What The WNBA’s Return Means For The Lynx

The WNBA will have a 2020 season.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league will still have a 22-game season.

While it won’t be a “normal” season, the fact that the league is having a season at all is promising.

Just look at what’s happening to the MLB right now.

It’s not good.

The season will resume play in late July and will take place at IMG Academy which is located in Bradenton, Florida.

The playoff format will be the traditional format.

The players will receive full pay, which is absolutely huge, and the players have made sure that the league will not be ignoring its commitment to social justice during the season. To be fair, that’s something the WNBA has never ignored. The league has always been at the forefront of addressing social issues. And more times than not, other leagues have followed the WNBA’s lead in this respect.

Since this is a Lynx website, let’s focus on what the announcement means for them. While it never seemed like having no season at all was an option, it’s hard to really know what 2020 has in store for us.

Let’s start with center Sylvia Fowles. Fowles is only three seasons removed from her 2017 MVP campaign and even at age 33 last season, she still averaged 14 points and nine rebounds per game. Fowles is closer to the end than the beginning of her career, surely, but this is a player very much still in her prime. And if she’s not, she has us fooled. Having a season taken away would have robbed us of another chapter of Fowles’ Hall of Fame career.

Then there’s Napheesa Collier. After being drafted sixth overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft, she took the league by storm. She was named to the All-Star team and later won the Rookie of the Year. This season will be a huge year of growth for Collier, as it will for younger players on the roster such as Rachel Banham (who will get more of an opportunity in Minnesota) and Lexi Brown.

As for even less-experienced players, the Lynx have both Mikiah Herbert Harrington and Crystal Dangerfield as rookies on the roster. Imagine not playing an entire season (without any training camp . . . just Zoom meetings). How far back would these players be in 2021 when the next class of rookies joins the league? Having a season, even a condensed one, is huge for players who need development.

As far as legacy goes, the Lynx have made the playoffs in each of the last nine seasons. While the streak would continue if there weren’t a season, we’d rather keep the streak alive without having to sacrifice a season.

And then we get to head coach Cheryl Reeve. Reeve has 231 career wins, a mark that ranks fifth all-time. The bad news is that the four coaches ahead of her (Mike Thibault, Dan Hughes, Brian Agler and Bill Laimbeer) are still piling up wins, so Reeve isn’t going to climb this list anytime soon. But it will continue to separate her on the list and get her closer to the 300-win mark. Reeve has also coached 57 playoff games (12 behind Thibault for first) to go with a league-best 40 playoff wins.

We don’t yet have the specifics of the schedule, or what exactly the season will look like. But we know it’s going to happen.

We’re pumped. You should be, too.