Jordin Canada has only known the West Coast. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, played at UCLA in college, and is starting her WNBA career with the Seattle Storm.
The transition to the pro game is often times challenging for rookies. On the fly, they’re learning how to act as a professional athlete as well as figuring out how to be effective on the floor. For Canada, she gets to learn from some of the best players in the league in her teammates – Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird.
“The transition has been challenging but really good,” Canada said. “I think having people like Stewie (Breanna Stewart) and Jewell [Loyd], and especially Sue Bird helping me out through the process has been extremely helpful.”
Sue Bird is considered one of the best point guards in WNBA history, and Canada enjoys learning from the WNBA’s all-time assists leader.
“Just watching her, learning her IQ, getting into her mindset, and watching her on the floor – I am always learning something new,” said Canada.
Bird has been impressed so far with the rookie. Crediting her willingness to learn and get better, she believes success is an inevitable outcome for Canada.
“Jordin is eager to learn and is like a sponge out there,” Bird Said. “You can see on the court her beginning to find and pick her spots and realize where she can be effective.”
One of Canada’s best traits to her game is her speed and quickness, and she has shown it so far in her rookie campaign. Bird has high praise for the rookie’s athleticism, comparing her to some of the quicker guards around the league.
“Her speed and quickness is right up there with anyone that has ever played in this league. Danielle Robinson is one of the fastest players to play in this league, and Jordin’s quickness is right up there,” said Bird. “Moriah Jefferson too – hasn’t played in the league too long, but her speed is elite, and [Canada] is a part of that conversation for sure.”
“I think my quickness helps me create for others. I am able to get into the paint, push in transition to give it up to my teammates, and run the floor,” Canada said of her speed. “That is the strength that I bring to the team. I am able to run the floor and push the ball well, and even on defense, I am able to use my quickness when I am guarding bigger players. I try to use it every night.”
At UCLA, Canada was the go-to player, citing that she was relied upon by her Bruins teammates and coaching staff to do it all. But now in the WNBA, she is realizing that she no longer has that burden. She is honing in on her abilities to get her teammates involved as the point guard, and that has taken some getting used to.
“Well during college, I was worried about doing everything on the floor being one of the best players on the team, so I was making sure I was creating on offense every single possession,” Canada said. “Now coming into the league, I am surrounded by all-stars and pros and I no longer need to do everything. I can give it up and space the floor, and have my teammates do their thing.”
Bird noticed early on, that Canada’s knack for distributing the ball was impressive.
“That was definitely the first thing that stood out to me when I first saw her in training camp,” Bird said. “Her ability with her speed to break defenses down and to move the ball well in transition, and then finding the open player, that stood out to me. Regardless of where she is on the floor, she has a knack for finding the open player.”
The WNBA season is nearing the halfway mark, and Canada (3.4 APG) is leading the rookie class in assists and ranks 20th in the WNBA despite averaging just 18.1 minutes per game. Canada is doing an admirable job as the second-line point guard behind Bird, but the veteran knows that Canada has room to improve to become an even better player.
“The good thing about Jordin is she is accepting to feedback and is always wanting to learn,” said Bird. “And as the point guard, Jordin is learning how to be a leader more and more every day and that will only make her better in the long run. She can work on a lot in her game, but the good news for her is that all the things that you can’t really teach, she already has in her game.”
The 22-year-old Canada has been productive so far in her rookie campaign with the Seattle Storm. At the point guard position, there is a lot to learn and take in, but it helps to have one of the best floor generals in WNBA history paving the way for her.
Given that her work ethic stays strong, and she stays accepting to feedback and criticism, the Storm may have found Bird’s successor once the 15-year veteran hangs up her shoes down the road.