Tina Charles’ Phoenix Evaporation Saturates Seattle Success


What happens when one of the best teams in the league adds another of the league’s most talented players?

Shocking the WNBA community, the Phoenix Mercury and center Tina Charles agreed on a “contract divorce.” Seattle rapidly absorbed Charles into its talented contention cloud (although the Storm did not reveal contract details). Upon reflection, Charles appears a suitable fit for a Seattle franchise fighting frantically to give Sue Bird her fifth and final title.

A Rebound Relationship In Seattle

According to Mercury GM Jim Pitman, “Due to circumstances both in and out of our control, our season has not gone according to our plan.”

The contract divorce between Charles and Phoenix reveals her displeasure with the Mercury’s 6-12 start. There were also reports of Charles being unhappy with her role in the offense, and wanting more opportunities. She has a singular, evident goal this season: to be on a team that can win.

With Phoenix, she averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 16 appearances.

She adds her scoring and rebounding to a team who ranks 10th in rebounding and points. Seattle is a veteran group with an average of 7.8 years of league experience. Charles has been in the league for 12 seasons, so she fits into this veteran-winning atmosphere.

Seattle is 11-7 and Charles wants to compete with the top teams in the league. The Emerald City allows Charles to win, but how does she fit with the Storm for the second half of the season?

Charles Adds Pinch Of Awesome To Bench Chemistry

One game aspect helping the Storm win 11 games is the starting group’s chemistry. Changing that squad by adding Charles won’t help the Storm win.

Their starting five of Bird, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, Ezi Magbegor, and Gabby Williams is the second most used lineup in the league. As a group, they score 109.3 points per 100 possessions and allow 90.6 points per 100 possessions, which is first in offensive and defensive efficiency. Even though Charles is a veteran, subbing her into the lineup for Magbegor would be a negative move for the Storm, especially defensively. Magbegor leads the league in blocks with 2.7 and is a crucial piece to their defensive starting lineup. Charles will have a role change with Seattle, and how she adapts to that role will reveal why she’s here.

Charles will likely come off the bench when Magbegor or Stewart need rest or when either of them is in foul trouble. While the starting unit is the best in the league, the bench unit has been one of the worst. Coach Noelle Quinn has kept Loyd, Stewart, Bird, or Ezi on the floor with the second unit at all times after the first Connecticut game.

Charles will help improve the second unit, likely filling in for Jantel Lavender or Stephanie Talbot. She will be a veteran presence for the second unit and keep the team in the game. While the seven losses are mainly due to health issues, the Storm blew multiple leads in a couple of games because all starters would leave at once, and the second unit couldn’t compete.

Adding Charles Brings A Playoff Storm

The Charles addition gives Stewart and Magbegor rest, excellent for when the playoffs arrive. There are around 18.5 minutes available with both Stewie and Magbegor off the floor, and Charles will take those. Her talent will require more minutes than 18, so either Stewie or Magbegor will get less playing time. Stewie’s minutes will most likely decrease but that change will be better for the Storm’s long-term success. The starting five can get rest at the same time in a game with fans feeling comfortable with their advantage.


However, this signing isn’t a perfect addition. While Charles is a decent offensive option, her defense is disappointing, given her position.

Her defensive rating is 107, which would be the worst on the team. This stat means when she’s on the floor for 100 possessions, teams will score 107 points. The Storm’s starting lineup is their “defensive lineup,” and having Charles start the game will go against Seattles’ reputation. Her offensive rating is 97, which would be the best on the Storm’s second unit, meaning when she’s on the floor for 100 possessions, she scores 97 points. Her offense will help alleviate the second unit when they’re all in the game.

Charles will make Seattle a dangerous contending team and create a massive final storm for Sue Bird in the Pacific Northwest.

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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