Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is probably getting pretty good at making adjustments on the fly.
A Lynx team used to stressing continuity during a season has had some pretty big shakeups this season. First they had to incorporate guard Anna Cruz into the mix after she got to Minnesota in early July after playing for the Spanish national team. Then they had to put Renee Montgomery into the system when she was acquired in a trade last week.
And Tuesday: All Star center Sylvia Fowles had her first practice with the team. She will have a shoot-around Wednesday morning and play for the first time this season Wednesday night.
So what should we expect?
Keep in mind that Fowles hasn’t played since returning from China over the winter. She has tried to keep in shape, but hasn’t played. So Reeve, perhaps trying to temper immediate expectations, said she didn’t know how much Fowles would be able to play right away. Indeed, she wouldn’t even say whether Fowles would start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Sparks.
“She’s trying to learn what we do,” Reeve said after practice. “I thought she fit in really well. I think the players around her enjoyed the options that present themselves with a 6-6 player. But, more than anything else, I want her to ease her way into things. I don’t want it to be disruptive to us.’’
So what does that mean? More than likely the Lynx will ask Fowles to focus on defense and rebound to start, and let the offense come when it comes. During her press conference Tuesday afternoon, Fowles said that’s exactly what she plans to do. But, when asked whether she was ready for the rigors of a WNBA game she said, “We shall find out.’’
So expect some spirited defense. And look for the Lynx – who can now put a backcourt of Fowles, Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson on the floor – to become an even better rebounding team.
On offense, I’d say Fowles will get most of her points off her own offensive rebounds or on pick and rolls with her rolling to the basket.
Wednesday’s game figures to be very interesting , with both Fowles and Sparks star Candace Parker both making their season debuts. Parker took the season off to this point to get healthy.
It should be a very interesting second half of the season for the Western Conference. The Sparks are in last place, but they figure to make a run. Phoenix has been playing well and Tulsa is still in the mix.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you before Wednesday’s game. Have a good day.