Storm

Storm Looking Forward to 2024

on

Based on their standards, the Seattle Storm had a shortened 2023 season.

Entering the season, there were different expectations for this roster, but the hope for a playoff spot was still there. With the draft and free agency the next thing on the docket for the Storm, all eyes are on their offseason to improve the roster.

The Crown Jewell Of The Emerald City

There’s no question that Jewell Loyd has emerged into the Storm’s franchise player to build around.

She averaged a league-leading 24.7 points per game, and set the all-time record for most points scored in a season and second-highest average per game. After losing Loyd’s former teammate Breanna Stewart to free agency, they approached her differently. On September 9th, Loyd signed a two-year extension to stay in Seattle. The Storm secured their top piece to continue building towards once-familiar success.

While there were opportunities for Loyd to win a championship elsewhere, she believes in the future of this team and her ability to be a franchise player.

In addition to her on-court star presence, she’s a vital veteran piece in Seattle the locker room. As the team’s captain, she has a lot of wisdom to share with the many young players. With loyalty being extinct in basketball, Loyd is showing her love for the city she was drafted in.

The WNBA points leader was named to the All-WNBA Second Team, concluding a historic season for the Gold Mamba.

Seattle’s Elimination Showed Potential

Since the playoffs were not a reality, the rookies on the Storm had more opportunities to develop over the season.

Since Ivana Dojkic (EYE-vana DOY-KICH) was released due to overseas priorities, her minutes have gone to other players to identify that role. 21-year-old Jade Melbourne was the biggest beneficiary to her vacated minutes. Since Dojkic’s, release, Melbourne averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 assists per game while seeing her minutes increase to 10.8 per contest.

The search for the “next point guard” has been a process since Sue Bird retired. As Melbourne adapts to the WNBA, developing her characteristics could mold into the next great point guard to play for the Storm.

Sue Bird SLAM Magazine Bobblehead!

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.

Another rookie taking a big step is first-round draft pick Jordan Horston. Despite going ninth in the 2023 draft, her role varies quite a bit. The majority of her season was spent on the bench, but when the opportunity to start arose, she took it. Gabby Williams suffered a season-ending injury on Aug. 9, paving the way for Horston to start five games.

This season, she averaged 6.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The unique stat that jumps out with Horston is her rebounding. The guard position doesn’t typically garner many boards, but Horston separates herself from typical guards.

In response to her progress this season, Coach Noelle Quinn praised Horston’s versatility and defensive ability, similar to Williams.

“Jordan is continuing to round into a player with versatility and having Gabby here gives her a blueprint of what she can be in this league. She’s continuing to gain confidence and what I want to see from her is on the defensive side of the ball,” said Quinn.

Thunder Clouds Are Building In The Pacific Northwest

Despite a rebuilding season, there are many positives to take away.

Loyd has shown her leadership skills, the rookies have shown they belong in this league, and Ezi Magbegor (MAG-BEH-GOR) has glimpsed her full potential. The first-time All-Star grew into a secondary scorer this season after averaging 13.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. She also set the franchise record for rebounds in a season at 322β€” a nice mark to have in her young career.

As her offensive games improves, she will become a nightmare matchup for opponents on both sides of the ball.

Another player who showed promise is Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu (DULL-see fan-come men-gee-AHH-due).Β 

Similar to Horston, she has been through everything you’d expect a rookie to go through in this league. Initially, Mendjiadeu struggled to defend players like A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart, but she has since proved herself.

This season, she averaged 3.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. When asked about her progress this season, Quinn mentioned Mendjiadeu being a second-round pick doesn’t justify just how helpful she’s been to the team.

“[Dulcy] has shown really positive spots during the season as far as her energy, her ability to rebound the basketball and set big screens.”

Being 24 years old, she has plenty of time to nurture her game and unleash her full capabilities where she can thrive in this league.

Having failed to make the playoffs, Storm fans can expect a top-four pick in a star-studded draft. The draft lottery will ultimately decide where they will select from, but there are no bad players to choose from.

For a storied franchise like the Seattle Storm, once the season concludes, the real work begins.

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.

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com