Minnesota's 2006 Timberwolves and 2005 Lynx had nearly identical 41 percent winning percentages. The Lynx are in a rebuilding mode after dealing the league's most feared shooter away from their 2004 playoff team. The Wolves face the same kind of near future when they deal Kevin Garnett, or lose him.
The story goes that when the Lynx braintrust went to scout Seimone Augustus, the two-time college player of the year, the only note Lynx coach Suzie McConnell-Serio made on her report was "no. 1 pick". In her first preseason game, Augustus dropped 30 points.
The Lynx has four rookie guards in camp -- they might wind up with a two-rookie backcourt with #7 pick Shona Thorburn at point, unless they are determined at any cost to give the job to Chandi Jones, because Jones is the only piece remaining from the Smith trade.
Australian national Kristi Harrower is the Lynx's six-year veteran guard. She seemed to have the best year of her career in 2005 while starting every game, but her shooting percentages were at their worst . She and Tynesha Lewis look to be the backups, even though the only good thing about Lewis is that she can play four positions.
Center-forward Nicole Ohlde was second to Smith in scoring in 2005, and led the Lynx in rebounding. Center Vanessa Hayden blocks lots of shots. Svetlana Abrosimova has been a steady and unspectacular (10 pts., 4.7 rebs., 2.2 ast.) small forward in her five years with the Lynx.
Power forward Tamika Williams has a pedigree that includes two NCAA championships with Connecticut, and her WNBA résumé includes a record .688 shooting percentage in 2003. Unfortunately, her knee injury on the first day of camp means that Minnesota will have to wait to team her with Augustus.
NWBL connection: Frontliner Adrian Williams has averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds in five WNBA seasons, but she was in street clothes on the Colorado Chill bench. I thought she was an assistant coach.
Eleven players on their roster have two years of experience or fewer. Perhaps McConnell-Serio, the 2003 coach of the year, can build a group led by Augustus and Thorburn into a contender in a couple of years. This year, they'll have trouble early while the rookies are learning and while Williams is out. Another year of 14 wins, maybe fewer, is ahead.