For the Seattle Storm, the 2012 season resulted in a 2-1 exit from the Western Conference Semifinals and a 16-18 regular season record. The season was a minor disappointment for the franchise. Despite their ninth straight playoff appearance, their first sub-.500 record since 2003 put a damper on how the season was viewed.
As I dug into the Storm’s stats it quickly became apparent that this team wasn’t a sub .500 squad, and that there was a lot of bad luck that went against them last season. They had arguably the best defense in the league last season (they allowed a league low 877 field goals). As a result, they held their opponents to 71.6 points per game. Another way to prove the Storm’s defensive prowess is their Defensive Rating (an estimation of points allowed over 100 possessions, also the league average is 100.o). Their offense was the major issue last season, and it was a major difference maker throughout the 2012 season.
The offense was horrible last, and it cost the Storm a couple of ball games. They averaged 71.2 points per game over the course of the season and had a pace (estimation of possessions over 48 minutes) of 89.2; that was the slowest pace in the WNBA last season. Another problem the Storm faced on offense last season was that they were turnover prone. What i mean by turnover prone is that they had the second most turnovers in the WNBA last season (that number is 578). That is definitely something the Storm need to improve upon going into this season.Going into this season, the Storm are going to need to improve their ball control and be more efficient on the offensive end. Their struggles on offense completely undid what they were able to accomplish on the defensive end. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds this upcoming season.
The reason that will be difficult is because the team will be missing their two core pieces for all of the season. All Stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird are out for the seasons and that has led to some major roster juggling going into this upcoming season. Oh, and did I mention that Katie Smith left Seattle for New York via free agency?
Yup, pretty rough off-season for Seattle. Not to worry, the Storm have made some moves of their own in free agency.
To try to fill the holes generated by the loss of Bird and Jackson, the Storm have gone out and acquired three young-but experienced-free agents. Nakia Sanford, Temeka Johnson, Noelle Quinn have been brought in and they look to see a significant playing time going forward into this season. That being said, it is going to be a rough season at the Key as the franchise has to make tough decision.
That decision is, do you go into rebuild mood now…or wait and see if the two aging stars-Bird and Jackson-can continue to produce, while not hindering the franchises growth going forward.