2006 In Review
What Went Right
They definitely draft right. The Minnesota Lynx chose Seimone Augustus with the number one overall pick in last year's WNBA Draft. Although her team finished with the second worst record in the league (10-24), her offensive performance gave the Lynx some claws. Augustus led her team and was second in the league in scoring (21.9 ppg). She was also tops on her team in field goals made (283) and field goal percentage (45.6%). She went on win the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award for her tremendous poise and talent, and was even voted onto the Western Conference All-Star Team.
The Lynx were competitive for much of the season before falling out of the race in the second half. This young, talented team has been thrown into the fire and is learning on the job. Center Vanessa Hayden and forwards Kristen Mann and Nicole Ohlde get better every year and have another veteran alongside them this year to help them grow. The Lynx chose forward [Tangela Smith]] in the Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft and she can play both the center and forward positions. She averaged 13.1 ppg last season with Charlotte, is athletic and versatile and will make an immediate impact in the starting lineup.
What Went Wrong?
The Lynx are smack in the middle of a massive rebuilding process. Gone is the old guard of veterans like Katie Smith, who helped the Lynx get to the playoffs in 2003 and 2004. Another victim of the overhaul was coach Suzie McConnell Serio, who left the team before the end of last season. As a result, the Lynx struggled to their worst regular-season record ever.
Hayden, with three seasons under her belt, blocked a bunch of shots, but the rest of her game was lacking. She entered training camp 20 pounds overweight, lost her starting spot and often found herself in foul trouble. Consequently, her averages in points and rebounds decreased from 2005.
Teammate Ohlde experienced similar frustrations. In 2005, she averaged 11.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 2.3 apg. But those numders dropped in 2006, falling to 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 1.6 apg. Ohlde spent time this past season at the center position rather than at her natural position of power forward, which could explain the drop in her numbers. Most importantly, the fact that Ohlde had to play out of position reflects a poorly assembled Lynx roster, with little depth at the center position.
As a team, the Lynx struggled on both ends of the floor. Augustus was the only player to average in double-digit points per game and the team struggled from the free throw line. Defensively, the Lynx finished with the fewest steals per game (5.7). Minnesota also struggled to win away from home, winning only twice on the road.
Looking Ahead To 2007
Recognizing a need for change, the Lynx hired Don Zierden as the new head coach along with a new set of assistant coaches. Zierden has experience in the NBA as an assistant coach, yet has not been a head coach in the WNBA. How does he take the pieces he has inherited and put them together in the tough Western Conference?
Two players from the 2006 roster will not join the journey that Zierden will lead. In November, Hayden revealed that she was expecting her first child and would likely not be returning for the 2007 season. Tynesha Lewis announced her retirement after playing six years in the WNBA. Last season with the Lynx, Lewis averaged 2.4 points and 10.6 minutes in 19 games. The losses of these two players may work for or against the rebuilding Lynx. It will give the organization room to manipulate a problematic roster, but the loss of veteran players at a point where leadership is crucial may affect the team negatively.
Guard Chandi Jones, who was acquired in the Katie Smith trade from Detroit at the end of 2005, missed the 2006 season with an injury. She is expected to be back in 2006, though her role is another key question for Minnesota.
Minnesota has the fourth selection on April 4, and for better or worse, there will be another young lineup on the floor for a Lynx squad looking to get back on the prowl.
|Seimone Augustus||21.9||Tamika Williams||5.6||Amber Jacobs||3.4|
|Nicole Ohlde||9.6||Nicole Ohlde||5.6||Kristen Mann||2.8|
|Amber Jacobs||8.2||Adrian Williams||4.7||Nicole Ohlde||1.6|
The Minnesota Lynx began their WNBA life as an expansion team during the 1999 season. In 2003 the Lynx made the playoffs for the first time before falling to the Los Angeles Sparks. The Lynx look forward to a promising 2007 campaign lead by last season's Rookie of the Year, Seimone Augustus. Read More...
|Target Center||1999 - Present|
Glen Taylor - Owner
Rob Moor - CEO
Chris Wright - President
Don Zierden - Head Coach
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