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New coach, a future point guard, and the new Storm

After a disappointing 2017 season, that saw head coach Jenny Boucek fired, the Seattle Storm are gearing up for a fresh start with new head coach Dan Hughes and a potential starting point guard in the third overall pick of the draft Jordin Canada. The Storm’s offense looks to build off of its success from last season, while doing a better job at limiting their opponent’s opportunities on their side of the court.

Seattle’s offense has the legendary 36-year old Sue Bird along with Breanna Stewart, and Jewell Loyd. These three stars, plus their supporting cast, led an offense that averaged 104.7 points per 100 possessions (82.6) points per game. The Storm’s offense was heavily dependent on three pointers — just over 26% of their points scored were from beyond the arc, the highest in the league. Heading into 2018 you can expect the Storm to continue to rely on the three ball to run their offense especially as they work on transitioning from the legend in Bird to the rookie in Canada at point.

It’ll be interesting to see how Canada slides into the offense at point guard, and how often she plays considering Bird has still played at a high level despite her age. In college Canada played quickly while dishing out the ball to her teammates to help keep the offense moving; hopefully, that’ll translate to the WNBA.

The Storm’s biggest offensive weakness was they struggled to pull in offensive boards (20.8%, dead last in the WNBA) last season and it looks like they’re going to continue to struggle with that heading into 2018. As the offense continues to rely on its three point shooting, this should continue to be an issue for the team going forward; which is going to put a lot of pressure on Seattle’s defense…which was the team’s achilles heel last year.

While the Storm’s offense averaged 104.7 points per 100 possession, their defense gave up an average of 104.7 points per 100 possessions. Not only was the defense giving up a ton of points, they didn’t force turnovers either — the defense only forced turnovers on 17% of the time, while their offense gave up the ball on 18.1% of its possessions. It’s hard for a team to win games when they’re turning over the ball at a higher rate than the defense is able to force turnovers.

Heading into 2018, the Storm will need to see major improvements on defense especially forcing turnovers. Fortunately for Seattle, Hughes prefers an aggressive style of defense that will force turnovers.

“Hughes plans to implement a pressure defense that places a high priority on forcing turnovers.” – Percy Allen, Seattle Times

If the defense can force more turnovers, it’ll provide the offense more possessions to score.

Prediction

It’s always bumpy transitioning coaches and playing styles, especially when a new point guard is going to be worked in the mix. I expect the Storm’s offense to struggle when Canada is in the game during the first half of the season; but as the rookie finds her legs she’ll take over more time for the aging Bird.

As for Jewell, being moved off of the backup point guard position will free up more time for her out in the wings. The second year player will flourish opposite Stewart which will help cover up some of the bumps around Canada’s introduction into the league. It’ll still be one of the better offense’s in the league…but they won’t be nearly as efficient as they were last season.

Record: 17-17

Standings: 4th in West, 7th overall

Playoffs: Win first round game, series loss in second round.

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Jessica Roberts View All

Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.

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