Now that the season is almost over it is time to revisit the trade excuted by the Seattle Storm for Natasha Howard.
When news broke that the Seattle Storm had traded a second round pick for Natasha Howard, it did not send many shock waves around the WNBA. Many pundits believed the Lynx had pulled off a steal with the ability to swap their first round pick if they finished higher than the Storm in 2018. Also, the Lynx finished lower than the Storm in the regular season and therefore do not have to swap the first round pick.
Fast forward to the end of the 2018 and it is safe to say that the Storm won out on this transaction in a major way. Howard has career averages of 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. This season she averaged 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and an incredible 1.9 blocks per game.
These numbers were good enough for Howard, who was playing her fifth season to win the Most Improved Player award. Not a bad effort when you are playing alongside the clear MVP in Breanna Stewart. What Howard did, even at only 6’2″ was to provide Stewart with enough of a break on defense to really play hard on offense, something the Storm has been looking for since Stewart started in the league.
Howard applied all the knowle4dge she learnt from her time with the Lynx and was able to form a chemistry with the best point guard the WNBA has ever seen, Sue Bird. Howard has been a tremendous energy player who forces other teams to defend her in the post but also has added the 3-ball to her game. This has allowed coach Dan Hughes to use her as a stretch-5, making the Storm the hardest team to defend all year.
The Storm have been the team to beat in the WNBA all season, finishing with the top seeding after the regular season. The addition of Howard has given Bird, Stewart and Jewell Loyd greated freedom. This has resulted in a much better season for the Storm.
Last year they finished with the 8th seed, getting knocked out in the first round. This season they have been virtually unstoppable. Natasha Howard has been a huge part of this. All the Storm had to do was to give up a second round pick to get where they are.