With WNBA free agency calming down now a month into the signing period, few teams in the league have done a better job at attracting free agents than the Minnesota Lynx. Coming into the offseason with plenty of cap space available to bring in a few players, head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve did just that to round out the roster.
After signing the Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers, and Natalie Achonwa shortly after the free-agency signing period kicked off, Minnesota has arguably its deepest and most complete roster since it last won a WNBA title in 2017. And the Lynx are ready to be in the conversation for title favorites in 2021.
“When Cheryl told me about all these pieces, it’s just like, ‘How can we not win a championship?’” Powers said in her introductory press conference. “(Reeve) is playing chess, not checkers. When it comes to the longevity of our team, we can win championships on championships.”
Going into the offseason, Minnesota already featured a roster that managed to finish fourth in the WNBA in 2020, notching a 14-8 regular season record while advancing to the semifinal round of the playoffs where they fell to the eventual champion Seattle Storm.
The team saw the likes of Napheesa Collier, Damiris Dantas, and Crystal Dangerfield make steady progression in the starting lineup a year ago to mix well with the dominant Sylvia Fowles in the paint. Minnesota also filled gaps around that core with some role players who will continue to get playing time in the rotation in 2021.
Now the Lynx have added three additional players to the mix — both in the starting lineup with All-Star caliber talent and off the bench as solid reserve players — to take yet another step towards potential title contention.
In 2021, the starting lineup for Minnesota will likely feature Dangerfield at point guard, Powers and McBride at the two wing positions, and Collier and Fowles filling out the frontcourt. Behind them, the second unit will mainly feature Rachel Banham, Lexie Brown, Bridget Carleton, Jessica Shepard, Dantas, and Achonwa.
Talk about talent and depth — just two of the things Minnesota’s roster will feature in 2021 and beyond with that group of players. There is also a nice mix of youth and veterans on the team that will likely set them up for success beyond just this summer.
“I’m here to add to the players who are around us. It’s about how I can complement who we already have,” McBride said shortly after she signed with Minnesota. “Sylvia Fowles is still on this team, Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield, who was Rookie of the Year, Dantas. There’s so much talent on this team already. … It was a no-brainer to be a part of something like that.”
Just a few years ago, the Lynx were viewed as a team that could go into a full rebuilding mode after players from the team’s dynasty stretch departed. But Reeve and Minnesota didn’t want any part of that rebuilding process, and the aggressive approach to this offseason is one example of that.
Now the Lynx have gone from having playoff hopes the last few years to being one of a handful of legitimate title contenders this year and beyond.
“There’s no such thing as a rebuild in Minnesota,” Achonwa said. “That is a big piece of why I wanted to come to Minnesota is I want to win. I would love a championship. … I would love to bring that home and win a championship in the WNBA, and that is a now thing.”