So, Minnesota clears it’s frontline and loudly declares it’s looking for post help in the draft only to select…a point guard. Say what?
Well, if Renee Montgomery (pictured right) is on the board would you pass her up? OK, three teams did, including Chicago, which selected another point in Kristi Toliver. Not that Renee Montgomery is going to be a Jordan-esque slip, but the Lynx selecting her over the posts they were looking at was smart.
Minnesota began last season 5-0 only to drop off and finish two-games outside the postseason picture. They could challenge this summer, but have a good leader to grow with in Montgomery. In the past, coach Don Zierden had to coax Seimone Augustus to be more vocal. The All-Star was willing, but with Montgomery, it’s innate. Now some of the pressure is off Augustus, who can focus more on playing her game with Montgomery being sure to get her (and Candice Wiggins) the ball.
And Montgomery has a good veteran to help with the transition in Kelly Miller, who helped lead Phoenix to the 2007 championship.
The Lynx are still an afterthought. Zierden said his team pitched deals to big-time free agents like Tina Thompson and Lauren Jackson, but “they think we’re a young team and some of these girls want to win right now. I understand that, and we want to get to that point in a few years. We’re not there yet, we’re a young team trying to move forward.”
The frontline needs credibility, trading pieces Vanessa Hayden and Nicole Ohlde. Minnesota’s other draft pickup, F Rashanda McCants, is another selection, however. Between her, fellow rookie Quanitra Hollingsworth, returnee Nicky Anosike, and trade additions Christi Thomas (Los Angeles) and LaToya Pringle (Phoenix), the Lynx have one of the most agile frontcourts in the league.
But Minnesota will remain a ways off from being one of the Western Conference contenders until those bigs gain some experience and possibly weight.
“Last year, one of the areas we weren’t very good at was rebounding,” said Zierden, whose team ranked seventh in the league in rebounding at 33.6, giving up 35.6 to opponents. “We’re looking at players who can help us do that.