2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Seattle Storm Work

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2017 Record: 15-19, No. 8 seed in Playoffs, Eliminated by Mercury in First Round

Key Offseason Moves

  • Hired Dan Hughes as head coach
  • Acquired Natasha Howard from Minnesota in exchange for draft picks
  • Re-signed Sami Whitcomb, Crystal Langhorne and Noelle Quinn
  • Signed Courtney Paris as a free agent
  • Selected Jordin Canada with the No. 5 pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft
  • Ramu Takashiki announced she will miss 2018 season

2017 Season Highlights

Seattle Storm Top 5 Plays from 2017 Season

1. Hughes Takes The Reins

The 2017 season had a promising start (5-2), a frustrating middle (5-14 and a coaching change), a strong finish (5-3) that helped the Storm sneak into the playoffs, where they were eliminated in the first round. After finishing the season under interim coach Gary Kloppenburg (who took over for the fired Jenny Boucek), the Storm entered the offseason in search of a new voice to lead the team. In Dan Hughes, they found the most experienced coach in WNBA history (524 games) and the third-winningest with 237 victories to his credit. After a pair of first round playoff exits, can Hughes lead this talented roster to a deep playoff run?

2. She Got Game: Jewell Loyd

Jewell Loyd recently starred in Bleacher Report’s short film She Got Game, a companion piece to the Spike Lee classic He Got Game in celebration of the film’s 20th anniversary. When it comes to her game, Loyd has elevated her play in each of her first three seasons in the WNBA. The 2015 Rookie of the Year has upped her scoring average from 10.5 points as a rookie to 16.5 as a sophomore and finished ninth in the WNBA in year three at 17.7 points per game. She’s been a more efficient scorer as well, with her 3-point percentage rising from 20.8% to 30.3% and finally up to 38.6% last season (12th best in the league). How high can Loyd elevate her game in Year 4?

3. She Got Game Too: Breanna Stewart

After putting together one of the best rookie seasons in league history (18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks), there was no sophomore slump for Breanna Stewart. In the second year of her WNBA career, Stewart finished as the league’s second-leading scorer at 19.9 points per game, while also adding 8.7 rebounds (6th in WNBA) and 1.6 blocks (6th) per game. Inevitably, the duo of Loyd and Stewart (back-to-back No. 1 picks in 2015 and 2016) will always be compared to the Storm duo of Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird (back-to-back No. 1 picks in 2001 and 2002). That comparison brings high expectations as Bird and Jackson led the Storm to titles in 2004 and 2010. Is Year 3 on the court together going to be the breakthrough season for Loyd and Stewart like it was for Bird and Jackson?

4. She Still Got Game: Sue Bird

While Jackson has retired from the WNBA and has her jersey hanging in the KeyArena rafters, Sue Bird appears to be ageless and may play forever. Last season, she became the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists (2,610), passing the legendary Ticha Penicheiro (2,599). She also recorded the highest assist average of her career (6.6 per game, 3rd in WNBA) in her 15th season. Despite no signs of slowing down, the 37-year-old will eventually decide its time to move on to life after basketball. Until then, WNBA fans should take the time to appreciate the best point guard in league history. Bird is part of a veteran core – Crystal Langhorne, Alysha Clark, Noelle Quinn and newcomer Courtney Paris – that will serve as mentors to the Storm’s younger players, while also contributing on the court every night.

5. A Glimpse of the Next Generation

With the fifth overall pick in the draft, the Storm selected Jordin Canada out of UCLA. The speedy point guard was an impact player on both sides of the ball in college and will be groomed as the heir apparent to Bird. There’s no better player for Canada to learn from than Bird, who knows all the tricks of the trade and can pass down a wealth of knowledge to the rookie. Watching the pairing of Canada and Loyd this season will give Storm fans a look at the backcourt of the future in Seattle.