Cheryl Reeve: Minnesota Lynx ‘didn’t have great buy-in’ in 2022

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, center, confers with Damiris Dantas and Kayla McBride. (Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve didn’t hold back Monday when asked about the team’s issues on the year.

The Lynx (14-22) failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They started out 3-13 before making a second-half push to put themselves in the mix for the postseason, but they fell just short.

The team needed to win one of its final two games to earn a playoff berth. But despite the return of Napheesa Collier from maternity leave and the looming retirement of Sylvia Fowles, the Lynx fell to the Storm and the Sun to end their season.

“We had a little bit of trouble finding our footing. It should not have taken us as long as it did,” Reeve said. “I think if everyone’s being honest, we didn’t have great buy-in and belief and that’s one of those things that’s so controllable. It’s really disappointing when it happens, but that was our reality.”

Minnesota now must turn to the future, without Fowles and with Rachel Banham and Moriah Jefferson entering the offseason as unrestricted free agents.

As one of the four teams in the lottery for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, the Lynx could find a replacement for Fowles sooner rather than later. But even a high draft pick will need time to develop.

And according to Reeve, who also serves as the team’s general manager, the Lynx have other improvements that need to be made during the offseason.

“We’ve had a team that is a little more averse to working hard, plain and simple,” she said. “Want less, not more. Want less drills, not more. And that’s really never been a path of achieving success. It was hard for me to convince them that what we were doing wasn’t good enough.

“I tried to really get on them. I’ve tried to yell and cuss and spit. I’ve tried to leave them alone. And I was not able to get through to this group.”

While Reeve noted that she needs to reflect on what she could do to better motivate the team, she said there was something missing from this year’s roster.

“There’s not a lot of great players in the league. There’s a reason why some players aren’t great, because they’re not willing,” she said. “They don’t understand the attention to detail that it takes. This team just was resistant to being pushed towards being better. This team, I had to accept less, which goes against everything I stand for and believe in, so that we could survive.”