2016 Record: 16-18, eliminated in first round of playoffs
Key Offseason Moves:
Acquired center Carolyn Swords and a second-round draft pick for their first- and second-round picks
Re-Signed Crystal Langhorne
Last Year’s Draft Picks:
1st Round/1st Overall: Breanna Stewart
3rd Round/25th Overall: Lexi Eaton Rydalch
This Year’s Draft Picks:
2nd Round/15th Overall
3rd Round/30th Overall
In each of the last two seasons, the Storm held the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and selected a young star – Jewell Loyd in 2015 and Breanna Stewart in 2016 – who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. That duo, along with veterans Sue Bird and Crystal Langhorne, helped lift the Storm back into the playoffs and out of the lottery for this year’s draft.
Seattle enters this year’s draft without a first-round pick, as the Storm traded their first (6th overall) and second (18th overall) picks to Washington in exchange for 6-6 center Carolyn Swords and the 15th overall pick in the draft. Swords gives the Storm another post player with length and size around the rim, with the ability to alter shots and rack up boards. She started all 34 games for New York last season and posted career highs of 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in just 17.5 minutes per game. She should definitely help the Storm, who ranked last in the league in offensive rebounding percentage (22.1%).
Seattle closed out the regular season winning five of its final six games to secure the No. 7 seed in the WNBA’s new playoff format. Despite losing in the opening round to Atlanta, Loyd (24 points) and Stewart (19 points) got a taste of the playoffs that should serve them well moving forward.
Loyd is currently playing alongside Bird in the Storm backcourt and will likely assume full-time point guard duties when the 14-year vet decides to hang up her sneakers. Considering Bird led the league in assists (5.8 per game), averaged 12.8 points (her highest since 2011) and set a career-high in 3-point shooting a year ago (44.4%), that may not happen anytime soon. But the Storm must start to prepare for life after Bird and could pursue a guard to add some depth to the roster in this year’s draft.