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Minnesota Lynx face plenty of questions heading into season

The Lynx get a stiff test to open the season, heading to Seattle to take on a perennial title contender, led by Breanna Stewart. That’s not the easiest opener for a team likely trying to figure so much out in the first few games of the season.

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Odyssey Sims returns to the Minnesota Lynx after playing in 2019 and part of 2020.
Jeff Wheeler / Star Tribune / TNS
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Lynx have made no bones about their intentions for the 2022 season. It is to send future Hall of Fame center Sylvia Fowles out with another championship.

But the team’s path to that point seems almost certain to include a few bumps along the way. Because those bumps are already evident before the season even begins. Already Thursday — roughly 30 hours before Minnesota’s season opener in Seattle — the Lynx put out an injury report that reminded everyone that four would-be rotation players were not with the team: Napheesa Collier (expecting her first child), Kayla McBride (overseas), Damiris Dantas (right foot) and Angel McCoughtry (right knee).

Pair the absences with the roster reshuffling that took place this week, with Minnesota waiving Layshia Clarendon and Crystal Dangerfield and signing Odyssey Sims to presumptively run the show.

Given all that, how will the Lynx start this season? Well, that’s anyone’s guess.

Here are more questions facing the Lynx as their season gets underway.

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Early start

The Lynx get a stiff test to open the season, heading to Seattle to take on a perennial title contender, led by Breanna Stewart. That’s not the easiest opener for a team likely trying to figure so much out in the first few games of the season.

Minnesota is trying to avoid a hole similar to the one it faced in 2021, when it started the season 0-4.

The Lynx do get a reprieve of sorts after that. Their home opener Sunday against Washington won’t feature Elena Delle Donne, who is expected to miss the game to rest. After that, Minnesota takes on an Indiana team that won just six games last season.

If the Lynx can keep their heads above water early while they get closer to whole health-wise, they’ll be in a better spot to chase playoff positioning in the latter portion of the season.

McCoughtry’s health

McCoughtry was the most heralded offseason signing for the Lynx. Who better to join forces with Fowles in the veteran center’s final season than another all-world legend?

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Angel McCoughtry is ready for her first season with the Minnesota Lynx.
Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune / TNS

But McCoughtry didn’t travel with the team to Seattle for Friday’s season opener after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection this week in her knee. Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve doesn’t expect the knee to keep McCoughtry sidelined for long; the veteran wing could be ready to rock for the team’s home opener Sunday.

Still, McCoughtry’s season-long health will be something to watch this season. She has struggled with injuries in recent years, and Minnesota needs both the 35-year-old’s defensive presence and shot making to contend at a high level.

Sims’ form

Reeve made a bet on Sims this week, going with the floor general over the likes of the young Dangerfield and injured Clarendon.

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One of Sims’ best seasons as a pro came in Minnesota in 2019, when she earned all-star status while leading the Lynx to the playoffs. But Sims had a disappointing 2021 season in Atlanta, which left her as an unsigned free-agent until this week. Perhaps that was a product of the Dream’s poor structure.

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Rachel Banham scored 24 points and Sylvia Fowles recorded 20 points and 17 rebounds for Minnesota (9-16), which had a three-game winning streak halted.

Minnesota sure hopes that’s the case, because while she won’t be leaned on as heavily this season for production as she was in 2019, the Lynx need Sims to perform at a similar level if she’s to successfully run the show for a contender in 2022.

Powers’ power

If Fowles is the Lynx’s Batman, Aerial Powers needs to be Robin for Minnesota this season.

She looked like that type of player in September of last season, when Powers averaged 18 points a game, shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep all before pouring in 24 points in Minnesota’s playoff loss to Chicago.

The Lynx need a No. 1 perimeter scorer. Can Powers be that on a consistent basis?

Related Topics: MINNESOTA LYNXBASKETBALL
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