We start with the hottest team in all of professional sports. The Seattle Storm.
They might be playing in a bubble three thousand miles away – but there are no asterisks for this kind of success.
Right now, the Storm have won eight straight games. Their 10-1 record matches their best start in franchise history, which came in 2010, when they won their second of three titles. They’re winning by an average of more than 16 points per game. And remember, they’re doing this without home court advantage with all games played at a neutral site.
Last year was brutal. Losing Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart pretty much ended their season before it even began.
But the effect it had is paying dividends now.
Jordin Canada learned how to become a true starting point guard. Mercedes Russell blossomed into a capable presence at center. Sami Whitcomb more than doubled her playing time from their championship year in 2018. In essence, players who normally wouldn’t be counted on in such a capacity learned how to become go-to players as a matter of circumstance.
And now – the Storm arguably have the deepest roster in the league. As Sue Bird said at the start of the year, they essentially have a second starting five.
“Obviously playing a lot of games, but we’re well conditioned and we want to continue to push the pace because we know that we have people coming in to push it right behind us,” Breanna Stewart said.
Bingo. Teams in the WNBA are playing almost every other day. This schedule favors teams with the most depth. And that’s what the Storm has – All-Star talent on the front line, and tons of depth.
There are ten players on the Storm roster who have played at least six games this season, and all ten of them have a field goal percentage of at least 40 percent. Four of them are making more than half their shots from the field! And remember, interim coach Gary Kloppenberg is a defensive-minded coach, and yet their efficiency numbers on offense are standing out as well.
This is an eight-game winning streak that included the loss of Bird for multiple games with a bone bruise in her knee. Stay healthy, Sue, and you could be looking at a fourth title in franchise history.
Which is a reminder that – even though we’re just halfway through the regular season – the Storm are still chasing history, trying to become the third team in league history with four titles. They may not have been able to officially defend their title a season ago, they’re in a position to unofficially defend it with everyone finally back this season.
So most eyes might be on the other bubbles around the country, especially with the NBA and NHL playoffs officially underway.
But I’m going to interpret this video as Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart waiting for everyone else to take notice. Waiting patiently for the rest of the world to pay respect to the dominance that’s taking place at the IMG Academy in Florida. If you’re bored, they’re standing by... just let them know that they have your attention.
Because they certainly have mine. And in our mostly virtual world these days, there’s no alternate reality for the success we’re witnessing with the Seattle Storm.