Here are three things to watch as the Lynx begin their WNBA season:
1 The acquisition of center Janel McCarville in an offseason trade should fill the void created by Taj McWilliams-Franklin’s retirement. At least on the court. From the moment she arrived, McCarville has shown the signs of what makes her game special, especially with her passing ability out of the post. But McCarville missed two WNBA seasons. Aches, pains and injury during camp limited her ability to blend in with the team and get into game shape; coach Cheryl Reeve said Wednesday that McCarville’s minutes might be limited in the early going. McCarville needs to get up to speed quickly for the Lynx to get off to a strong start.
2 McWilliams-Franklin might be harder to replace as a leader, though. She was an on-court coach, never afraid to say what was needed, whether it was popular or not. The remaining veterans have to increase their leadership role with McWilliams-Franklin gone. “That has been on our minds, and in conversations with our remaining captains,” Reeve said. Look for Seimone Augustus in particular to step up her leadership role.
3 With guard Candice Wiggins gone to Tulsa as part of the three-team McCarville trade, Reeve and the Lynx will need to establish a new rotation. Most importantly, Monica Wright — the first guard off the bench — will have to embrace her role and excel in it. Lindsay Whalen is the only veteran pure point guard on the roster. Reeve will have to be creative with how she uses her bench. Wright, Amber Harris and Devereaux Peters are the top three reserves. It will be interesting to see how Reeve constructs her backcourt combinations.