Alright Bet: Seattle Storm 2021 Preview

This offseason, the Seattle Storm decided winning a WNBA title had simply become too easy and that it was time to raise the level of difficulty. That’s the only explanation, right?

By almost any measure, the Storm endured a tough offseason, one that left the roster weaker than it was when Seattle was celebrating a second Finals win in three years. Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb were traded to the New York Liberty, while Alysha Clark signed with the Washington Mystics.Kennedy Burke, Candice Dupree, Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Stephanie Talbot arrived in their place, with 2020 first-round draft pick Kitija Laksa making the jump to the WNBA as well.

Perhaps team president Alisha Valavanis and first-year general manager Talisa Rhea could’ve been more aggressive in making short-term moves to put the Storm in as strong a position as possible to successfully defend their title. With a number of key players due to hit free agency, though, it didn’t make sense for Seattle to tie its hands financially.

Last year, the Storm were just better than everybody else. Their .818 winning percentage was the second-best in franchise history. Especially with a number of notable players across the league absent, Seattle had too much talent and too much depth to get seriously tested when it mattered. The team swept the Minnesota Lynx in the semifinals before winning three straight games over the Las Vegas Aces, who had 2020 MVP A’ja Wilson, by double digits in the WNBA Finals.

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Seattle Storm Weekend Preview—at Sparks (May 13); vs. Fever (May 14)

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.’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