No WNBA team may face more pressure to upgrade this offseason than the Seattle Storm. There are no more excuses should the Storm fail to at least earn a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.
Heading into the 2017 campaign, both espnW.com’s Mechelle Voepel and WNBA.com’s Brian Martin ranked Seattle fifth in their preseason power rankings.
But the 2017 season was nothing short of a disaster. Firing Jenny Boucek in the middle of the year provided momentary relief, but it couldn’t prevent the seemingly inevitable first-round exit—this time at the hands of the Phoenix Mercury.
It was a fitting coda to a disappointing year. Brittney Griner had 23 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, while the Storm scored 19 points outside of their big three (Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird). All season long, Seattle struggled to guard elite post scorers, and the team’s lack of depth behind Stewart, Loyd and Bird was glaring.
More of the same in 2018 would mean wasting another year of Stewart and Loyd’s development—as well as what’s left of Bird’s playing career. It shouldn’t be a stretch to say general manager/team president Alisha Valavanis should also be out of a job. At some point, the front office has to point to more than just selecting Loyd and Stewart first overall in 2015 and 2016.
The Seattle Storm’s hopes of turning things around in the second half of the season may rest largely on the decision-making of Alisha Valavanis.
The 2017 season hasn’t gone according to plan at all for Seattle. The Storm are ninth in the WNBA with a 9-12 record, and many of the team’s biggest problems from last year have carried over to this season.
Still, few expected Thursday’s bombshell from The Summitt’s Howard Megdal that cast serious doubt on Jenny Boucek’s future with the team.
A vote of confidence from ownership and the front office is often an empty gesture that is eventually undercut by the team’s actions at a later point. With that said, Valavanis didn’t even bother to offer the bare minimum regarding whether management was behind Boucek.
“I would say that I am working closely with our head coach on how we can recalibrate, how we can do everything possible to make a playoff run,” she said to Megdal. “That’s how I feel, and that’s where we’re at. I’m actively working with Jenny to see if we can make any adjustments to calibrate this for a playoff run, which has been set as a very clear goal.”
Short of having security physically carry Boucek out of the office, it’s hard to imagine a more damning response from Valavanis. Continue reading →
Why did the Seattle Storm trade for Carolyn Swords again?
We’re not entering proof-of-life territory with the veteran center yet, but it has undoubtedly been surprising how little she has factored into the Storm’s 5-2 start considering she was the team’s biggest offseason acquisition.
In theory, she was supposed to give the Storm the rim protector they lacked last year. Seattle was ninth last year in opponent points per possession in post-ups, per Synergy, and eighth in opponent field-goal percentage in the post. With Swords on the roster, Breanna Stewart wouldn’t have to play inside so frequently, thus freeing her up to operate as more of a point forward while simultaneously sparing her some of the physicality she encounters closer to the basket. Continue reading →
After splitting their preseason series with the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm officially tip off what is a highly anticipated 2017 campaign against the defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks Saturday. Then it’ll be a quick turnaround as they travel back home for a Sunday matinee with the Indiana Fever.
While it’s not a title-or-bust kind of year for Seattle, expectations are high for a team that posted the seventh-best record (16-18) in the league a season ago. WNBA.com’s Brian Martin ranked the Storm fifth in his opening-week power rankings—an assessment shared by the 16 members on the panel for the Associated Press’ preseason poll.
Let’s take a look at some broad storylines to follow over Seattle’s first two games and a few keys for the Storm to get the year off to a strong start. Continue reading →
The Seattle Storm didn’t match the Washington Mystics’ level of aggression this offseason in terms of improving the roster, but the front office sent a message with the acquisition of Carolyn Swords.
The Storm sent the sixth and 18th overall selections to the Mystics in January, receiving Swords and the 15th overall pick.
The 27-year-old addressed what was a glaring need for Seattle. Last year, the Storm often played 6’2″ Crystal Langhorne alongside 6’4″ Breanna Stewart, which left the rookie forward exposed against bigger frontcourt opponents. Continue reading →