Professional teams that lose more often than they win don't tend to get dominated for entire games.
With talent margins slim — particularly in the loaded WNBA — all it usually takes is one stretch of separation to determine an outcome.
For the 0-3 Lynx, that has shown up like this:
*Getting outscored 22-3 in the second quarter in an eventual 77-66 loss in the season opener to Chicago.
*Entering the fourth quarter against Atlanta with an eight-point lead, only to be outscored 24-10 in an 83-77 loss.
*Allowing Phoenix to jump out to a 17-point halftime lead Thursday thanks to a massive three-point shooting discrepancy, and having a rally fall short in a 90-81 loss.
All of those games are conceivably "winnable," but teams that are young or lacking cohesion or missing just enough talent — in the case of the Lynx, all of the above — tend to lose those more often than not.
This is not the same as "tanking," by which teams create more intention around losing. But the byproduct of what looks to be a year of struggles for the Lynx could very well have the same effect — and at a very good time, as I talked about on Friday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Sometimes internal growth and the addition of one new player can make all the difference, particularly when a draft is as loaded as it appears to be in 2024 with the WNBA.
Iowa's Caitlin Clark, UConn's Paige Bueckers and LSU's Angel Reese figure to be among the headliners. Lottery teams are determined in the WNBA by a team's record over the two most recent seasons.
The Lynx moved up to No. 2 from the fourth-best odds last year (picking Diamond Miller), and after finishing 14-22 last year there is a good chance they will wind up in the lottery again.
For evidence of what the right lottery luck at the right time can do, look no further than the 2011 WNBA Draft. After finishing 13-21 the year before, even with Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus already on the team, the Lynx won the rights to the No. 1 pick.
They chose Maya Moore, and suddenly those close losses turned into wins. That very year they won the first of four WNBA titles in a seven-year span.
Will history repeat itself? It's impossible to know. But if the losses keep piling up for the Lynx this season, it's OK to keep at least one eye on 2024.