Lynx have six picks, few spots to fill on roster

The No. 3 overall choice today is likely to stick, while later selections might draw interest from other teams.

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Roger Griffith (with coach Cheryl Reeve): The Lynx executive vice president likes his roster but said the draft could provide role players.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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The Lynx will select six players in the WNBA draft Monday, barring a trade or two for future picks.

It hardly seems fair, but the reigning league champions have more picks than any team and more quality picks than any team aside from Los Angeles.

The Lynx have two first-round picks, the third and 12th, and five of the top 20, picks stockpiled mostly through trades. Don't expect more than one rookie to make the roster, though.

"If we get surprised, that would be wonderful," said Roger Griffith, the Lynx executive vice president, "but it's not our expectation that anybody other than [No.] 3 will make the team. When we look at the draft, we don't see anyone better than the 10 players we have. This is not a draft of premier-level players. It's more of a draft of role players."

The Lynx have four returning WNBA All-Stars plus center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who turned 41 shortly after their playoff run. "Taj is a phenomenon, and we expect her to be a phenomenal again," Griffith said.

The bench has such veterans as guards Candice Wiggins and Erin Thorn, an offseason addition, and promising young players.

"We feel like we have great balance, have talent and depth at each position," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

As for the team's biggest needs, Griffith lists two: more size inside and a post player who can shoot from the outside. He said a "truly, truly big player" might not be available this year -- 6-8 Brittney Griner of Baylor and 6-5 Elena Delle Donne of Delaware are juniors -- while an outside shooting post might already be on the Lynx team.

Los Angeles has the first overall pick after winning the four-team draft lottery against the longest odds, plus three other picks in the low teens. The Sparks are expected to use the draft's top pick on Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike, widely regarded as the one certain franchise-changing player in this draft.

"At No. 3 we will take the approach of drafting the best player available," Griffith said. "After that, we will draft to fill out the training camp roster. We have not signed any free agents or veterans, because there are not any spots to fight for."

Griffith said the Lynx have narrowed their choices for the third overall pick to two. Of course, he won't offer names. Being too open is a disadvantage when discussing trades.

"It's been fairly quiet on [the trading] front," Griffith said. "But my whole experience says that stuff happens the day of the draft or the day before."

Among the teams most interested in dealing could be San Antonio, which has one pick, or any of the six teams with two.

Most mock drafts by WNBA and women's college basketball analysts are predicting Seattle will take Miami guard Shenise Johnson with the second pick, leaving the Lynx to choose between Tennessee forwards Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson.

"We've seen all the top potential picks," Griffith said. "Various people have watched them by various methods, in person, TV or tape. With Stricklen, she has nice versatility. She is able to play multiple positions. It gives coaches more options. [Glory] Johnson gives you a nice rebounder. A nice consistent player who does not make a lot of mistakes."

Reeve said the Lynx have a great balance of young and veteran players already. "We are going to continue down that road of adding talent," she said, "that I think will be able to stick in the future and try to keep this thing going."

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