21-13, 2nd in Western Conference, lost Conference Semifinals
A trade of 10-year veteran Swin Cash to the Chicago Sky netted the Seattle Storm the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. After finishing second in the Western Conference in 2011, the Storm are in the rare position of being able to add another marquee player at the top end of the draft to an already talented squad.
“We’re looking forward to that pick,” Seattle Head Coach Brian Agler said. “Obviously we had to make a significant move to obtain the second pick in the draft in regards to trading Swin and Le'coe (Willingham) to Chicago. We’ve enjoyed success. We’ve been in the playoffs the last eight years and we’re trying to make it nine. You know, for a variety of reasons we made this trade. One to free up cap room, and secondly for the opportunity to get a good, young player.”
First thing is first, the Storm are going to want to add more scoring. Last year, they were 10th in the league in scoring, amassing only 71.6 points per game, so they will surely be looking to add another option opposite Sue Bird. In fact, with the trade of Cash and with 2010 MVP Lauren Jackson sitting out the first half of the season to be with her Australian National Team in preparation for the Olympics, the Storm have lost their second and third leading scorers from a year ago. In response, Seattle has already added F Tina Thompson, who averaged 9.9 points per game last season, and C Ann Wauters, who has a WNBA career average of over 10 points per game, but the No. 2 overall selection will be their best bet to add a capable scorer moving forward.
A stingy team on defense, the Storm held opponents to a league-low 69.9 points per game last year. If Seattle can up its scoring – it went a league-best 16-3 when scoring over 70 points last season – the Storm will be a very formidable team in the West. Luckily for Seattle, as a steady franchise with such a strong foundation in place, it does not need this second selection to step in and be a star immediately.
“We don’t really need for this player to come in and be a starter from day one,” said Agler. “We’d like to have this player to be able to develop into being a significant player this year and in the future possibly be a starter. This is as much about the long-term thought process as it is the short-term process.
“We’re looking forward to someone that we feel we can develop. So, drafting somebody with a lot of upside is something we’re giving a lot of thought to.”
Aside from the No. 2 pick, the Storm have only one more selection (No. 22) in the draft. With a strong roster of proven players that will only get stronger when Jackson returns, this team could be an explosive scorer away – potentially someone like Miami’s Shenise Johnson or Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen – from being an elite team in 2012.
--Anthony Oliva, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
12. Jasmine Thomas
24. Ify Ibekwe
36. Krystal Thomas
10. Alison Lacey
22. Tanisha Smith
34. Tijana Krivacevic
12. Ashley Walker
38. Mara Freshour