The Seattle Storm had a season to remember in 2019. They won the championship and Breanna Stewart won the MVP. The biggest challenge now is continuing this success in the 2019 season.
The 2018 season was a turn up for the books. Most pundits predicted the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks to be the two teams in the finals. Well, this did not happen as we all know. The Seattle Storm dominated the Washington Mystics in three games and took home the title.
This season the Storm will be looking to continue this success. They have most of their roster under contract for next season but have the ability to tweak their roster to continue their improvement, keeping them at the top of the WNBA pile.
Players under contract
Sue Bird – What can be said here about this basketball legend. The conductor, the puppet master, Bird runs the offense for the Storm in such a manner that is hard to defend. Bird again collected records last season on her way to a championship. Despite coming into the twilight of her career, Bird has not slowed down and should be a force again in 2019.
Jordin Canada – The understudy for Bird, Canada showed last season that she is a bundle of energy and skill. She has a few years learning from the best point guard ever to play in the WNBA. She will need to improve her 3-point shooting but has time to work on her game.
Alysha Clark – Long the underestimated member of the Seattle Storm, Clark is the perfect 3-and-d player for the WNBA. Clark is the glue that holds the Storm together. Her floor spacing is critical as was her ability to switch defensive assignments.
Natasha Howard – Since coming over via trade, Howard has redefined the Storm front court. Giving super star Breanna Stewart a break on defense, Howard has patrolled the paint with fervour. On offense, Howard also dominated the paint, providing the perfect inside foil for the outside game of the rest of the team while also spacing the floor herself.
Jewell Loyd – Otherwise known of as the teams x-factor, Loyd is an incredible talent. Her ability to move both on and off the ball makes the Storm an incredibly difficult team to defend.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis – This bench spark plug is the ultimate floor spacer. Shooting 42.0 percent from distance, Mosqueda-Lewis shot has to be respected. The starting unit get most of the court time but having a change-up player like Mosqueda-Lewis is crucial.
Courtney Paris – Splitting the reserve minutes with Crystal Langhorne last season, Paris was able to help lessen the load on Natasha Howard and Breanna Stewart. Be interesting to see of the Storm pick up her final year.
Breanna Stewart – In the final year of her rookie scale contract, last seasons MVP is still going to get better. This contract has to be the best in the entire WNBA. Best player on the team, best player in the league, the Storm are going to be making sure they have money for her in the 20230 season.
Sami Whitcomb – Can anyone else say hustle player. Whitcomb has a deadly quick release shot from deep and when she is on can be unguardable. She is always moving and has to have her shot respected when she is on the court. On defense Whitcomb is always moving, always contesting everything.
Free agents to be re-signed
The Storm have three players who are off-contract this season. Not all of them will be re-signed as they might bring back Ramu Tokashi. They will also have the option of signing their draft picks. The Storm have approximately $200,000 in cap space.
Mercedes Russell – After being cut by the New York Liberty, Russell lucked out by being signed by the Storm to a rest of season contract. Imagine being cut by one of the worst teams in the league and then winning a championship in your rookie year. At 6’6″ Russell has the height and the energy to help take on some of the bigger players in the league which is beneficial for the Storm. She will also be able to be signed at a low-cost.
Unlikely to be re-signed
Crystal Langhorne – Despite being one of the most efficient players in the WNBA, Langhorne will cost too much at a veterans minimum for the Storm to be too interested. There is also the potential of Ramu Tokashi coming back to the team and this will take all the bench minutes at the pivot.
Noelle Quinn – The veteran backup point guard has been usurped by the up and coming Canada. Quinn played in 20 games but only averaged 9.1 minutes per game. The Storm have enough options in the back court they can afford to bolster the wing position.
The Storm were by far and away the best team at the end of 2018. Once they got over the Mercury, the Mystics had no chance. Going in to the 2019 season the Storm will not want to stand still. They will look to tweak their roster to move forward.