Draft picks face challenge of making deep Lynx team

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 15, 2013 - 12:27 AM

The WNBA runners-up will pick last in the first round, so depth might be the goal.


Baylor center Brittney Griner will be one of the top selections in Monday's WNBA draft.

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

This time around the Lynx will have to wait.

The WNBA will hold its draft Monday night, and for the first time in eight years the Lynx won’t be one of the first four teams making a pick. That means less certainty and more nuanced preparation for the Lynx, who have the last pick in the first round (12th overall) and the second pick in the second round (14th).

“When you’re up there in the early part of the draft you pretty much know who you can get,” Lynx executive vice president Roger Griffith said. “In this case, there are so many picks beyond the consensus top three and No. 12. A lot of picks could go different ways. There are so many variables, it’s hard to know, to make a good guess, as to who we think we’re going to get.”

The consensus top three are Baylor center Brittney Griner, Delaware guard/forward Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins, with Phoenix a lock to take the game-changing Griner with the top overall pick.

But after the top three? The Lynx will have to see what happens between picks Nos. 4 and 11 before zeroing in on a player.

The team needs include a backup point guard with Candace Wiggins traded away, three-point shooting with Wiggins and Erin Thorn gone and a shutdown defender. Three-point shooting is even more of an issue since the WNBA decided to move the three-point arc back to international length (22 feet, 1¾ inches), though the Lynx were tied for first in the league on threes last season.

But know this: The players taken at Nos. 12 and 14 — the Lynx also have the 24th and 36th overall picks — will have an uphill climb just to make the roster of a team that has one title and two trips to the finals the past two seasons.

Griffith has worked to improve that roster during the offseason. Minnesota traded for center Janel McCarville to replace the retired Taj McWilliams-Franklin. The Lynx signed guard Jacki Gemelos, their third-round pick a year ago, hoping she is past multiple knee injuries. The team also signed forward Rachel Jarry, an Australian star.

Those two signees and Lynx draftees will be competing for two or three roster spots. Even though backup point guard is a need, Monica Wright figures to start the season backing up Lindsay Whalen no matter who gets drafted.

“We would think the top pick would make the team,” Griffith said. “But that person has to come in and win that spot, be in the top 11. And then the next level is playing time. … We clearly have eight or nine [players] who are locks. And then there is probably a group of three or four people who will be competing for those last two or three spots. Some of it on the fringe could depend on the health of some players.”

Griffith said preparation has been focused on examining the group of players who might be available when the team picks and evaluating them against the backdrop of team needs. The possibility of a trade involving the team’s draft picks always is possible, but Griffith said there hasn’t been a lot of talk on that front.

Among the players who could be available with the 12th pick are Kentucky guard A’dia Mathies, Kansas forward Carolyn Davis, Nebraska guard Lindsey Moore, Georgetown guard Sugar Rodgers, Baylor forward Destiny Williams, Penn State guard Alex Bentley, Oral Roberts guard Kevi Luper and Iowa State forward Chelsea Poppens.

The Lynx will have to wait out the first round to find out. Then that draftee will have to buck the odds to get playing time.

“If we get someone who plays a lot of minutes, it bodes well for our team, because that means they turned out to be really good,” Griffith said. “Which means we’re even better.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters