| 2006 Record|
(4th in West)
Award Winners & Honorees
2006 Draft Recap
Dispersal Draft Results
In the eye of the Storm was forward/center Lauren Jackson. Her 19.5 points per game was good for fourth best in the league and her 53.5% accuracy from the field, 7.7 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocked shots per game were all in the league's top five. She also hit 89.9% from the charity stripe. She was voted into a starting role for the West in the All-Star Game and was also named to the All-WNBA First Team and WNBA All-Decade Team.
Sue Bird, another WNBA All-Decade Team member and All-Star Game starter, also helped light up the scoreboard for Seattle. She led the team in assists with 4.8 per game, good for third in the league. Bird also hit 56 3-pointers, connected on 86.9% of her free throws and notched 1.8 steals per game.What Went Wrong?
Though Jackson was often a force on defense, the Storm struggled on the defensive end at times. In a first round playoff loss to the Sparks, Seattle had trouble keeping L.A. off the glass and surrendered too many offensive rebounds. On the season, Seattle also had the third fewest steals in the league.
Injuries also weakened the Storm in 2006. Wendy Palmer's contribution -- 10.8 points per game over the course of her career -- was limited because of an Achilles' tendon injury that kept her out of 29 regular season games and the entire postseason. Her absence was felt on both the offensive and defensive ends. Shaunzinski Gortman's season also ended prematurely after she tore her ACL on July 14.
By the end of the season, the Storm's lack of depth in a number of positions tired them out. They faultered down the stretch and got into the postseason on the strength of a tiebreaker.
|Head Coach |
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Sue Bird
-G- Betty Lennox
-F- Iziane Castro Marques
-F- Lauren Jackson
-C- Janell Burse
Key 2006 Reserves
Bird and Jackson will continue to be All-Star caliber players. Both have kept in shape this offseason by playing overseas: Bird in Russia for Spartak Moscow Region, and Jackson in South Korea for Samsung Bichumi, for whom she recently scored a league-record 56 points in a game. But how much energy do these two stars have to carry an entire team on their back? And what about the players around them who will dictate where the Storm land in 2007.
Betty Lennox is the third star for Seattle, and should be well rested after spending the offseason back home in the States. Gortman will be back after Seattle re-signed the 5-10 free agent guard during the offseason. If she can stay healthy and strong, she will provide some depth on the bench.
Center Ashley Robinson was added in an offseason trade with Chicago. She will be a good low-post threat and is still developing as a player. The Storm got another low-post player, Tye'sha Fluker, in the Sting Dispersal Draft. Both players bring depth and potential for growth. The team already has an explosive offense, but if they can improve on the defensive end, perhaps using their No. 7 draft pick on a tough, scrappy defender, they could contend in the tough Western Conference.
So where does that leave the rest of the team? Iziane Castro Marques and Janell Burse will both be back as will their two back-ups. But can they provide the same lift that the 2004 supporting cast did that helped Seattle win the title? We will find out soon enough...