The Lynx rode a young, dynamic roster to a surprise appearance in the WNBA semifinals last year in the bubble. And that was largely without star center Sylvia Fowles, who missed most of the season with a calf injury.

Since then, Minnesota has added Kayla McBride, Natalie Achonwa and Aerial Powers to its roster. Fowles is back and healthy. Pair all that with returning players Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield, Damiris Dantas and a slew of quality role players, and the Lynx have a supreme nucleus.

Time to win another championship.

Well maybe, but maybe not quite yet, Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve cautioned Monday.

“I get it, when we’ve got the names of the players that we have, and you look at the other teams in the league, you feel like Minnesota is a team that could compete for a championship,” Reeve said. “I think that’s going to be said, that’s the narrative, that’s the expectation that’s building around this team.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

But Reeve noted this team still needs to be built. An identity still has to be formed. Right now the Lynx have players. They don’t yet have a unit. Sure, training camp helps, but when two of your best players — Collier and McBride — are missing it as they finish their seasons overseas, you can only build so much chemistry. And building an identity during the actual season is a challenge.

“So that’s my mission, and our staff’s mission, on this team is to get where we’re going, and it might be a little bit before we get where we’re going,” Reeve said.

What’s the exact timeline on that? Reeve said the goal is to know exactly who this team is and what it does by season’s end.

“And then you’re just building from there, any pieces that you might need to add,” Reeve said. I don’t think we are exactly where we’re going to be after this first year. I think it’ll kind of reveal itself in terms of where we need to go to truly put ourselves (in position to win). I don’t know that we’re there yet.”

Reeve views this build as more than a year-long process. So many members of this young nucleus aren’t even yet to their prime. Most of the key players are locked up to long-term contracts.

‘You can call it a three-year plan,” Reeve said. “I think the identity is going to be born the same way the identity the 2011 team’s was born — through battles together. And I have to learn. We’ve got to all be in the trenches together. Identities will come out offensively, schematically, what we’re running, who we’re running it for. … You’ve got to figure out what you have, what are your strengths, what are the go-to plays for such and such a player. So those are the things we’re trying to get to as far as a goal.”

Reeve doesn’t think the players have the same long-term mindset as the coaches. That’s probably to be expected.

“They all just roll up in here thinking that a championship is just going to happen,” Reeve said. “We’ve got to show them that that’s not how it happens, and there is a lot of work to be done to be able to get there.”