The Seattle Storm traded Katie Lou Samuelson and the No.9 pick in the 2022 WNBA draft to LA for forward Gabby Williams. Williams was brought into shore up the Storm’s defense while also moving on from Samuelson due to her inconsistent performance on the offensive side of the court.
In her last full WNBA season, Williams forced 3.4 turnovers per 100 possessions, with 6.2 defensive rebounds, and 16.2 points. She’s known for her work on the defensive end of the court; but she has the skill set to absolutely pop off on offense.
Williams did not play in the 2021 season, as the Chicago Sky had suspended her prior to the trade they made with Los Angeles. The Sky never revealed why they suspended the forward, but the speculation is its because the French national team wanted her to play and it would free up a roster spot for Chicago with the suspension and the trade reduced the salary that the team paid its players — which was a need for the Sky prior to the 2021 season as they were right up against the league’s salary cap.
Despite the fact the consistent minutes in the first half of the season, Samuelson was never really able to find her stride. While she began to take more shots later in the season, during the first part of the 2021 year she didn’t take the opportunities given to her and when she did take an opportunity it was forced. In the end, the team’s decision to add the 24-year-old prior to the start of last year didn’t pan out as they had hoped and now they have decided to move on and bring in another forward.
On paper, it looks like the Storm went out and got a more complete player for the cost of a draft pick. Williams is a defensive upgrade over Samuelson, with the potential for more explosive offensive performances. Since they’re trying to take advantage of the fact that Sue Bird is back for, at least, one more season; this is a move I wholeheartedly endorse.
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