Storm

Storm 2022 Season Preview

on

After a disappointing end to the 2021 season where the team lost to the Mercury in the first round, the Seattle Storm seeks the franchise’s fifth championship, with massive storylines as the 2022 season tips off.


THE BIG THREE RETURN

The biggest offseason question was whether the big three of Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird, and Jewell Loyd would return for another year with the Storm or head elsewhere.

The first player to re-sign was superstar Breanna Stewart, even after visiting the New York Liberty during the offseason. She returned on a one-year $228,094 Supermax contract and holds aspirations for a sweet redemption from disappointment.Β 

Stewart finished her 2021 season early after suffering a left leg injury in the team’s second to last regular-season game, against the LA Sparks. She averaged 20.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 1.8 BPG during the 2021 season.

 

THE GOAT RETURNS FOR “ONE MORE YEAR”

The biggest headline was re-signing Sue Bird, who returns for her 19th season on a one-year $72,141 deal for what may be her last season WNBA season.

Sue Bird said this was why she decided to come back for one more year, after hearing the fans chant for it after their playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury.

At 41 years old, Sue Bird is chasing her fifth title, all with Seattle. Last season Bird posted 10.0 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 41.9% from three-point land.

THE GOLD MAMBA STRIKES AGAIN

The last of the big three to re-sign was “The Gold Mamba,” Jewell Loyd, at a two-year/ $463,030 deal. β€œSeattle is my second home, and I’m excited to return and win more championships with this amazing group,” Loyd proudly proclaimed. Her coach Noelle Quinn (also per WNBA.com), called Loyd “a special talent with a tremendous work ethic, and having her back greatly improves our chances of contending for a fifth championship.”

Loyd will be the third key player on a yearly championship contender if her partners remain with the organization. Last season Loyd impressed with career-high averages of 17.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. She finished the 2021 regular season by scoring a career-high 37 points against Phoenix in the finale.

A RETURN HOME

After not playing in KeyArena since winning their fourth title, in 2018, Seattle returns to the newly-renovated Climate Pledge Arena for the 2022 WNBA season. They spent the 2019 season playing at the University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena and spent the 2021 season at Angel of The Winds Arena in Everett, Washington.Β 

Roster Turnover

The Storm retained their big three during the offseason and Center Mercedes Russell. However, they lost a starter in Katie Lou Samuelson and a key backup point guard in Jordin Canada to Los Angeles. The Storm received Gabby Williams in a trade with Los Angeles that sent Samuelson to LA and the 9th pick in the draft. The Storm also signed Spokane native Briann January in her last season in the WNBA.

Seattle also signed Jantel Lavender from the Indiana Fever and Reshanda Gray from the New York Liberty. Lavender will play the backup center role while Ezi Magbegor starts and Russell is out for at least a month with a non-basketball-related injury. Gray will provide forward depth off the bench as well. Although there was turnover in the offseason, including a new coaching staff surrounding Quinn, the Storm managed to keep their core together. This tactic is essential to stay in yearly championship contention.

The Storm made three selections in this year’s draft. Starting at pick 17, they selected Elissa Cunane, a Center from NC State. Then, at 21, they selected Evina Westbrook, a guard from UCONN. Finally, at selection 33, they chose Jade Melbourne, a guard from Australia. Melbourne eventually opted to play overseas and not play for Seattle. Initially signing rookie deals, no rookies from this year’s draft class made the roster, even though Westbrook had an impressive training camp.

Can Teams Weather The Storm?

Every year the Storm are championship contenders. However, other teams seem to build their team to dethrone the Storm. Last season, an injury from Breanna Stewart prevented the Storm from repeating.

Chicago, Las Vegas, Connecticut, and Phoenix provide definite threats. The Sun improved over the offseason by bringing in Courtney Williams. The Mercury are still contenders as long as Diana Taurasi plays, even with questions surrounding Brittney Griner‘s availability. Two more teams that could challenge Seattle are Los Angeles and Washington. LA signed Liz Cambage from Las Vegas and Samuelson and Canada from Seattle. The Ogwumike sisters Chiney and Nneka are back, making the Sparks a team to watch. Washington has their most significant contending pieces back in Elena Delle Donne and Alysha Clark. Delle Donne only played three games last season off back surgery, and Clark is finishing rehab for a Lisfranc injury suffered in France.

While Seattle is in championship contention, other teams near their might. The Storm has also been a victim of the recent COVID outbreak in the WNBA. Breanna Stewart and Epiphanny Prince have recently entered the league’s Health & Safety Protocols. This parity makes the WNBA more competitive. However, if the Storm is healthy, can it be stopped?

 

About Brenden Potts

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com