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Goodbye, Sweet Syl

Sylvia Fowles is about to embark on a season-long goodbye tour around the WNBA. It's something, frankly, she doesn't want. Well, as Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, too bad. The Lynx are rallying around the idea of pushing for another title in Fowles' 15th season. She enters it with one regular-season MVP, two Finals MVPs, seven all-WNBA mentions and four defensive player of the year awards, the most recent last season. Thirteenth all time in scoring with 5,983 points entering the season, Fowles is the best rebounder (3,712) the WNBA has ever seen.

Lynx guard/forward Angel McCoughtry
Lynx guard/forward Angel McCoughtry

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Healthy aspirations

Because of the world championships this fall, the WNBA season is starting and ending earlier, so the new 36-game schedule — longest in league history — will be jammed into a small window. Staying healthy is a key. That is certainly true for 36-year-old Fowles and 35-year-old Angel McCoughtry, who is battling back from a second knee reconstruction. With Napheesa Collier out, the Lynx need McCoughtry to return to her 2020 form. At her best, McCoughtry is a top-notch two-way player, able to score and defend.

Lynx guard Aerial Powers
Lynx guard Aerial Powers

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Aerial influence

Simply put: The Lynx need Aerial Powers to become a great player. Signed prior to the 2021 season, she came to camp out of shape, injured her hamstring early in the season, then tore a thumb ligament upon her return. But down the stretch, she was perhaps the Lynx's best offensive player. At her best, Powers can score on three levels, able to hit the three-pointer, the midrange jumper and with the physical strength to finish at the rim with contact.

Lynx forwards Natalie Achonwa (left) and Jessica Shepard
Lynx forwards Natalie Achonwa (left) and Jessica Shepard

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Filling in for Phee

It's not just her scoring the Lynx will miss with Napheesa Collier away about to give birth to her first child. Collier was one of the team's best — and certainly the most versatile — defenders. She could defend everyone from an off guard to a power forward. She was a clutch scorer and one of the best at the team at getting the ball to Fowles in the post. The Lynx will depend on Jessica Shepard and Natalie Achonwa to help fill the gap. Shepard is a great inlet passer and has a knack for offensive rebounding. Achonwa can play center and forward.