Souhan: Should you be a Lynx tank for Big? No, here’s why

After four of their stars retired in the wake of their dynastic streak, Lynx could rebuild.

Perhaps it is a good time for them to do this of late.

They entered Sunday’s game in New York with a score of 2-8, a slew of injuries and an attack that often leads to more turnovers than assists.

Her best player by history, Sylvia Fowles, was in her final season. The best player in her prime, Nafissa Collier, will miss, at least, most of the season because she has just had a baby. One of their most important players, Damiris Dantas, hasn’t played this season, and their only WNBA-caliber guard, Moriah Jefferson, actually injured her hand and hamstring in his short stint in Minnesota.

If that sounds like a recipe for rebuilding, here are eight reasons why Lynx should try to compete rather than play in the draft site:

1. Bad starts aren’t fatal in the WNBA. Like most tournaments, W has designed an expanded playoff. Eight of the twelve league teams will qualify.

Last year, the Lynx started at 0-4 for many of the same reasons they are 2-8 this year – key players arrived late, a plethora of injuries, and the season’s search for a leading goalkeeper. They then won 22 of their last 28 matches, ranked third in the league and hosted a playoff. Recovery is an option.

2. Postseason operation is still possible. Although the current version of Lynx can be hard to watch, last year Chicago Sky went through a seven-game losing streak, losing four of their last six regular season games, and finishing the regular season 16-16.

Chicago then beat Lynx at Target Center and went on to win the WNBA title. A talented team with good health at the right time can do damage in the playoffs.

3. Lynx talent. Here’s what the Lynx spins could theoretically look like in the post-season: Jefferson, Kayla McBride, Air Force, Collier, Fowles, Dantas, Jess Shepherd, Rachel Banham, Bridget Carlton. That would be a dangerous team.

4. The lynx has a pedigree. People in the league office told me Lynx is the WNBA model franchise, when thinking about basketball and business operations. Refueling could mean closing fans’ interest in a competitive market.

5. The tank may not work. What would be best for Lynx and the league was to deteriorate in a way that led to Minnesota drafting Hopkins and UConn star Paige Bueckers, who would become the next Lindsay Whalen – a star playing in a market they revere.

Bueckers will be eligible for the 2023 draft, but it is not certain that they will leave UConn before their eligibility expires. The four non-playing WNBA teams are entered into a sweepstakes, which means losing all of their games won’t guarantee a first pick.

6. Farewell to Fowles. Lynx trainer Cheryl Reeve cares about legacy. The Lynx just retired from former star number Seimone Augustus, although Augustus left as free agent, apparently with hard feelings, to sign with Lynx’s number one competitor, Los Angeles.

Fowles announced her retirement, effective at the end of the current season. Reeve wants to give Fowles every chance to play in meaningful games and post-season games, before she’s gone.

7. There is a record in the near future. Lynx has made the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in the WNBA and one shy of the Indiana record, set from 2005 to ’16. Why stop now?

8. Next year is the year of the tank. If Lynx is going to start picking a high draft, next year will be the year to try out that strategy. Fowles will disappear. Until then, I don’t expect Lynx to enter any season under Reeve with the intent of losing as many games as possible.

This team has talent. With a bit of health and continuity, the Lynx could still tour this year, or next.