Throughout the last few seasons, the Minnesota Lynx have seen a decent amount of roster turnover from a squad that put together one of the more dominant decade-long runs in WNBA history.
With the somewhat recent departures of all-time Lynx greats Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Maya Moore, multiple new faces have flooded the roster with some new players stepping into large roles both in the starting lineup and coming off the bench.
Going into the 2020 WNBA season, whenever and wherever that actually takes place, Minnesota will once again have some new players who will have to step up and take charge within the depth chart in order for the team to return to the postseason once again this summer.
This offseason, the Lynx have already brought in new faces to the team such as former Minnesota Gopher guard Rachel Banham, post Kayla Alexander, guard Linnae Harper and guard Shenise Johnson via either free agency or through the trade market. In the 2020 WNBA Draft, Minnesota also added forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, guard Crystal Dangerfield and guard Erica Ogwumike.
With 15 players currently on the roster ahead of the 2020 campaign, the Lynx will ultimately have to trim that total roster down to 12 players before the season can tip off. That may result in some of those new faces ultimately not getting a chance to take the floor for Minnesota during the regular season.
For the newest members of the Lynx organization, mainly the three incoming rookies, it will be interesting to see how they are able to transition into the WNBA if they make the final cut of 12 players on the roster.
And one of the biggest keys that should help with that transition branches back to the relationships some of the newcomers already have with current members of the team.
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Sylvia Fowles
When it comes to Herbert Harrigan, who was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 Draft, she already has a history with Lynx post Sylvia Fowles stretching back to AAU basketball.
During her AAU career, Herbert Harrigan played for Sylvia Fowles’ AAU traveling team in Miami and has always looked up to the Lynx star throughout her playing career.
“It’s pretty surreal because I grew up watching (Fowles). I played for her travel team, Team Fowles,” Herbert Harrigan said. “I always looked up her and it’s just crazy that I got drafted to play on the same team as her.”
For Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve, Herbert Harrigan was a player her staff obviously had their eyes on leading into the draft, resulting in taking her at No. 6 overall. But perhaps the most intriguing part of the addition of the forward was the mentorship she will now receive from Fowles and the rest of the Lynx coaching staff in 2020 and beyond.
“I love the comfort level there. … Syl hasn’t had a lot of interaction with Kiki, but I’m just looking forward to that mentorship that Kiki is going to get. I think that is going to be really important for her,” Reeve said. “We thought she had some upside and we think that she is someone that has a pretty decent ceiling.”
Crystal Dangerfield and Napheesa Collier
As far as incoming guard Crystal Dangerfield, who Minnesota was able to select in the second round of the 2020 Draft, there is one player in particular she is the most excited about potentially playing with on the Lynx roster during her rookie season.
That being Minnesota forward Napheesa Collier, who played with Dangerfield for three seasons at Connecticut before they both ultimately made the jump into the WNBA.
“Playing with Phee again is going to be fun,” Dangerfield said. “She makes my job easier and hopefully I can make her job a little easier and help her out, too. I’m definitely looking forward to that.”
Leading up to the draft, Collier was lobbying for Reeve and the coaching staff to pick her former college teammate with one of Minnesota’s two draft picks. After finding out the Lynx did indeed select Dangerfield, Collier was thrilled to learn she would once again be able to team up with the guard.
“I was so excited. I called her almost right away. I really wanted to play with her, so I was just really excited we got her and to play with her again,” Collier said in an interview with Zone Coverage. “It’s not like I’m not close with other people on the team, but I played with Crystal for three years so I know her a little bit better and we know each other’s games. We mesh really well both on the floor and off and obviously have the UConn connection, so it will be nice to get back together.”
What Dangerfield can bring to the team, both on the court and off, is what most intrigued Collier about the idea of playing with her once again in the WNBA. The second-year forward believes Dangerfield could be a great addition to the team in 2020 and in the future.
“She’ll be an asset because I think the point guard position is somewhere we need to fill. I think she’s a really good point guard and sees the floor really well,” Collier said. “She’s really just a true point guard and I think that’s exactly what we need. I’m excited to play with her.”
In a time of transition for any franchise in professional sports, having relationships that are already established among incoming players and current players certainly helps through that period of change.
And while Minnesota looks to take another step in its transition as a franchise this season, relationships and familiarity with the incoming rookies and some key players already on the team will certainly help while they adapt to the new life of a professional athlete.
“I think once you get comfortable with people, especially off the court, it helps on the court. I think we have a great group of people where you form those connections quickly,” Collier said. “Last year, Syl was one of those people who, if I ever had a question, I knew I could come to her. She was really open and welcoming from the beginning, and that’s what forms that trust and that connection within teammates. We all have the right personalities to do that.”