguably the best woman to come out of college basketball in the past 6-8-10 years--Maya Moore, 6-0, F, Connecticut, 2 or 3-time player of the year depending on which award you're looking at, but unanimously so in 2011.
With Moore as good as on board--and Taj McWilliams-Franklin coming a trade for Nicky Anosike--the Lynx now have 6 former WNBA all-stars on their roster and 7 former all-Americans. On paper, this is a team that ought to compete for the WNBA title. Anything less than a 24-10 record will be an indictment of the Lynx' coaching staff. There, I said it.
Projected Starting 5
C- Taj McWilliams-Franklin, 7X WNBA all-star, scored 11 points with 5 rebounds last year (8 points and 9 boards in the playoffs) with the New York Liberty.
F- Rebekah Brunson, 2X all-WNBA, scored 11 points with 10 boards last year with the Lynx.
F- Seimone Augustus, 2X all-WNBA, scored 17 points with 3 boards last year, but was slowed by surgery. Her career averages of 20 points, 4 boards and 2 assists are a realistic goal.
G- Lindsay Whalen, 3X all-star, scored 13 points last year with 4 boards and 6 assists.
G- Monica Wright, scored 11 points with 3 boards as a rookie last year.
When I say the Lynx are loaded, I mean loaded.
Here's the 2nd String
C- Quanitra Hollingsworth, who contributed 2 points and 2 boards last year.
F- Charde Houston scored 12 points with 4 boards a year ago, and Rashanda McCants was at exactly half of that at 6 and 2.
G- Candice Wiggins, already a 4X all-star, she scored 14 points with 3 rebounds and 4 assists last year, but played only 8 games due to injury.
G- Alexis Hornbuckle, averaged 4 points, 3 boards and 2 assists a year ago.
And, finally, that's not even accounting for today's draftees.
The Draft Picks
C- Amber Harris of Xavier, the Lynx' 2nd draft pick at #4 overall. Harris scored 19 points with 10 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocks this year. She is clearly the Lynx' center of the future but this year will be battling Hollingsworth for minutes backing up Taj.
F- Maya Moore, Connecticut and (technically) already all-WNBA. Moore was a member of the U.S. women's national team representing Connecticut and the NCAA, which is technically an all-WNBA team. She scored 23 points with 4 assists and 2 steals for UConn, winning most player of the year awards. I think she'll come off the bench, but she'll be among the team leaders in minutes and will be in the game at crunch time.
F- Second round picks Jessica Breland, a 6-3 forward from North Carolina who scored 12.5 points with 7 boards this year, and Felicia Chester, also 6-3 from DePaul who scored 11 points with 6 boards, will not see much if any time just yet. OK, but this just in. Scratch Breland, who was traded to the New York Liberty for guard Angel Robinson and a 2012 2nd round draft pick.
G- Kachine Alexander, the 25th overall pick in the WNBA earlier today. Alexander averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for the Hawkeyes last year. And, add another local girl to the mix, that of course being Angel Robinson, formerly of St. Paul Central and Marquette. The 5-8 guard averaged 13 points, 5 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals in her senior year.
After Moore and Harris, the rest of the draft picks will not be in a regular rotation.
Left Over and Out
Jessica Adair, Hanchetou Maiga Ba, Kristen Mann
The Lynx Rotation
The Lynx rotation will probably be the starting 5 listed above (Taj, Brunson, Seimone, Lindsay and Monica Wright , plus Harris, Moore, Houston and Wiggins. Some of you may disagree on Wright (starting) and Moore (off the bench). Again, 6 of the 9 are WNBA all-stars.
Again, I said it. On paper, this team can compete for a WNBA title. Unfortunately they don't compete on paper. Last year the Lynx had 5 all-stars and won 13 while losing 21. What's with that?
Well, they had some injuries to Augustus and Wiggins, and Brunson returned from Europe a little late and missed training camp and a few games. Brunson and Whalen were new to the team. Wright was new to the WNBA. Blah blah blah.
There were plenty of excuses. Oh, yeah, here's another one.
Coach Reeves was a rookie, too, and seemed to be overmatched much of the year. In fact the Lynx were a particularly terrible defensive team--and that was with Nikki Anosike, regarded as a defensive star and specialist, at the post. How is coach going to improve the D with a 6-2, offensive minded post replacing a 6-5 defensive specialist? Can Coach Reeves coach defense?
The WNBA Web site says the Lynx needed defense and perimeter scoring in the draft. Well, scoring shouldn't be a problem. But the defense has not been improved...yet.
That's one reason why I don't think the Lynx' roster is stable yet. Another reason WAS the imbalanced roster. I mean, immediately upon completion of the draft there were 10 front-court players and 5 guards, but the Breland-Robinson trade helped to balance that out.
But the main question is whether there's enough talent to balance out an inexperienced and often inept management. It says here the 2011 Lynx will go 24-10. With this roster, anything less will be a disappointment, and will require a massive sweeping out of the Lynx' front office--a sweeping out that will never occur, however.