Not long ago, the Twins were making the playoffs regularly and the Vikings seemed to be on the cusp of the Super Bowl. And the Lynx? The Lynx were mediocre. Sometimes terrible.
It's hard to believe now, but it's true. The one team in town now that is a consistent winner -- and one of the few that we can remember in any sport in Minnesota history that consistently just looks better than its opponent -- used to be pretty awful.
From their inception in 1999 through 2010, the Lynx had two winning seasons. They made the playoffs in both and bowed out in the first round both times. That's it. They had back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2006-07. Even in 2010, the year before this run began, they were 13-21. Remember the summer of 2010? Target Field opened, the Twins won 94 games and the Vikings were full of confidence after narrowly missing the Super Bowl with Brett Favre the year before.
What happened? Well, with the Twins and Vikings it is well-documented. The Vikings swung down, then back up, and are now in something of a holding pattern like a bad Dennis Green Calcutta Clipper. The Twins swung down, swung and missed and here we are.
But the Lynx? Well, they became the WNBA's version of the San Antonio Spurs. They drafted Seimone Augustus No. 1 overall in 2006, but she was still evolving as a player and didn't have enough of a supporting cast in the early years. She missed most of 2009, which helped doom the Lynx that season but helped them win the draft lottery for the No. 1 pick in 2010. They traded that pick as part of a deal to Connecticut for Lindsay Whalen and the No. 2 pick, which turned out to be Monica Wright. They also nabbed Rebekkah Brunson in the WNBA dispersal draft before the 2010 season. All have been key players for the Lynx during their run to three consecutive WNBA finals, including what could be their second title after going up 2-0 last night against Atlanta.
But the Lynx weren't good right away in 2010, and that gave them the top pick again in 2011. That turned into Maya Moore. Presto, a dynasty is built.
A little bit of luck, a little bit of good timing and a lot of dedication. That has turned what used to be one of the worst franchises in this market into the one sure thing we have going right now.