How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (2024)

Now that the 2024 WNBA Draft is behind us after the Minnesota Lynx selected Utah star Alissa Pili at No. 8 overall and Louisville guard Kiki Jefferson No. 31 overall, and the dust is settling, training camp is already around the corner.

Set to begin on Sunday, April 28th, training camp comes with the battle for the few remaining roster spots. The Minnesota Lynx roster currently sits at nine full-time contracts coming out of the draft, not including the two selections they made Monday evening. That means they have up to three potential roster spots to fill, but a minimum of two in case they want to keep flexibility.

Let’s take a look at the potential depth chart and see where the holes may be.

How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (1) Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Lynx Anticipated Depth Chart

PG:Courtney Williams / Natisha Hiedeman

SG:Kayla McBride

SF:Diamond Miller / Bridget Carleton

PF:Napheesa Collier / Sika Koné

C:Dorka Juhász / Alanna Smith

Last season, Lynx Head Coach/President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve and General Manager Claire Duwelius had to use every minute possible before making their final cuts. That round of cuts included current camp invite and fan favorite, Taylor Soule. During the post-draft presser yesterday, Canis Hoopus asked Reeve about her confidence level in the talent entering Lynx training camp and the goal of firming up the final spots. Reeve glowingly expressed confidence in the group and knowing what she’s looking for, as opposed to the challenges a year ago. There looks to be some competition for a wing and backup big spot. Who could be vying for those two positions?

Unsigned draft picks: Maia Hirsch (F/C) / Alissa Pili (F) / Kiki Jefferson (G)

Contract suspended: Jessica Shepard (PF/C) / Cecilia Zandalasini (F)

Training camp deals: Ruthy Hebard (F/C) / Taylor Soule (F) / Liz Dixon (F) / Jaime Nared (G/F) / Kayana Traylor (G) / Olivia Époupa (G)

How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (2) Photo by Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images

Frontcourt Spot

The Lynx no longer employ a number of bigs who soaked up the majority of minutes during the last couple seasons. Jessica Shepard, who was third in minutes played last year, announced she will miss the 2024 season to play abroad in Italy. Nikolina Milić, who suited up for the most games last year, was moved for Koné and future draft capital this past weekend. Natalie Achonwa, who missed last season on maternity leave, is currently a free agent. Newly acquired Alanna Smith will certainly be one of the first players off the bench.

Both Cece Zandalasini and Maia Hirsch’s statuses are up in the air due to their current obligations for their European teams. However, as reported by ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo a few months ago, the former joining the Lynx could be a reality. If that’s the case, the 6-foot-2 sharpshooter could be helpful in soaking up some front court minutes, given her history in a Lynx uniform back in 2018.

One could assume rookie Alissa Pili has an inside track to a roster spot because of her status as a first-round pick and how her shooting and scoring address team needs, but it is not uncommon in the WNBA where even top picks end up getting moved or even cut early in their careers. Reeve was very complimentary of Pili’s offensive game, but was forthcoming about the need for her to adjust defensively. Though the rookie is commonly listed at 6-foot-2, she was been on record indicating she’s closer to 5-foot-10, which could potentially be a concern playing at a level where size is important.

How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (3) Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

As mentioned earlier, Soule has fans both in the audience as well as in the Lynx front office. She was one of, if not the final cut last season, so it could be realistic that her chances are better this camp, especially if she plays at a level similar to the one she did last preseason. Ruthy Hebard had an outstanding championship career at Oregon before spending the last four years playing off the bench for the Chicago Sky, including a 2021 championship run. Given her experience and size at 6-foot-4 and familiarity with ex-Sky additions in Smith and Williams, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see her earn the spot. Dixon and Nared could certainly be on the outside looking in.

How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (4) Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Backcourt Spot

Minnesota finally has two natural point guards in their rotation. Though Lindsey Allen, Rachel Banham, and even Tiffany Mitchell did their best impressions last year, they certainly weren’t long term solutions. Even players who have had some success like Moriah Jefferson, Crystal Dangerfield, and Odyssey Sims didn’t last more than a season or two. I am optimistic that Williams and Hiedeman will fit the bill.

Outside of the primary initiators, McBride is coming off a EuroLeague Final Four MVP campaign overseas for Fenerbahçe, where she starred alongside Collier this winter. She’ll continue to be an innings eater for Reeve. Miller and Carleton have often cycled to the SG/SF spot, but finding another scorer and ball-handler could be useful.

Kayana Traylor is the first name that jumps out from the training camp group. After roasting the Lynx in the second half of a preseason game in Toronto a year ago, Reeve signed the sharpshooting rookie to a hardship contract where she appeared in eight games for Minnesota. Both Jaime Nared and Zandalasini are bigger guards/wings who have played well overseas thanks to impressive scoring chops. Olivia Époupa, who has a lengthy track record playing overseas, is a small point guard who won the WNBL MVP back in 2020. Both Époupa and rookie Kiki Jefferson, a third-round pick, may be on the outside looking in for the guard spot.

Make sure to bookmark our Lynx Free Agency Tracker to stay up-to-date with the latest Lynx news and analysis.

How Might the Lynx Fill Out Their 2024 Opening Night Roster? (2024)
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