Seattle Storming Early
Lauren Jackson & Co. on their way to another title?
by Stephen Litel
When thinking of the Seattle Storm, two players stand out above the rest. They are, of course, Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. From Day One together, the two players had incredible chemistry and brought essentially every highlight to the Seattle franchise during their history. Although still early in the season, they have their team on track for many more highlights during the 2009 season and, more importantly, the playoffs.
“To be honest, I don’t know,” states Jackson when asked about her chemistry with Bird. “Right now, we play year-round together and that makes it a lot easier when you know someone that well. We were really lucky that we got drafted here and got to play together because we were able to play out our careers together, which is great. I think that definitely plays a lot into it. Off-court, we’re great mates and we do a lot of stuff together. We hang out and we lived together in Russia, so there’s a lot of reasons why.”
Once again, the Storm find themselves on top of the Western Conference standings early on in the season. Many people on the outside may believe this team is clicking on all cylinders. However, the former MVP is always focused on how her team can continue to improve and that’s why her teams have had so much success during her time in Seattle.
“Our coach said to us that we’re bottom in the league in rebounding, so I think that’s probably one. I reckon we’re going to be OK, but there’s obviously a lot of things we need to work on. It’s really early in the season and like every team, we’re just trying to get our stuff together. We’re just trying to do all that stuff.”
The Storm have been a factor in the WNBA for many years. With five players on the eleven player roster with at least seven years experience, they are prepared for almost any situation that may arise during a game. However, it also makes them a team that is starting to become an older squad and, although not immediately, the proverbial “window of opportunity” may begin to close soon.
“I don’t know,” says Jackson. “If you look at players like Sheryl Swoopes or Lisa Leslie, they sort of peaked in their early 30s. For Sue and I, we feel as long as we’re still the core of this team in a few years time, but not yet. Maybe in the future, but there’s young kids coming through and we have to teach them as much as we can in our time.”
Ultimately, as a team begins to get older, individual players begin the process of thinking of the future. Jackson is no different and after a summer in which she debating leaving Seattle, she ultimately decided her heart belonged where she played her entire career. Although nothing is set in stone, she has begun to think about how much longer she would like to play the game of basketball.
“As long as my body holds out, I guess,” says Jackson. “That might be until I’m 38 or 39. I hate to say that ‘forty’ word, although I know it will come around eventually. It might be–touch wood—you never know. I hope to play for as long as I can. I love the game, so I love to be a part of it and enjoy it for as long as I can.”
Yet, as the first thoughts of life after basketball begin to creep into her head, the focus remains on the current season. On pace for another MVP season, Jackson doesn’t care about personal honors. She remains solely focused on her team continuing to improve and to compete for a championship later on this summer.
“We’re definitely showing signs of great potential, but we’ve definitely got a lot of stuff to work on,” says Jackson. “I do think we definitely have a team that can pull off a championship, but it’s just a matter of getting all the pieces together and really focusing on defense.”
If the Storm continue to progress and play at the level they are capable of on the court, they very well may be holding up the championship trophy soon. Jackson may also hold up another MVP trophy along the way.
Although we’re still early on in the season, what team is the early leader for the title? Do you agree with WNBA.com that Jackson is the favorite for the MVP?
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