Storm

Seattle Storm Revitalizes Thunderous Roster

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The WNBA offseason has been a twisting contention race.

But after a bumpy ride, the Seattle Storm still could lead the first heat.

With Sue Bird announcing her retirement and superstar Breanna Stewart leaving for New York, the Storm enters a new era. Having only a few women under contract and plenty of cap space, Seattle must re-sign their role players if it is to rebuild a dynasty.

The Emerald City Loses Their Queen And GOAT

Seattle faces the challenge of replacing Bird, their star point guard. The Storm still had a chance to re-sign their star player, Stewart. After Stewart narrowed her decision down to Seattle and the New York Liberty, she chose to return to her hometown of New York. She leaves Seattle after six seasons, bringing two championships to the Pacific Northwest in 2018 and 2020.

This decision impacted every WNBA player and team, but Seattle went in a completely different direction. As Jewell Loyd is the only big-three member left on the roster, the Emerald City faces an obscured future.

Pacific Northwest Produces Threatening Clouds

Seattle has always been a championship contender with Stewart, Bird, and Loyd. With only one of them remaining, Storm basketball in the Pacific Northwest is going to look different.

The first signing by Seattle is former Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse. She leaves Phoenix after leading them to the finals in 2021, averaging 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. She missed last season after suffering a torn ACL. Nurse also played for the Canadian National Team. The Storm’s GM Talisa Rhea calls Nurse “a talented, versatile guard and a proven impact player and competitor in our league…Her valuable experience as a leader of Team Canada on the international stage brings a positive impact to Seattle.” 

Thankfully, fan-favorite guard, Sami Whitcomb, reunites with the Storm. The former Liberty guard returns to Seattle after averaging 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game last season. After the 2020 season, Seattle traded Whitcomb to New York after four seasons with the Storm. She won the championship in 2018 and 2020 with Seattle. Rhea calls Whitcomb “a threat from anywhere on the court, and her experience and leadership will play an important role as we look forward.”

Seattle’s Reign Of Terror

The Storm is growing with guard depth that also helps its youth movement.

Their first addition is Arella Guirantes, who Los Angeles drafted, but she primarily excelled playing overseas. The 25-year-old currently plays for DVTK Miskolc in Hungary, averaging 15.4 points, 6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1 steal in 14 games. Guirantes’ international play continued with the FIBA World Cup, and she improved with the opportunity. Guirantes represented Puerto Rico, averaging 18.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. She improves Seattle’s shooting guard depth behind Loyd.

The forecast improved further with the addition of Kaila Charles. Connecticut drafted her in 2020 out of Maryland, and Charles averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game in 51 games. She became a journeywoman last season by signing with New York and finishing the season on the Atlanta Dream. Like Guirantes, Charles is playing well overseas. She is playing in Israel’s top division for Hapoel Rishon Le-Zion, averaging 24.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Her 24 points per game leads the league, showcasing her scoring ability. She adds to Seattle’s youth movement at only 24 years young.

The Storm also added veteran guard Yvonne Turner, formerly of the Mercury. Last season she averaged 4 points, 2 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game in nine appearances. Overseas, Turner played in the Euroleague in 2022 with her current teammate, Ezi Magbegor. She is averaging 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game in 18 games. Turner adds her veteran leadership to a young backcourt for the Storm.

Producing A Bigger Storm In Seattle

Seattle added to their post-player depth by signing former Las Vegas Ace Theresa Plaisance.

She averaged 4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks per game in 31 contests with Vegas. Plaisance played one year with the Aces after journeying around the league. During her ten-year career, Plaisance played in Washington, Dallas, Connecticut, and Tulsa.

Storm head coach, Noelle Quinn, calls Plaisance “a high-character, veteran player with championship-level experience, and fits perfectly into our Storm culture.” Quinn describes her as “a hard worker and can spread the floor with her three-point shooting ability. We are excited to welcome her to Seattle.” The 30-year-old Plaisance adds her veteran experience to a young Seattle frontcourt.

Thunderclouds Threaten Opposition

A devastating wind will blow in Washington if the Storm re-signs vital players. The most important transaction was bringing back their Thunder From Down Under, Magbegor. She brings youth and shot blocking back to Seattle, and developing her will be crucial to re-enter title conversations. The 23-years young center averaged 9.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game last season.

Another critical player is Seattle’s 2022 third-round draft pick, Jade Melbourne. She sat out last season to represent Australia in the FIBA U19 World Cup. She earned a silver medal with Team Australia averaging 12.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game last season. Melbourne opted out of playing with Seattle, but she will likely return with the opportunity for more minutes arising. The Storm will benefit from her offensive versatility as a combo guard who can defend all three guard positions.

 

Starter Gabby Williams could also return to the roster, but she may have other interests. The 26-year-young forward may opt to play for Team France overseas, which would benefit her more financially, but she remains a priority for Seattle as a restricted Free Agent. Williams averaged 7.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game last season with the Storm.

Don’t let departure headlines fog Seattle’s undeniable talent. After dominating the WNBA for decades, the Storm is poised to re-form for many thunderous years.

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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