What’s the Seattle Storm’s Bar for Success in 2018?

Where do you realistically set expectations for a team coming off back-to-back playoff appearances but still hasn’t had a winning season since 2011?

“It’s time to start winning,” Breanna Stewart said during the Storm’s media day, per the Seattle TimesPercy Allen. “I don’t want to come off as crass or cocky or anything like that, but losing sucks. It does. That’s just how I feel about it. And, no, I won’t ever get used to it. I can’t. That’s not how I’m wired.”

The Storm certainly intimated as much, too, when they hired Dan Hughes. They could’ve opted for a first-year head coach who would need a few seasons to grow into the role. Instead, Seattle chose a 16-year veteran who has the third-most wins (237) of any coach in WNBA history.

It’s not a title-or-bust kind of season for the Storm, but 18-20 wins are probably the minimum requirement to avoid another disappointing campaign.

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Seattle Storm 2018 WNBA Season Preview

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A little over eight months after their 2017 season ended at the hands of the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm will open their 2018 campaign at home May 20 against Phoenix.

Before that, the Storm and Mercury will meet twice for a pair of preseason games in May.

To some extent, Seattle’s disappointing first-round playoff exit may benefit the team this year. The Storm could be the biggest post-hype sleeper in the WNBA.

Mechelle Voepel of espnW.com and Brian Martin of WNBA.com both listed Seattle at No. 5 in their preseason power rankings in 2017. Expectations were high, and the Storm got fans even more excited with a 4-1 start to the regular season. Then came a humbling 100-77 defeat to the Minnesota Lynx at KeyArena, and things were never the same for Seattle.

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The 2018 WNBA Season is a Make-or-Break Year for Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis

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Having her name misspelled on a Storm broadcast was maybe only the third-worst thing to happen to Mosqueda-Lewis during the 2017 season

It’s probably not a stretch to say Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ Seattle Storm career hinges on the 2018 season.

She’s coming off what was arguably her worst season in a generally underwhelming WNBA career to date. Mosqueda-Lewis averaged a career-low 11.1 minutes per game, which then led to her scoring a career-low 4.6 points per game. She also shot just 29.4 percent from three-point range.

Compounding matters, Mosqueda-Lewis had her knee scoped last June, so she missed all of June and didn’t return until Seattle’s 83-79 loss to the Connecticut Sun on July 12.

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Hoisted by Her Own Petard

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A visual representation of Jenny Boucek turning in her KeyArena ID and Starbucks Rewards card at Storm HQ.

I started working on this before going to work Thursday afternoon, and while I was working, the Seattle Storm went ahead and fired Jenny Boucek, naming Gary Kloppenburg as the interim replacement.

As a result, this transformed from an another airing of grievances with the Storm’s direction into a treatise about what went wrong for Boucek.

During a 2017 season that has been disappointing in virtually every facet for the Seattle Storm, the team’s lack of offensive adventure is one of the most underwhelming aspects and arguably most justified Boucek’s firing. Continue reading

The Storm Kick the Can Down the Road

The Seattle Storm maintained the status quo through the WNBA trade deadline, failing to capitalize on their last opportunity reinvigorate what has been an underwhelming 2017 season.

One can understand general manager Alisha Valavanis’ desire to avoid being too reactionary following the team’s 10-13 start. Things are bad enough as is; making a shortsighted move would only compound matters.

At the same time, this past weekend demonstrated that something is fundamentally broken with the Storm. Continue reading

Seattle Storm 2017 Preview Series: How Big a Jump will the 2015 Draft Class Take in Year 3?

Prior to the selection of Breanna Stewart first overall in 2016, the 2015 draft laid the groundwork for the Seattle Storm’s rebuild. With Jewell Loyd and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis entering their third years, the duo may finally be poised to reach their potential and take the Storm to the next stage in their overall development.

Whereas Stewart immediately showed herself to be one of the WNBA’s best frontcourt players in her first season, Loyd’s gains have been more gradual.

Loyd won Rookie of the Year in 2015 after averaging 10.7 points and 1.9 assists a game. With more playing time in 2016, her scoring average climbed to 16.5 points per game, and her assists nearly doubled (3.4 per game). She earned second-team All-WNBA honors as well. Continue reading