Lindsay Allen is about to enter her sixth WNBA season.
A 5-8 point guard, Allen has seen a lot. She has resided closer to the end of the bench, where minutes are hard to come by. She has been a starter, which she was 21 times for Las Vegas in the WNBA's COVID-19 bubble in 2020.
She has been at home, waiting for a call, hoping for a job, which she was doing late last season when the Lynx first offered her a seven-day contract in late July.
"You never know what can happen,'' Allen said after a Lynx training camp practice. "You can go from playing one, two minutes to playing 20, 25. In this league you have to stay ready.''
Opportunity is in the process of kicking Allen's door in. After impressing during a nine-game stay at the end of last season, Lynx president of basketball operations and coach Cheryl Reeve brought Allen back this year, this time as a starter.
It is an enormous opportunity, which is great. And it's also a lot of pressure.
"Exactly, exactly,'' Allen said. "But I think, like any basketball player, you relish the opportunity to just be in a WNBA training camp, be able to compete against top players, compete for a spot.''
Quite a lot hinges on how well Allen plays.
Here's how the Lynx point guard situation sets up: Allen is the expected starter, with Rachel Banham — who has the flexibility to play both on and off the bell — as her backup. Then, as anyone who watched Friday's preseason-opening victory over Washington saw, there is the added element of Tiffany Mitchell.
Signed as a free agent during the off-season, Mitchell is more of a two guard, whose specialty is getting into the paint.
But Friday, especially as the Lynx rallied late, it was Mitchell with the ball in her hands. From the moment she signed Mitchell, Reeve has been talking to her about decision-making once she gets dribble penetration. Specifically discouraging Mitchell from taking hard-to-make shots over bigs in the paint while encouraging her to kick the ball out. Mitchell finished Minnesota's 72-69 victory with nine points and a team-high six assists.
In Banham the Lynx have versatility and a splendid outside shot. In Mitchell, an attacker.
"Lindsay was our best point guard [last year] in terms of being able to calm a team, direct a team, put the ball on her hip,'' Reeve said. "We counted on her in some close games when maybe there was a little bit of chaos. Lindsay is the one who would calm us.''
In nine games the 5-8 Allen averaged 6.7 points and 3.4 assists in less than 15 minutes per game. She made 52.6% of her shots and a surprising eight of 14 threes; in the season finale she hit six of seven threes and scored 26 points.
Lynx associate head coach Katie Smith had Allen in New York when Allen was a rookie, a second-round pick out of Notre Dame. Reeve got good reports from former Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer about Allen from her time there. So Reeve wasn't surprised by what Allen was able to do in her short stint last season.
But this year it's different. "She has to shift her mind-set from a reserve role, at the end of the roster,'' Reeve said. "This is a different responsibility.''
But Allen believes she's ready.
"It's all about confidence,'' she said. "Being confident in who you are.''
- The Lynx waived guards Stephanie Watts and Kiana Williams. Watts was the 10th pick in the 2021 draft by Los Angeles, and Williams was the 18th overall pick in 2021 by Seattle.