Are the Lynx the best team in WNBA history?


Extremes are natural in sports.

When something is even close to the best, it's THE BEST. If it's down on its luck and not making the playoffs, like the Twins or Wolves, it's THE WORST.

So after the Minnesota Lynx sealed up their second WNBA title in three years last night outside of Atlanta, instinctively the question needs to be asked, are the Lynx the best team in the history of women's professional basketball?

Too much of an overarching question? Too much information to sift through? Do you already feel the walls closing in just thinking about trying to decipher the answer to such a massive question?

No worries, we'll take this one.

Let's make this process simple, by looking at teams that have done what they Lynx have, won multiple WNBA titles in three seasons.

That list is short, as is WNBA history, so it makes the process relatively pain-free.

1997-2000: Houston Comets, four consecutive titles.

2001-2003: LA Sparks, back-to-back champs in 2001-02, also a Finals appearance in 2003.

2006-2008: Detroit Shock, champs in 2006 and 2008, a Finals appearance in 2007 wedged in between.

2011-2013: Minnesota Lynx, went all the way in 2011 and 2013, with a Finals appearance in 2012.

Everyone take a deep breath, suddenly the task of figuring out just where the Lynx stand seems a little more simple, after all, they're already a top-four team ever.

It seems clear that the squad most closely resembling the Lynx are the last team to win two titles in three years, the Detroit (now Tulsa) Shock.

There's endless ways to break down how one team is better than another, but lets just look at when winning matters, the postseason.

The Lynx in 2011 lost just once on their way to a WNBA Championship, in 2012 they lost four times, three of those coming in the Finals, and this postseason they were perfect, seven games, seven wins.

Their postseason record over this three year run is 19-5, a .791 winning percentage. In 2011 and 2013, their title years, that clip jumps to .933, having lost just once.

As for the Shock in 2006-2008, they had to go the distance in every series in 2007, while going to five games in the championship series in their first title year of 2006.

We are unimpressed.

Their winning percentage in the postseason over those three season was .666. That's a scary number, and much lower than the Lynx impressive mark.

We pass Detroit, you've been nexted.

Let's try the Sparks of 2001-2003.

The Finals were a best-of-three at that point, so Los Angeles had a tidbit of an advantage, only having to win twice to take home the hardware.

They lost just once in 2001 on their way to a championship, then went 6-for-6 in 2002, and went 5-4 in 2003, beating your Lynx in round one of that year.

Overall: 17-5, that's a postseason winning mark of .772.

.791 > .772, even we know that. Cue The Price is Right music.

So that just leaves the Houston Comets, back-to-back-to-back-to-back champions at the outset of the WNBA from 1997-2000.

Not bad Houston, fair to say you took off like a comet (sorry) in your early years.

For this breakdown, we yield to a higher power.

Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes, impressive names, but you heard analyst-gal, the Lynx have that "and more."

Boom, roasted.

For the record, those Comets teams were absurdly good, but the first three years Houston won, the WNBA Playoffs were only two rounds. They lost just three times in four years in those championship seasons, but only had to win 16 games for the titles combined.

The evidence mounts in favor of the Lynx.

But we'll level with you, we haven't watched every WNBA game over the 17 years of the league's existence.

We have seen this team, and looking at how others match up historically, we can't say for sure if they're the best team ever, but at the least, they're getting very close.

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