May 14, 2024 - Sports

Lynx 2024 preview: A crucial season in Minnesota

Naphessa Collier talks to her teammates in a huddle

Minnesota Lynx star Napheesa Collier talks to the team after a preseason game against the Chicago Sky. Photo: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The spotlight will be on the WNBA this season, but it's not clear yet if the Minnesota Lynx will get their share of the glow.

Why it matters: With their season tipping off tonight in Seattle, the Lynx have a crucial summer ahead. A stumble out of the blocks could prompt questions about a roster shakeup.

State of play: The Lynx have one of the league's best players in Napheesa Collier, but the experts aren't sold on her supporting cast.

  • Minnesota has the 9th-best odds of 12 WNBA teams to win the title this year, per Vegas Insider.

What they're saying: The additions of three veterans β€” Courtney Williams, Alanna Smith, and Natisha Hiedeman β€” could help the Lynx improve upon last year's 19-21 season that ended in a first-round playoff exit, said Mitchell Hansen, who covers the team on his "Hitting the Hardwood" podcast and on Canis Hoopus.

What we're watching: If the Lynx get off to a slow start, would head and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve trade away players in order to stockpile assets for a possible move up in next year's WNBA draft to select UConn star Paige Bueckers of Hopkins?

  • Reeve "says all the time that she's not there to tank," Hansen told Axios. "A lot of coaches and front office personnel say that, but she truly means it. She'll do everything she can to make it work with what they have."

Fun fact: Reeve has a busy season ahead of her. In addition to her Lynx duties, she will coach the U.S. Olympic women's team this summer in Paris.

The big picture: Never has there been more interest in the WNBA, thanks in large part to Caitlin Clark. The Lynx are already reaping the benefits, with revenue up 38% over last year and ticket sales up 50%, according to the Star Tribune.

Zoom out: Ticket prices for games involving Clark's Indiana Fever have skyrocketed. The Lynx have opened up second-level seating for their two games against the Fever at Target Center β€” on July 14 and Aug. 24.

  • The league is planning to add teams in San Francisco and Toronto over the next two years.
  • WNBA teams will now fly charter (they were previously flying commercial).
  • With evidence of heightened interest, the league could break away from the NBA to negotiate its own TV rights deal in hopes of increasing revenue for teams β€” and therefore player salaries.

How to watch: Tonight's game is at 9pm on Bally Sports North and ESPN3. The first home game is Friday at 8:30pm, also against Seattle.

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