12 Days, 12 Previews: Seattle Storm
Five keys to a successful season.
The WNBA’s 15th season begins June 3rd and SLAMonline is counting down the days with in-depth previews of all twelve teams.
Prior to the start of each WNBA season (and NBA season for that matter), every writer and blogger in the country compiles extensive (by “extensive” I mean “wordy,” and by “wordy” I mean “tired”) previews analyzing the upcoming year, team by team. It’s just a fact of life. Almost as certain as death and taxes.
The problem, however, is they all look, feel, and say the same exact thing every year (copy and paste). You, the reader, deserves far better. Thus, we’re going through each team discussing five specific things they’ll need for their 2011 campaign to be considered a success.
More importantly, we want this to be interactive – be sure to post your thoughts in the comment section below.
Five Keys to the Season: Seattle Storm
By Ben York / @bjyork
5. Continuity: The Storm is similar to the San Antonio Spurs in the sense that they keep their core together and add versatile, effective pieces around them to enhance their squad every year rather than re-tool it. It makes a lot of sense; they have a proven formula that works and they stick to it. Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson have obviously developed an unrivaled chemistry together and Swin Cash does a little bit of everything to contribute to the Storm’s collective success. Surrounding them are players who understand their roles on the team and execute them brilliantly (i.e. Tanisha Wright). Unlike other teams who continually experiment with their core each year, Seattle has made a point to keep it in tact. Like the Spurs, if it’s not broken, why try and fix it?
4. Health: Though this is certainly an issue for every team, it’s especially important for the Storm. We saw what happened in 2009 when Lauren Jackson missed considerable time (eliminated in the first round) as compared to the 2010 season when she played in all but two regular season games (WNBA Championship).
3. Depth: A lot of people are talking about how deep the Dream and Lynx are, but they are drastically overlooking the Storm’s depth. The addition of rookie Jacinta Monroe added some key size to the Storm’s bench while veteran Katie Smith can help in multiple areas both offensively and defensively. Le’coe Willingham has been a consistent performer over the years and Belinda Snell offers an opportunity for the Storm to stretch the floor and improve their three-point game even more (they were 2nd in the league in 2010). The Storm’s 2011 squad, player by player, is perhaps the most proven roster in the league.
2. Defense: The Storm held opponents to 73.9 ppg in 2010, good for 2nd in the WNBA. Perhaps more importantly, their defense stifled opponents on all areas of the floor forcing teams to shoot a putrid 41.3 percent (for comparisons sake, the Tulsa Shock allowed opponents to shoot almost 50 percent from the floor). This will be key for Seattle in 2011 as seemingly each team in the West has improved (on both ends of the floor) and will have ample time to play together to try and develop a similar amount of continuity as the Storm.
1. Star Power: Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, Swin Cash, and Katie Smith are four of the most well-known and celebrated women’s basketball players on the planet for good reason; they are coachable, selfless, adaptable, and versatile. They understand when to take over and when to let someone else run the show. Having such a diverse amount of options both offensively and defensively gives Brian Agler a plethora of tools every coach in the league would covet.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll tweet out some of our favorite responses!