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The Seattle Storm suffered some of the worst offseason losses in the entire league. Sue Bird retired, leaving the Storm to find a new point guard they can trust. Breanna Steward left in free agency to join forces with Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, and Courtney Vandersloot on New York’s super team. Altogether, the Storm are barely even returning a handful of players, Ezi Magbegor and Jewell Loyd being the only players who played heavy minutes last season.
They are officially rebuilding and both Magbegor and Loyd will have to shoulder more responsibility now as well as in the future. Especially, Magbegor is one of the team’s pieces to build around, along with whoever the Storm select in the 2024 draft lottery. It is no secret that that is what the Storm are playing for this season, and all the veterans they signed are just there to keep the ship afloat until new talent comes in. The Storm’s era of being competitive is officially over. Now, it is all about finding a new direction and identity, as well as players who will be a part of their future.
That starts with the search for their new point guard. That player might very well not be on the team or even in the league yet, but the Storm have several players who are worth looking at for this season. In their first preseason game against the Phoenix Mercury, the Storm started Yvonne Turner at the point guard position alongside Jewell Loyd, Kia Nurse, Ezi Magbegor, and Mercedes Russell. As they are still figuring out the roster and certain lineups, though, that can still change. Sami Whitcomb, Jade Melbourne, and Ivana Dojkic are other options to take over the point guard duties. Whitcomb, like Turner, is a safe choice as an experienced veteran, but the other two might have more long-term potential. Dojkic, who has been playing very well in Italy thus far, could turn into a solid combo-guard at the WNBA level and the Storm should definitely give her some run. At 20-years, Melbourne is the youngest player in this group. She has shown talent in the Australian league as a creative passer and explosive athlete who still has plenty of room to grow. She might even be somewhat of a diamond in the rough.
Similarly, the starting frontcourt could also still change. Magbegor is obviously a lock, but Theresa Plaisance could step in for Russell eventually. This combination of Magbegor and Plaisance would have much better spacing, which is valuable because the Storm have plenty of players who are best when attacking off the dribble.
All in all, the Storm don’t seem to have many locks for the roster yet, but they have many developmental projects that could turn into decent rotational players if given the chance. One of those projects is obviously Jade Melbourne, but she is not the only Storm rookie with a promising skillset to enter the league. She is joined by Jordan Horston, the 9th pick in this year’s WNBA draft. Horston is a high-risk, high-reward kind of player whose future potential greatly outweighs the impact she will have this season, as the Storm (hopefully) start her development.
The Storm also drafted Madi Williams and Dulcy Fankam Mendijadeau, who could both still make the team. Some of their other projects are a little older, like Kaila Charles and Arella Guirantes who came into the league a couple of years ago but haven’t quite found their places yet. It is worth a shot to see what any of these players can bring to the table, but the big question is whether or not they can make the roster. We have seen many talented young prospects being waived already due to a lack of teams and roster spots. Luckily, the Storm are in a better position than most teams when it comes to available roster spots for their developmental projects.
What the roster eventually looks like does not really impact the Storm’s season outlook, however. As mentioned before, this season is not about winning. They might even outright struggle to create offense. Loyd is the only player who averaged double-digits last season and the roster lacks offensive spacing, so they might have to live off of long two-point jumpers. For now, it is all about developing new prospects, seeing what certain players could turn into, finding out what Magbegor can do in a larger role, and securing that lottery draft pick for next year. Last season, the Storm ranked 6th in offense and 3rd in defense and handily made the playoffs. For Sue Bird’s final season, they surely had higher hopes, but there is no shame in losing to the eventual champions. Furthermore, it marked one last time of the Storm competing against the top competition. It might be a while until we see that again, and it definitely will not