Lynx Make Magic, Again, By Landing Robinson

Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate

On Tuesday, the Lynx moved to acquire three-time All Star guard Danielle Robinson in a trade with the Phoenix Mercury. The Lynx sent the Mercury their 2018 first-round selection and received Robinson and Phoenix’s 2019 second-round pick in return.

After losing Renee Montgomery to the Atlanta Dream in free agency, the Lynx needed a strong backup guard. They may have found a perfect fit with Robinson. Robinson is known for her speed and quickness, which allow her to blow by defenders on offense, drawing help and creating open looks for her teammates. These same traits also make Robinson a disruptive presence on the defensive end. She averaged a team-leading 1.1 steals per game in her first (and last) season with Phoenix and was named to the WNBA All-Defensive Team three times (2012, 2013, and 2014). The addition of another dynamic backcourt defender will only bolster the superb defense the Lynx have built on the frontline with Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore.

Robinson was drafted by the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces) in 2011 and played with the team until 2015. However, she was forced to sit out the entire 2016 season after having surgery for an Achilles injury. She was traded to Phoenix before the start of the 2017 season. For a player who places a high value on mobility and quickness, a serious Achilles injury could have been a career-defining problem, but Robinson has bounced back nicely. She scored 6.9 points to go along with 2.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 23.5 minutes per-game last season. Robinson is no longer affected by her injury—in an interview with ESPN, she said, “The pain is gone. I honestly feel like I’m 18 again.” With her injury behind her and having had a full season to get her legs back under her, Robinson should be ready to hit the ground running with the Lynx. Robinson is also playing abroad in Hungary this offseason with UNI Gyor.

In addition to providing a strong presence off the bench for the Lynx, Robinson has a chance to make a case for herself as the eventual replacement for the Minnesota-native and fan favorite, 35-year-old Lindsey Whalen. Whalen will always be a Lynx legend, but as much as Minnesota fans might like her to, she can’t play forever. Whalen has already shown signs of scaling back, retiring from USA Basketball in February, and she has seen her minutes and points decline over the last four seasons. Backing up Whalen will be an excellent opportunity for the 28-year-old Robinson to learn the Lynx offense and position herself as a potential starting point guard of the future.

The Lynx managed to acquire Robinson without surrendering any key pieces of last year’s championship run, but they will not have a first-round pick in April’s draft. However, they will still have two draft selections—numbers 24 and 36 overall.