Anyone who watched Maya Moore at Saturday’s preseason game left with a sense of confidence—she hasn’t lost a step over the offseason, and far from tiring her out, her play in Europe has kept her in peak form.
Moore’s familiarity with the Lynx’s playbook allowed her to come into training camp a week late and immediately step back into a leadership role. In addition to this familiarity, Moore’s ability to improvise within the parameters of the Lynx’s sets gives them opportunities to score in unexpected ways.
“Whatever play you put in, you might have a certain play you envisioned, but Maya is so good instinctually she might show you something different that you didn’t consider,” said coach Cheryl Reeve. “She just knows where to be when. You can give her an alignment and say, ‘Hey we’re going to start this way,’ but she might be one of the greatest all time at just moving. There are times when I know she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she’s going to put the defense in a tough spot because she’s not going to just stand there.”
Having Moore back at practice, things got a little louder, and a little more intense. Moore is a great communicator, and a vocal leader on the court for the Lynx. She’s always talking to her teammates, calling out plays, and holding the other Lynx players accountable.
For Moore’s part, she’s just happy to back with the team. After a week of rest following her league championship in Russia, she’s rejuvenated and excited to get going in the pursuit of a fifth championship.
“There’s nothing like just being here,” said Moore. “Being around my teammates, being around the coaches and just appreciating again how special of a group we have.”
While there’s always a bit of an adjustment coming back to camp, the Lynx’s sets this year are relatively similar to last year’s, and Moore also has experience coming into a team midseason from her play overseas, so learning on the fly is nothing new.
“My teammates are doing a great job talking me through little things to help me remember,” said Moore. “A few more days hopefully I’ll be more comfortable.”
Moore will play minutes at both forward positions this season for the Lynx, and she spent time this summer working on her comfort in ball-screen situations. She’s already an excellent shooter, so adding yet another way to get her open as well as another method of facilitating the offense for her teammates will be a nice boost to the Lynx attack.