Storm

Seattle Brews Retooling Storm in 2023

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When the Seattle Storm lost to the Las Vegas Aces in the playoffs, it marked the end of an era.

The Storm still seek their fifth championship, but will have to rebuild their roster to compete. As the 2023 season approaches, there are numerous intriguing storylines for the team in the Pacific Northwest.

Leadership Change

The Storm lost most of the players in the 2023 offseason who had made them yearly contenders. Sue Bird decided to retire after 21 years in Seattle and Breanna Stewart headed to the Big Apple. Many role players — Epiphanny Prince, Stephanie Talbot and Briann January — also departed, leaving holes for Seattle to fill. With the WNBA heading into a superteam era, Seattle must rebuild for a time to once again compete for a championship.

Luckily for them, Seattle has young players and veteran leadership to help brew a storm.

These young players include Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor, who both return to the Storm for another season. This is the crucial duo to build a contending team around. As Loyd enters a contract year, this is her season to prove that she can lead a team. Loyd and Magbegor are not alone, though, as Seattle made moves to improve their roster.

Reuniting In The Emerald City

The Storm supplemented their veteran leadership by signing former Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb. After attending the University of Washington and winning two championships with Seattle, she returns home after a brief stint with New York. Whitcomb averaged 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in two seasons with the Liberty.

Another player reuniting with the Storm is guard Jade Melbourne from Australia. Seattle selected her in the 2022 draft but she took the year off to play for her home country. Melbourne brings her ability to defend all three guard positions and her offensive adaptability as a combo guard. She averaged 12.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game for Team Australia in the FIBA U19 World Cup.

With the addition of Kia Nurse, Theresa Plaisance fresh off a championship, and overseas standouts Kaila Charles, Yvonne Turner and Arella Guirantes, Seattle completed their offseason additions.

But the Storm continued to grow with their 2023 WNBA Draft selections.

Bigger Clouds Form In Draft

The Storm selected three players in the 2023 draft. Starting at pick No. 9, Seattle took Tennessee guard Jordan Horston. She averaged 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game with the Volunteers last season. At No. 18, the Storm selected Oklahoma forward Madi Williams, who averaged 15.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game last season for the Sooners.

Third, at pick No. 21, they chose South Florida forward Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu. She averaged 16.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game last season with the Bulls. All three draft picks have a decent chance to make the final roster, especially with Gabby Williams and Tina Charles not making it clear if they will return to the Storm.

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Can Seattle Compete In The Superteam Era?

Two powerhouses formed with Candace Parker joining Las Vegas and Stewart and Jonquel Jones signing with New York. The Liberty and Aces forced many teams to change course, but where does Seattle fit in?

There will be playoff teams like Washington, Los Angeles and Atlanta that have no chance against the superteams. Last year, franchises like Dallas, Phoenix and Indiana finished poorly but should be playoff teams this season. For the Storm, their ceiling is to be amongst these playoff-losing teams.

While this goal is more realistic for Seattle, they could also tank for better odds at a top pick in 2024 while developing young players. The Storm has plenty of opportunities to retool with a draft class that includes Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers and Cameron Brink.

Seattle opens their regular season against the defending-champion Las Vegas Aces on May 20th at Noon Pacific Time on ABC.

What’s the word? Sue Bird is the word. You could also call her the GOAT. But with this Sue Bird Seattle Storm Slam Magazine Cover Bobblehead, she’ll most definitely be a centerpiece of your collection. Take 15% off today with THELEADSM15 at checkout.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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