Since the end of last season, I’ve been declaring the Lynx overloaded at the 3 and predicting they’d move either Svetlana Abrosimova or Sheri Sam to either shore up their leaky center rotation or provide insurance against the possible absences of both their point guards. I was leaning towards trading Svet away: she’s a fan favorite, but her development as a player has been hit-and-miss, and Sheri Sam has proven herself to be aggressive, creative, and consistent. A hotshot draft prospect named Lindsay Whalen, however, has thrown a wrench in my armchair GM plotting.


The Women’s Hoops Blog tells me that the Lynx have traded Sam and center Janell Burse to the Seattle Storm for their #6 draft pick and forward Amanda Lassiter. This gives Minnesota both the sixth and seventh picks in the first round, which they are undoubtedly trying to package in order to move up in the order, thus ensuring that they get the player that they want: Whalen. Nabbing her would hold the promise of a huge boost to the team’s shaky attendance numbers, not to mention the added dimension the player herself would bring to the team.

Of course, there would be the whole matter of the other superstar 2-guard with deadly penetration and shooting skills — Katie Smith — to contend with. Katie, oddly enough, has hardly been mentioned at all in various discussions of the Lynx’s jockeying for Whalen. Could the two coexist in the same backcourt? With her sharp handling and passing skills, Whalen could undoubtedly learn to play just fine at the point, so it would probably work out positionally. But these are two players who, while able to play well off the ball, are at their best with the rock in their hands, wreaking havoc on defenses. You’ve got to think that coach McConnell-Serio is worried about the two of them cramping each others’ style.

There’s also the frontcourt to think of. While Janell Burse is hardly an MVP candidate, losing her leaves the Lynx with Michelle “Elbows” van Gorp and the untested Jordan Adams as centers. Presumably, newcomer Lassiter would back up both Sveta and power forward Tamika Williams, who, while a beast of a player, probably doesn’t want to work all forty minutes of every single game the way she seemed to in last year’s L.A. series. Having two picks in a draft packed with promising post players gives Minnesota lots of options for help. Trading those picks for Lindsay leaves the Lynx one injury away from a frontcourt implosion.

Of course, As I write down all these reasons not to draft Whalen, my mind’s eye is picturing a future with Tamika on the low block, grabbing a rebound and tossing it out to Whalen, who drives into the lane and dishes a no-look pass out to Katie on the weak side, who sinks an easy 17-footer — all while the opposing defense tries to figure out who they should double-team. That’s a pretty hard image to resist.

At any rate, this is all premature speculation. The odds are that the Lynx won’t be able to make another deal before Saturday, and that Whalen will be taken by either Charlotte or Connecticut. But since I can’t follow the Blazers in the playoffs this year, and the Twins are at the moment a hollow shell of themselves with all the injuries (who the hell is Henry Blanco and why is he all of a sudden our biggest hitter?), I need a team that can give me hope in these dark days, even if it’s purely hypothetical hope.