On Sunday, the Lynx announced that they had agreed to a multi-year contract extension with star center Sylvia Fowles. The news came as no surprise.
Since joining the team in 2015, Fowles has been a cornerstone player for Minnesota. She helped the Lynx win two championships, winning Finals MVP each time. She’s been named to two All-Defensive First Teams and won the league MVP in 2017.
But Fowles’ contributions to the Lynx go far beyond a surface-level recognition of her excellence. Fowles has been central to the Lynx’s identity over the last five years—her efficiency, defense and leadership have defined this team.
For years, Fowles has been the most efficient player in the league. She has now won the WNBA field-goal percentage crown three years in a row and seven times over the course of her career, shooting over 60 percent from the field in three of those seasons. No other player has led the WNBA in field goal percentage more than twice. Fowles is historically good at putting the ball in the basket.
Fowles’ efficiency makes her a perfect star to build around. She doesn’t need to be force-fed touches in order to produce. She gets a lot of looks on second-chance opportunities and also creates additional looks for her teammates. Fowles is also almost impossible to match up with one-on-one which collapses the floor for shooters. The Lynx had three players—Napheesa Collier, Damiris Dantas and Lexie Brown—turn in franchise top-10 three-point field goal percentage this season. That doesn’t happen without Fowles sucking everyone into the middle of the floor.
The Lynx also finished this season second in defensive rating, third in true shooting percentage and best in the league in forced turnovers. Those characteristics of the Lynx are direct reflections of Fowles’ strengths.
Fowles is also a huge leader for the team off the court and one of the best players to ever wear the Minnesota Lynx uniform. Everyone involved expected this extension to happen so nobody was overly excited when the final paperwork was signed, but there’s no question that both Fowles and the Lynx are excited for the partnership to continue. Fowles will be a member of the Lynx for the rest of her career.
“It’s pretty much a no-brainer,” said Fowles. “I don’t feel a certain kind of way because that’s where I’m going to be until I’m done. But I am happy to extend it and to be back with this group to give it another go around, and we will see where we go from there.”
Head coach Cheryl Reeve, who has grown extremely close to Fowles over the years, couldn’t ask for a better player to continue building around.
“Obviously, we’re ecstatic Sylvia Fowles wants to be a Lynx and finish her career here,” said Reeve. “Wasn’t surprising to us, you know, that she wants to, but obviously, we don’t take anything for granted. She’s been the, no pun intended, the centerpiece to this team. And it will be nice to have that going forward.”
The Lynx have unfinished business yet this season. They are going into Seattle on Wednesday to fight to move on in the WNBA playoffs. Contract extensions are the last thing on anybody’s mind. However, it’s nice to see the Lynx immediately reward Fowles for a season where she had to carry more of a load than she ever has before. Here’s to as many more years of greatness with the Lynx as Fowles can handle.