Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve’s 10th training camp started Sunday, kicking off a transitional 2019 season.
A question that hung in the air was whether 15-year WNBA veteran Rebekkah Brunson was going to return, after suffering a concussion late in the 2018 season. Brunson, 37, didn’t show up for the first day of training camp, and Reeve said she hasn’t heard from Brunson.
“To my knowledge nothing’s different,” Reeve said of Brunson, who still is listed on the roster. “I’ll probably hear from her just to see how she’s doing.”
The Lynx will look like a much-different team in 2019. Longtime point guard Lindsay Whalen retired last season, and though forward Maya Moore still is listed on the roster, the five-time All-Star and 2014 league MVP announced she was taking a year off from basketball to focus on ministry work and family.
Brunson, Whalen and Moore helped win four championships for Minnesota.
Reeve said she talked to Moore after this year’s WNBA draft when Reeve, who is also the general manager, drafted the Napheesa Collier in the first round.
Not only are Collier and Moore both University of Connecticut products, but both were born in Jefferson City, Mo.
“She updated me on what she was working on, with her ministry work and criminal justice reform,” Reeve said of Moore. “That’s sort of our plan. I don’t want to be overbearing, but I do want to hear from her.”
Minnesota will lean on its three captains — center Sylvia Fowles and guards Seimone Augustus and Danielle Robinson, three of the team’s top five scorers from 2018 — to lead a young team. The captains have 31 years of WNBA experience among them. Robinson suffered a left ankle injury last season and had surgery, but now she’s healthy and practiced at full speed in the first day of training camp.
Seven players on the camp roster are in their first year, with four acquired in this year’s draft. The Lynx traded a second-round draft pick to the Connecticut Sun for guard Lexie Brown, who was a first-round choice in 2018.
“These girls are amazing. It feels good to have some people we can actually run with, these young legs fresh out of college,” said the 33-year-old Fowles. “They’re making the coaches’ job real hard about who they got to pick for the season.”
Collier, a forward, was the No. 6 pick in the draft and is expected to contribute this season after averaging a double-double at UConn. Gophers guard Kenisha Bell was selected with the 30th pick, and she was present at the first day of camp.
The Lynx acquired Odyssey Sims from the Los Angeles Sparks on April 22 to bolster the team’s depth at guard. Sims averaged 8.2 points per game and was the No. 2 overall pick in 2014. She was known as Whalen’s rival for getting into arguments and physical altercations with her when they would play.
“Competitive. You could see just in the pickup over the last few days when she came in. It almost felt like Game 4 or 5 when Whalen took the hard foul,” Augustus said. “She raises the level of play at that point guard position.”
The Lynx will need to trim the roster of 20 down to 12 by the time the regular season starts May 25. The Lynx’s first preseason game will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Target Center against the Washington Mystics.